Home & Design

Inside, visitors will discover built-in shelving and furniture designed by Wright.

A dusk view reveals a cut-out pattern on the windows.

An exterior renovation preserved the home’s Tidewater red cypress exterior.

Cachet: A Gem Restored

Frank Lloyd Wright’s newly conserved Pope-Leighey House opens for tours in April

Tucked into the picturesque grounds of Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria is a structure from a completely different era. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939, the Pope-Leighey House exemplifies the illustrious architect’s “Usonian” vision: small, single-story dwellings, integrated with nature and affordable for the middle class. After years of deteriorating and fading in the elements, this tiny yet significant abode had its exterior painstakingly restored in late 2015.

Architect Ashley Wilson, AIA, ASID, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, oversaw the conservation effort, which involved cleaning the Tidewater red cypress exterior, protecting it from biological growth and UV rays and coating it with a wood preservative. Narrow grafts known as wood dutchman were also used to repair parts of the outer structure.

“This project provides the further understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s intent for exterior wood while offering new solutions for the care and maintenance of wood buildings,” explains Wilson. “The solutions can be used by any homeowner.”

Originally commissioned by journalist Loren Pope in Falls Church in 1939, Pope-Leighey House was moved to Woodlawn Plantation—once part of the historic Mount Vernon estate—when construction of Interstate 66 threatened to demolish it in 1963. The home features the flat, cantilevered roof, corner windows and spacious interiors that typify Wright’s work and continue to influence American architecture today. 

“Pope-Leighey House was only 25 years old when the Trust recognized its importance to American culture as a representative example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses,” says Wilson. Starting in April, the house is open for tours Friday through Monday; tickets are $15 for adults. woodlawnpopeleighey.org

You may also like:

Classic Style
A design team conjures an elegant yet approachable vibe in an expanded 1930s Wesley Heights cottage
Jewel in the Rough
On the edge of a Bethesda woodland, Robert M. Gurney creates a modern retreat that celebrates nature
A Remodeling Checklist
Careful planning will keep your project on track
HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2021 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top