Worthington, Ohio, landmark Frank Lloyd Wright-style home for sale

Nathan Law

The most important house in one of the most important neighborhoods in central Ohio had water running through it when the current owners purchased it in 2014. Water pipes had broken in the home, along with sewer lines and the hot water tank. It was a sorry state for a house that […]

The most important house in one of the most important neighborhoods in central Ohio had water running through it when the current owners purchased it in 2014.

Water pipes had broken in the home, along with sewer lines and the hot water tank.

It was a sorry state for a house that launched one of central Ohio’s most distinctive communities. 

The home was completed by Martha and Richard Wakefield in 1957 and served as the inspiration for what would become Rush Creek Village in Worthington, which grew to become the nation’s largest collection of homes in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “organic” architecture.

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The living room inside the first house started in the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Rush Creek Village neighborhood in Worthington.

The 2,629-square-foot home conveys all the features that would become Rush Creek trademarks: a low profile that seems to hug the earth, exposed concrete block (outside and in), red tile floors, extensive roof overhangs, loads of built-in furniture, many floor-to-ceiling windows, unconventional room shapes, wood ceilings, a carport instead of a garage, and an angled setting well off the street. 

Martha Wakefield, Rush Creek’s evangelist, lived in the home until her death, at age 85, in 2007, nine years after her husband died. The home passed through a few owners before the current buyers picked it up in March 2014 for $415,000, when it was in need of attention.

After extensive renovations, the home is now listed for $975,000.

A stone block commemorates the owners of the house built by Martha and Richard Wakefield to launch the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Rush Creek Village.

“We took it down to nothing, then built it back up,” said Megan Byrne, who spent a year and a half renovating the home with her husband  before moving in.

The couple replaced the entire electrical system, which had been anchored by a 100-amp fuse box. They replaced the crushed sewer lines and the hot water tank. They ran new cable and data lines. They added drainage ditches around the house to prevent water from rushing downhill into the home. 

And then they got to work. 

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Additions made in line with original style

Like all of Rush Creek’s original 48 homes, the house was designed by Theodore van Fossen in Wright’s “organic” style, meant to reflect a living part of the Earth. Eye-catching as they are, those typically lacked features modern homes enjoy such as big bathrooms, user-friendly kitchens, pantries, walk-in closets, laundry rooms and basements. 

Byrne and her husband wanted to expand the house to add a basement, laundry room and another full bath. 

Exterior modifications of Rush Creek homes must be approved by the Rush Creek Village architectural review board, which tends to discourage them. 

Owners built a patio and outdoor kitchen into a rear nook of the house.

Even though the Wakefields’ home was the founding home of Rush Creek, it was finished before the community’s deed restrictions took hold. The new owners could have done anything they wanted to the home, but to demonstrate their commitment to the community, they joined the association. 

The association approved two small additions to the rear of the home. One houses a laundry room and full bath above a small basement. The other includes a walk-in closet for the master bedroom. 

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