BELLEVUE, Iowa () – On a secluded cliff along US 52, between St. Donatus and Bellevue, a cottage inspired by the design aesthetics of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is now available for rent.
The cottage was created by the O’Donnell family from St. Donatus – Joe, his wife, Kelly and their three adult children, Joey, Ian and Makaela. After two and a half years of planning and construction, the first Airbnb guest was recently housed in the cottage.
“It took so much blood, sweat and effort,” said Joe Dubuque of the Telegrh Herald. “It was one challenge after another.” There’s a reason no one makes Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes. They are difficult to build. “
The cottage is specifically modeled on Wright Seth Peterson’s 1950s cottage, located on Mirror Lake near Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Joe said he had been in many buildings designed by Wright over the years, but it wasn’t until Kelly stayed at Seth Peterson’s Cottage a few years ago that the couple decided to create their own version.
“What we thought would only last a year ended two and a half years,” Joe said.
Wright began designing Seth Peterson’s cottage for Peterson and his fiancé. Peterson, who shared his birthday with Wright, was a longtime fan of the architect. However, both men died before the cottage was completed, and others completed the construction years later. Joe said it was one of the last buildings Wright had designed.
O’Donnell’s cottage is slightly larger than Mirror Lake, Joe said, but was designed to be a 1950s home with modern amenities.
Retro elements from the fifties can be seen throughout the cottage, from orange and aqua furniture in the living room to all-red kitchen elements.
But the magnum opus huts are large windows that welcome guests as they enter and provide magnificent views of the surrounding valley.
The wall of the windows proved to be the biggest design stressor. The corner windows are not separated by a wooden frame, which is a technical challenge, but an element emphasizing Wright’s style of connecting houses with their outdoor environment.
“The purpose of the windows was to walk in and feel like you’re still outside,” Kelly said. “It’s crucial to have glass in the corners.” L Frank Lloyd Wright never wanted to disturb nature. He built nature into the structure. “
Cedar wood and limestone also form the floors, ceilings and walls of the house, reflecting the cedar trees and limestone formations that are far from the cottage.
Joe said he was “handy” but could not build a cottage on his own, and the family had a team of people who helped build and plan the house. But there were some elements, such as wooden chandeliers hanging in the kitchen skylight, which they made themselves.
“Four months, every night,” Joe said, pointing to the chandeliers.
The cottage is built on land owned by the O’Donnell for more than 20 years, and the family enjoyed hiking along the trail system they worked on. Joe noted that attentive cottage guests looking out over the valley can see lots of wildlife.
Airbnb guests have already booked the cottage for the next three weekends. Joe said the hope was for the lease to “take off” and become an escape site throughout the year.
Joe noted that the cottage’s emphasis on the windows creates a beautiful and cozy winter moment as the cottage’s inhabitants watch the falling snow.
“It’s like Frank Sinatra’s Christmas song,” he said.