Frank Lloyd Wright’s only oceanfront home sells for $22 million in Carmel

CARMEL – One of the most recognizable homes along the coastline in Carmel, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property, has sold to a local real estate investment and development firm for $22 million.

Esperanza Carmel, LLC, bought the Mrs. Clinton Walker House adding to its growing portfolio that encompasses residential, mixed-use, retail, restaurant and hotel assets in Carmel and the surrounding area including Rocky Point restaurant in Big Sur.

The one-of-a-kind, 1,400-square-foot, single-level home sits on the ocean side of Scenic Road on the southern edge of Carmel Beach, perched on a rocky promontory, it includes a small beach. The house was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in his Usonian style in 1948. It is the only oceanfront house designed by the American architect, designer, writer and educator.

An architectural philosophy developed by Wright in the 1930s, Usonian architecture sought to provide families with affordable housing based on modern principles. He sought to integrate houses with the surrounding landscape and nature. His designs would include walls that extended past the interior to the outside, large windows would bring the outside in, and natural materials would blend the house with its environment.

Mrs. Walker wrote to Mr. Wright in June 1945, describing her parcel and asking for his help in designing something that would provide “protection from the wind and privacy from the road and a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and as delicate as a seashore.”

Wright presented his first design in 1948, construction began in 1951, and the house was completed in 1952. The home features a hexagonal living room with glass window walls providing views of the beach and ocean. The cantilevered roof over the living space and the outside terrace gives the illusion of a ship’s bow.

The home, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, was sold by the descendants of Mrs. Walker and was purchased for the asking price.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, the original construction of the house was from cedar wood, Carmel stone, steel, copper, concrete and glass. In 1956, a studio addition was designed by Wright for Walker’s craftwork and weaving at the southeast corner of the building.

The home’s original owner Della Walker, was an artist and the widow of Minneapolis lumber executive Clinton Walker. The couple relocated to Piedmont in 1904, living there for four decades before Clinton Walker’s death in 1944. Della Walker moved to Carmel where her sister Alma gifted her the oceanfront tract with its rocky outcropping.

Canning Properties Group of Sotheby’s International Realty represented the sellers in the deal and the Tim Allen Properties Team of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represented the buyer.

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