Beginning in 2002, the owners, together with master craftsman, Stafford Norris III undertook an extensive, historical restoration that faithfully recaptured the original features of the building while also completing countless, unexecuted elements of Wright’s original, comprehensive design scheme for the house. The masonry, built-ins, and furnishings finally realized during the restoration process, completed Frank Lloyd Wright’s total vision for the Willeys.



The Willey House is entirely hand-crafted. No mass-produced doors, windows, trim or casework were used. Every element was designed by Wright and was custom made. Likewise, the restoration required Stafford to recreate everything from scratch using old growth cypress, real plaster and custom-made bricks.

The terrace and garden, circa late 1930s. In the absence of large shade trees, the trellis draped in wisteria vines provided a lush shelter.


To minimize maintenance, Wright suggested planting clover in place of grass.


The vista as seen from the fireplace hob during the summer of 1937, the Lake Street bridge clearly visible, spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul.


Although the imposing, north wall is much less obvious today, the Willey House turns its back on the neighborhood, in order to create a private enclave for its inhabitants. 


In the early years at the Willey House the river bluffs rolled gently in a series of terraces and swales down to the Mississippi, the neighborhood below not yet built, and the landscape absent of trees.

Color photography © Matt Schmitt Photography