[Frank Lloyd Wright Influenced Design]
Story by Jenny Schuster
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
If you’re driving through South Fargo, you may have the pleasure of coming across one of the area’s rarest architectural gems nestled on the banks of the Red River. Thoughtfully designed and impeccably maintained, the John and Sherri Stern home on South River Road in South Fargo, stands as a beautiful reminder of how thoughtful design and influence from a world-renowned architect, can truly stand the test of time.
Originally built in 1958 by Ingraham & Ingraham Architects and spearheaded by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, Frank Lloyd Wright’s granddaughter, every detail throughout gives glimpse into Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural vision and influence.
With Minimal changes made to the home since its construction, there’s a feeling of timelessness upon entering the front door. Although the home is truly one of a kind, interestingly it features several elements and textures that can be found in many other Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes.
“We found that when we visited other places (homes), that they shared materials,” commented Sherri. “The bathroom sinks were the same and the tiles in the kitchens and such”. And even though there have been some changes in the home over the years to update and enhance the livability, the focus on ‘always wanting to retain the architectural integrity of the design’, has remained the upmost priority.”
In the main living areas, the beautiful mahogany panels, built-in’s, cherry trim and horizontal brick with inset grout, grace the walls giving a rich feel and appeal down to the smallest of details. Highlighting several local artist pieces around the home, the journey throughout is a wonderful reminder of how the architectural eye of the Frank Lloyd Wright-esque home and current art can blend so perfectly together.
Windows and their placement are one of the stand-out features in this home. And it becomes very clear that one of the architect’s goals was, “making sure there was light from all different angles coming into the home,” shared Sherri.
In addition, one of the interesting features to note is that while looking out the windows on the main level, you’ll not only notice the extensive landscaping, but that the ceiling color inside strategically matches the overhangs outside. Intentionally created to give the continued feel of the outdoors blending with the interior.
Walking through the home, the architect’s desire to bring the outside-in, can be felt from the clerestory windows along most of the roofline to the solid bank of windows highlighted along the back of the home. With it’s stunning views along the river, the illusion of being in another world and not within the city limits is extremely appealing. Giving way to something else altogether, where the true mixture of art and nature surprisingly meet.
With it’s lush landscaping intermingled with 6 tiered levels to a sloping hill to the river, there isn’t one portion of the exterior that hasn’t been thought of as well. From the specifically chosen perennials, to the gabion wall and concrete figurine garden sprites fashioned after those found in the Midway Gardens in Chicago designed by Wright himself.
From the stunning interior and the backyard oasis, this home is truly a treasure. And as the only remining home if it’s kind, (1 of 3) designed in the F/M area by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, it was recently added to the National Register of History Places in 2017 by John Stern in the hopes that this architectural gift will remain a local landmark for many, many years to come.
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