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Someone Please Save Keck + Keck's Fagan House

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jul 08, 2015 01:03 AM
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by Eric last modified Jul 07, 2015

Johnathan McMahon recently contacted us with information and some scans of printed materials about his grandparents former house, the Keck + Keck designed Fagan House (1948) in Lake Forest, IL. Jonathan's grandparents owned the home from 1981 to 2007 and he has many fond memories of growing up there. Unfortunately, the home faces the possibility of being lost. Find out more after the jump... Jonathan writes: "This Keck + Keck house was designed and built...




 

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.22.12 AMJohnathan McMahon recently contacted us with information and some scans of printed materials about his grandparents former house, the Keck + Keck designed Fagan House (1948) in Lake Forest, IL. Jonathan's grandparents owned the home from 1981 to 2007 and he has many fond memories of growing up there. Unfortunately, the home faces the possibility of being lost. Find out more after the jump...

Jonathan writes:

"This Keck + Keck house was designed and built for Abel E. and Mildred Fagan in 1948. It was featured in the March 1951 Architectural Record and in the 1996 Keck + Keck book by Robert Boyce. It was sold to my grandparents, noted illustrator Franklin McMahon and travel reporter Irene Leahy McMahon, in 1981.

My grandfather sold the house in 2007 under the condition that it would remain intact and the land not be subdivided. Unfortunately it is being sold for the price of the land it is being marketed as a 'tear down.' The McMahon family, as fellow enthusiasts of MCM design, would like to see this end up with someone who has an appreciation for the form and architecture of this unique building."

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Scans from March 1951 Architectural Record

What follows is an excerpt and some images about the home from a Lake Forest Preservation Foundation Newsletter:

The [Fagan] house is situated in one of several groves of trees and completely screened from the road which is about 1500 feet away. It is oriented to the south for winter sunshine and toward the major view which is in that direction. All major rooms face away from the entrance side giving privacy to the living areas. The plan is a development of the solar house which architect George Fred Keck reports is extremely popular with the owners who understand the principles of orientation and the development of regional types of houses. A point was made of the angular placement of large glass areas not only for view, but “also for the reflective values of the glass, which add a note to the spatial feeling in the house, and rid it of the monotony of the rectangular unit.” Construction is of wood and stone in a traditional manner. The flat roof was designed to carry water for cooling the house in the heat of summer months. 

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Wide-spreading wings fan out from the centrally located living/dining room to afford a wider view from the living area: the study and bedroom wing to the northwest; and the service wing with a hobby room at the far end to the northeast. The central core, which contains the boiler room, has fireplaces opening to the living room and the study. Above and surrounding the angular wall of the fireplace in the living room is a clerestory which brings additional daylight to this focal part of the room. 

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The master bedroom enjoys a wide expanse of view with its three-angled window wall oriented to the east, south and west....Radiant heating is provided through copper coils in the masonry floor which is directly on the ground. Mr. Keck reports that heat loss to the ground is negligible, and that the floors are cool in summer because they are in contact with the cool ground. A direct effort was made in construction to shelter the house from summer heat, equalizing as much as possible variations in temperature. Most lighting is indirect fluorescent cove lighting. 

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Thanks Jonathan for sharing this info about this wonderful home. It would be a real shame to lose this unique home to the bulldozer for some banal McMansion. If anyone out there wants to live the PrairieMod life in a quintessential example Keck + Keck architecture, please schedule a look at the home here.

First image credit: Joe Kunkle/Jetset Modern


 

 

 
 
 

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