For years, friends told Linda McQuillen that her Madison, WI house (above) looked like it was designed by the noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The retired teacher paid $100,000 for the 1,800-square-foot home in 1989 and has spent the past 25 years renovating and refurbishing it, not knowing its true provenance until earlier this week when a Wright scholar confirmed the house is an example of the architect's work.
Mary Jane Hamilton, who has written about Wright's family and homes in his home state of Wisconsin, confirmed the authenticity of the structure, the reports. She verified it as an American System-Built house, one of 16 built by Wright to offer well-designed homes at an affordable price.
"It's pretty exciting, I've got to tell you," McQuillen told the AP. "And pretty overwhelming."
Hamilton had heard rumors of the house's potential Wright connection for years, but she couldn't prove it until she found a 1917 Wisconsin State Journal newspaper advertisement for American System-Built Homes from a specific Madison building company. The same company, it turned out, was listed on the 1917 building permit for McQuillen's house.
In spite of a section of dark red brick around the stucco exterior (which was uncharacteristic for Wright), the house's basement contained a telltale sign of Wright's work: framing studs that were set 24 inches apart instead of the traditional 16-inch span.
With this development, the house—located half a mile from the University of Wisconsin campus where Wright studied in the 1880s—is now worth $480,000.
That's almost five times what McQuillen paid for it, so it's easy to see why she's feeling a bit overwhelmed by the news.