Architect William Purcell, in partnership with George Elmslie, designed this house in 1913 as his personal residence. One of the more whimsical touches in the Purcell-Cutts House is the "Peek a Boo" art-glass sidelights on either side of the front door.
Purcell-Cutts House — A Gem of Prairie School Design
Our tour of the Purcell-Cutts House will always be one of our fondest memories. We lucked out by signing up for an early morning tour ... and discovered we would have a private showing! The restoration, preservation and protection of this icon of Prairie School design is taken very seriously. Not only were two security guards present during the tour, but we were required to put booties over our shoes before entering the interior.
The nearly flat roof and multiple banks of windows give the house a strong horizontal line … a classic Prairie School element.
Restoration is still ongoing for the rectangular reflecting pool.
Several details at the entry had special meaning for Purcell and his family. The phrase "Gray Days and Gold." refers to Purcell's beloved grandparents, the Grays, the colors used in the design and to the funds provided to Purcell by his wealthy father.
Aware of the effect of light in the interior, more than 80 art glass windows were positioned to capture sunlight throughout the day. Each window is subtly different.
Purcell wanted his living room and dining room to flow together. In a time of formal parlors and dining rooms this was a radical concept. Frank Lloyd Wright called the open plan "breaking out of the box."
The fireplace is designed to mesmerize … iridescent glass sparkling in the fire's light coupled with the ethereal mural of flying heron’ and two moons.
The writing nook was planned for Purcell’s wife. The long horizontal ground-level window above the writing desk onto a wildflower garden. A photo on the desk shows her actually sitting in the triangular backed chair.
Sherry was captivated by the elegant design of the window at the writing nook.
Danny preferred the leaded glass doors on this remarkable bookcase.
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