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Growing Up Wright, a book by Lonnie Lovness

Building a Dream with the World's Greatest Architect

About the book

The Lovness Studio

Don and Virginia Lovness went to see Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 at Taliesin, where he agreed to design a home / art studio for the young couple.  The following spring they began a two-year marathon of chiseling and laying stone, pouring cement and framing their Usonian gem on a small lake in Minnesota.  They lived in a tiny camping trailer on site with their two daughters, a cat and a goat.

The Cottage

Taliesin at Spring Green Wisconsin

A Wright life

Don and Virginia became very close to Mrs. Wright, Wes Peters and the entire Fellowship, and their home became a regular "R&R" stop for Taliesin apprentices. They were influenced by Wright in many ways and became avid collectors of Oriental art. Don re-created some of the "Sprite" designs from the long-gone Midway Gardens, sparking a resurgence of interest in these lovely figurines. 

Inside the book

A dream takes shape

A Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House hearth under construction by Don and Virginia Lovness, 1956

Usonian Homes, book

My mother the mason

Virginia Lovness laying stone in her Usonian house, 1956

My sister and I spent the summers collecting pebbles for fill as the house rose around us. 

Life in a Wright home

Don Lovness reading a bedtime story to his daughters in their Frank Lloyd Wright home, 1957

When the house was finished in the late fall of 1957, my sister and I had a bedroom to share.  My father - a chemist, aviator, boxer and consummate builder - was a renaissance man with a soft side.  

Taliesin visits

A pageant at Taliesin East, summer 1965 with children, including the Lovness girls,  watching.

Our parents made regular visits to Spring Green where we would take part in the elaborate pageants put on by the Fellowship and apprentices.

The cottage

Virginia Lovness and Lonnie Lovness at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed "cottage", circa 1994.

The Cottage became a just-right-sized home for them, a base for extensive travels and a house that saw a constant stream of visitors over the years.  

Honoring a dynamic duo

Lovness daughters on the "birdwalk" at Taliesin East, 2017

The birdwalk at Taliesin, book

The Book

Book cover, "Growing Up Wright" by Lonnie Lovness

9" x 9", 224 pages, over 250 photos

Book by Lonnie Lovness

About the author

Lonnie Lovness followed in the footsteps of her mother as a visual artist and painter.  She was an arts administrator and gallery director, then managing director for a theater troupe. In 1984 she founded a successful jewelry design studio, Lonnie Lovness Accessories, retiring in 2016.

About the editor

Lonnie's husband Gordon Maltby is a writer and publisher in the automotive field.  They collaborated on this work. 

Images and unique details

Virginia Lovness saved everything, from the invoices for bags of cement to the checks she wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright for "personal architectural services".  Readers will discover fascinating and little-known Wright history in personal letters, notes, drawings and gifts, to and from the Lovnesses.     

Available spring 2020

Frank Lloyd Wright, book

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