Catherine Gray House, 1907
Purcell & Feick
2409 East Lake of the Isles Boulevard, Minneapolis
Purcell's grandfather William Cunningham Gray died in 1901, and in 1907 his grandmother Catherine Gray moved from Chicago to Minneapolis to be closer to her grandson. The Catherine Gray house, Purcell's first built example of a progressive structure, was to be a home for both of them. It was also an important work for the fledgling progressive architecture firm of Purcell and Feick. Purcell's friend and future partner, George Elmslie, generously advised the young architect during the design process, establishing a collaborative method they would follow throughout their partnership.
The rectangular, two-story structure closely resembled Frank Lloyd Wright's design for a "Fireproof House for $5000" published in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1907. Purcell defined and varied the monolithic exterior by using brick on the first floor and natural-colored stucco on the second floor. The firm incorporated progressive features, such as casement windows and an asymmetrical entry, that eventually became standard in subsequent homes it designed. A partially open floor plan and a system of interior wood trim throughout the rooms unified the interior. The house has been altered over the years, including the removal of a screened pavilion to the south, though the current owners have striven to reflect the original appearance of the house in their recent restoration. next stop >