You can also sign-up for our newsletter. Receive weekly news & updates, sent directly to your inbox.

Market Watch: Owners of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home lose at least $300K in sale

Illinois' highest-in-the-nation property taxes are eroding home equity and depressing home values across the state. This report is part of a SYHN News Service series on recent home sales that demonstrate the consequences.

The home: 281 Bloomingbank Road, Riverside

The 6,000-square-foot Prairie-style home is the largest part of Frank Lloyd Wright's Avery Coonley House. The original estate was built between 1908 and 1912. It consisted of three buildings connected by courtyards. The estate was later split into multiple homes on adjacent lots. Today, this portion of the home consists of five bedrooms, five bathrooms, hardwood floors, art glass windows, and a reflecting pool and terrace.

The seller: Ella Mae Eastman, the wife of former Argonne National Laboratory Director Dean Eastman.

The seller: Ella Mae Eastman, the wife of former Argonne National Laboratory Director Dean Eastman.

The Eastmans restored the home after purchasing it in 2000. The work included re-creating a 28-foot-wide mural in the living room, and fixing a concrete and tile exterior frieze as well as crumbling walls. It's unknown how much money the couple spent on the restoration. 

They also purchased and restored an adjoining coach house that was part of the original Coonley estate.  

Doug Eastman died last year, and Ella Mae now lives in the smaller coach house, which was not part of this sale.

The purchase: In 2000, the Eastmans paid $975,000 for the home, or $1.45 million in today's dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The sale: According to Zillow, the home sold on Jan. 31 for $1.15 million, or $300,000 less than the original purchase price, in today's dollars.

The home had been on and off the market numerous times dating back to October 2010 when the Eastmans first had it priced at $2.89 million. By 2012, the price was down to $2.25 million and the home was taken off the market for the first time. 

After renting the home out for a few years, the couple relisted the home in 2015 for $2.1 million. They continued to lower the price until it was at $1.6 million by August 2017 when it was once again unlisted.

Ella Mae Eastman relisted the home in May 2018 for $1.3 million after her husband's death.

The property taxes: Based on data compiled from and Zillow, the Eastmans paid $382,425 in property taxes between 2000 and 2017, or 33 percent of the sale price.


The Financial Facts in Today’s Dollars

Seller's Purchase PriceAmount Home Sold for in 2019Seller's Property Taxes

More News