Bobby's Bama: Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bobby's Bama: Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

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If you know where to look, a house in Florence offers a rare peek at the work of an architectural giant.

One look at the house and you know something is different. Local architect Bob Whitten was a friend to the sons of owners Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build the house.

"This house was designed in '39 and was finished around the fall of 1940," explained Whitten. He spent time here as a boy. Stanley's parents lived across the street.

Wright had several "must-haves" which he wove into the fabric of the house and the property. "Wright was asked to shift the house a little bit on the property so that the parents' home could still see the river," said Whitten.

"I believe there were four specific requests they made of Wright," he continued. "One was that Stanley had a study."

‘Usonian' homes were for middle-class people, with no basements or attics and little ornamentation, a precursor to the "ranch-style" home. "The Usonian concept, in simple English, is to eliminate the unnecessary," said Whitten.

That definition is clear when you see the size of the rooms, such as the living room. It is not large. "But it is ample," said Whitten. "The original house was about 1,500 square feet, and the addition in 1948 added another 1,000."

The bedrooms are also small by today's standards. Closets were pulled out, looking more like furniture. Another bedroom was used by Mildred for her weaving hobby. "This was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. Another specific request that the Rosenbaums had was to provide a master bath. In 1939, that was not common," said Whitten.

As the family grew, Wright designed the expansion and the dormitory that was built in 1948. Whitten described the addition as "back to utility and no wasted space." Whitten said the first thing you notice about the house are the clean lines, "extremely straight, and something Wright was known for. The horizontal look was Wright's attempt to keep man low with the earth, to blend man with nature."

Whitten said the back of the house actually faces the street and the front faces nature; it is a concept Wright made into reality, well ahead of his time in Bobby's Bama.

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