The State of Wright: Martin House Gardener's Cottage
Status: Open for tours
Location: Martin campus
History: Darwin Martin requested that Wright design a home for his gardener. The result is a fine example of the small scale houses Wright first developed in the beginning of his Prairie period. Its modest exterior walls are clothed in stucco (instead of brick like the rest of the complex). The Restoration Corporation’s acquisition of the cottage was the final piece of the puzzle needed to make the estate whole. As the sixth building on the site (it faces Woodward Avenue), it was designed by Wright but not actually built until 1909. A recent owner, Greg Kinsman, restored the cottage’s cozy interiors, and added a family room.
Significance: The inclusion of a gardener’s residence in the Martin House complex attests to the importance of the extensive gardens and grounds on the site. It’s said that the Martin family gardener was tasked with providing fresh flowers daily for each room in the Martin House.
What to look for: The windows contain ribbons of art glass, although their design is simpler than others in the complex. Be sure to stand outside to observe where the original cottage ended before the family room was added.
Comments: The Martin estate was a unique commission for Wright as it includes designs for at least three levels of socio-economic housing: affluent (the Martin House), middle class (the Barton House), and working class (the gardener’s cottage, the carriage house apartment, and the servants’ rooms in the main house).
Over the next two weeks we will post a series that organizes each Wright gem by location, history, what should be seen, and additional information that may pique visitor interest. There are many more resources, including guided tours for most sites, excluding the private homes. It is hoped that this guide will inspire readers to see firsthand the reasons why visitors from all over the world make the trip to Buffalo to experience Frank Lloyd Wright.