Frank Lloyd Wright’s Most Charming Building? One Made for a Dog.

A black and white photo of a charming dog house.
Courtesy County of Marin

Frank Lloyd Wright is best known for creating some of the most iconic structures of our time. From the Guggenheim Museum to Robie House and Taliesin West, his designs are simplistic yet distinct.

But his most charming building was built for our four-legged best friend.

Back in 1950, Wright was commissioned to design a house for Robert and Gloria Berger of Marin County, Calif. After its completion their 12-year-old son, Jimmy, wrote a letter to Wright asking him to sketch a matching doghouse for the family’s Labrador Retriever.

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“I would appreciate it if you would design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house,” he writes.

The boy continues, “My dog’s name is Edward, but we call him Eddie. He is four years old or in dog life 28 years. He is a Labrador retriever. He is two and a half feet high and three feet long. The reasons I would like this doghouse is for the winters mainly.”

Letter to Frank Lloyd Wright about building Eddie’s House. Courtesy County of Marin.

He even offers to pay for the designs using his paper route money.

Wright responded, telling Berger that he is busy, but would respond later in the year.

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And he did (after some persistence from Berger). The famed architect sketched a four-square-foot doghouse and then turned it over to his team to design it. The result was an architectural drawing, similar to the ones he’d create for an actual house. It came to be known as Eddie’s House.

Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse sketches
Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse sketches. Courtesy County of Marin.

Jimmy never got around to building it. When he joined the army, his dad and brother decided to complete the project. They focused on the same key features as their own home: ensuring it was an asymmetrical triangular structure with a low roof and large overhang.

Unfortunately, for everyone involved, Eddie never used it. (He’d rather sleep inside the warm family’s home.)

In 1970, the mom trashed the doghouse, but in 2010, Jim finally got around to building Eddie’s home. His brother and him rebuilt is using Wright’s original drawing, which was featured in a documentary about the architect.

Eddie’s House is the smallest structure ever designed by Wright and is permanently on display at the Marin County Civic Center (which happens to be in the largest structure from Wright) in San Rafael, Calif.

Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse at Marin County Civic Center. Courtesy County of Marin.

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By Andrea Huspeni

Andrea Huspeni is the founder and CEO of This Dog's Life. Her mission it to help dogs live a happier, healthier and longer life. When she isn't working, she spends time with her two dogs, Lola and Milo. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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