Southern Delaware County homeowners appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright impact

If you are a lover of houses and Central Ohio's great neighborhoods, you will understand this homeowner's passion and patience for cruising one particular neighborhood for years before he and his family finally found the perfect place for sale.

Back at the beginning of the recession, this Dublin resident, an engineer, had already worked a long career, earning seven patents for the medical devices he'd created. (He's since added an eighth.) Continually, he watched a certain street in an upscale suburban area of southern Delaware County. His wife, a vice president of technology for a major Central Ohio company, thought their custom home in Dublin would be just fine for the long term. Yet, their infatuation with that southern Delaware County property continued.

He, in particular, was drawn to the land. Its rolling hills and streets that wound back to a wooded ravine reminded him of the gently rolling landscape of his native Buffalo. The few streets in the development, at the time, were dotted with new homes, some showing very clear influences of Frank Lloyd Wright: modern lines, 4-foot overhangs, interesting water features and more. The Frank Lloyd Wright homes of Buffalo had appealed to the engineer in him, and he was intrigued by this local community's design.

The couple briefly considered building a new home in the neighborhood but decided against it. Instead, they found a diversion when they purchased a beach cottage on an 8-mile stretch of sand along Lake Huron, north of the wife's native Toronto. For many years, they gathered up their young son, as well as their extended families in Canada and Buffalo, and settled into the cottage for several weeks each summer, always returning home to Dublin.

Still, that property in southern Delaware County kept calling. One day, driving by with his son in the car, the homeowner spotted a house for sale. It was the winter of 2011, a bleak time during the Great Recession. Three years after the start of the housing crisis, underwater homeowners were continually working with their mortgage bankers to sell their properties in short sales.

The home he saw for sale was one of those he had always admired. Inspired by influences of Wright, this one was done by local architect Gene Milhoan with its many rear windows overlooking the wooded ravine. It's apparent in the accoutrement chosen for the house—a glass elevator, a huge steel fireplace and more—that the original owners were among the most affluent in Central Ohio. But the recession didn't discriminate. When the banks came crashing down, along with them were the financial holdings of some of the highest earning professionals in the country.

In retrospect, there were clear winners and losers during the Great Recession. The engineer and his wife were winners: They had the opportunity to make an offer on this exquisite space that was up for a short sale. But patience was required.

After months of waiting in line as the second potential offer on the house and then negotiating with the banks involved in the short sale, their bid was accepted. They readied their Dublin home for sale and were surprised when it sold in only two weeks. They had planned updates to their new property while their old house was on the market, but the quick sale foiled that intention, and they were forced to move in sooner than expected.

Over time, their appreciation for the gem they purchased has only grown. “I love a deal,” the engineer says. They've learned to enjoy the quirky master bedroom faucet, which fills the tub from 10 feet above. They like the home's quietness, overlooking the ravine, and the neutral tones that cover the walls that highlight the great outdoors beyond.

In warm weather, they appreciate the sounds of a modern fountain just outside the front, screened doors. They enjoy the days when a cool breeze passes through their home from the open rear windows to the wide screened doors at the front of the house.

During the cold weather months, they appreciate heated floors—in the master bathroom, across the massive great room and other lower-level spaces and even under the tile of a three-season room that sits near the ravine. The glass-enclosed elevator between the home's two levels comes in handy when the homeowners are pulling out holiday decorations and such. On the main floor, the custom fabricated steel fireplace is a fine focal point when trees are losing their leaves and winter approaches.

The house has two multifunctional spaces—one on each floor—where neighborhood parties that involve wine and vodka tastings, for example, can accommodate 60 people or so. “We wanted certain elements of that flexibility,” says the man of the house.