Samara

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Samara, also known as the John E. Christian House, is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. The home is an example of the Usonian homes that Wright designed. Samara was built from 1954 and 1956 and is still occupied by the original owner, John E. Christian.

History

In 1950 John and Kay Christian decided to build a home near Purdue University where both worked, John as a pharmaceutical chemistry professor and Kay as the social director for the university. After much discussion they decided that Wright was the architect who suited the ideals for their home. Not knowing how to proceed, John phoned Wright directly at his office and was surprisingly able to speak directly to the famed architect. Over the next six years they worked together both with meetings in West Lafayette, Indiana and at Taliesin (studio), Wright's summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

The home was named after the Samara trees which Mr. Wright spotted on the property during his first visit. He worked a stylized design of the chevron-shaped leaves throughout the design of the home including the clerestory windows, dining chairs and the living room rug.

The Christian family maintains the home according to the exacting specifications of its architect. As in many homes of Wright's design, the architect specified or designed the entire environment including the furniture, linens and landscaping. Upon moving into the home, the Christians were not able to purchase all of the specified custom details at first; however they made an agreement with Wright to continue adding to the home as budget allowed. They are still in the process of commissioning the remaining furniture today.

The color pallette of furniture and design details is brighter and more saturated than other examples of Wright's architecture. This was prompted by Kay Christian who requested brighter colors against Wright's wishes. Wright was finally convinced by his wife, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, who insisted that she would help the Christians with the color design. The result was a palette of vibrant lime green, magenta, and purple combined with more subdued shades of orange, yellow, and beige (see image at left).