This Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Gem Is Now Open After 20 Years

Attention Frank Lloyd Wright fans: You’ve got a new reason to visit the legendary Martin House. After over 20 years of restoration, the onsite Barton House opened its doors to public visitors earlier this week, according to Architectural Digest.

The restoration was executed by HHL Architects and began shortly after the Martin House Restoration Complex (MHRC) was formed in 1992. Over two decades later, the architectural relic has been reintroduced into the world as a merge of old and new.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House | Photograph by Biff Henrich/IMG.INK)

For a bit of context, the Barton House was Wright’s first Buffalo commission from Darwin Martin. The estate was being built as a gift to Martin’s sister, Delta, and her husband, George Barton, but also doubled as a way to test Wright’s architectural skills before commissioning him to build the massive Martin House.

And as history tells, Wright more than proved himself. Built out of concrete (which was extremely uncommon at the time), the architectural design was inspired by the J.J. Walser House that Wright had constructed in Chicago. And the Barton House truly reflects Wright’s early ventures, complete with broad low-pitched eaves, streams of windows, and an airy open plan.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House | Photograph by Biff Henrich/IMG.INK)

You might be asking yourself, with such beautiful-sounding architectural design, why has the Barton House remained fairly unknown up until its public debut? To be fair, it’s hard to compete on the same grounds as the Martin House, which has elaborate details such as a glazed-tile fireplace and long pergola. However, upon looking closer, there’s no denying the unique elements of the overlooked Barton House.

Walk into the ground floor complete with a spacious living room, elegant foyer, and large veranda, then head upstairs where four bedrooms are spread out among the second floor. Throughout the historic space, you’ll notice intricate wooden details and stainless steal windows that breathe life into each nook and cranny.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House | Photograph by Biff Henrich/IMG.INK)

Beyond the architectural restoration, a fair amount of interior refreshing took place as well, credited to artist and founder of Chicago Architectural Arts Jo Hormuth. When reviving the walls and ceiling, Jo used metallic bronzing powder to give the plaster areas a soft golden glow, and she incorporated pendant lights and built-in sideboard to bring an extra shine into the spaces.

Interested in giving the Barton House a visit? The space is now welcoming visitors and has tours available for booking, which also includes Martin House.

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