But Jim Blair, the home’s owner and all-around nice guy, agreed to reopen the home again from noon to 4 p.m. June 17. Patrons with tickets from June 10 can get in for free; the tour is also selling more tickets.
More than 1,500 people bought tickets for the neighborhood tour, making it impossible for everyone to see the home before the VIP party there that night.
The line snaked down the driveway and up a sidewalk. Quick-thinking organizers and entrepreneurial children soon arrived with cold beverages for those waiting in the 90-degree heat.
Lisa McElwee, chairwoman of the event, said organizers saw a spike in sales immediately after The Star ran a story about the tour, which also featured the nearby Thomas Hart Benton home and studio and five other homes. In 2006, the last time the Friends of Roanoke Park, Neighbors Group hosted such a tour, 60 tickets were sold.
The Sondern-Adler Home at 3600 Belleview Ave. is named after each of its first two owners, both of whom hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design parts of it.
Clarence Sondern contracted the architect to design the first part of the home in 1939. The result was a 900-square-foot Usonian-style masterpiece with Wright’s trademark deep overhangs and big windows that invite nature indoors. It included what is now the home’s den/library, kitchen, two bedrooms and one bathroom.
Nine years later, the second owner, Arnold Adler, invited Wright to design a 2,000-square-foot addition. The result is a large open living space that includes a formal dining area with built-in seating and a sunken living room with a fireplace and three walls of big windows. Wright also added a bedroom, bathrooms, carports and three vast terraces.
Blair, who has a ready and infectious grin, sees himself as a steward of the home, which is why he loves sharing it with others and has had thousands of people in the house for fundraising events and tours since moving in in 1997.
“I think every time I walk in the door I realize it’s a very special place,” he told The Star in 2015. “All of these houses, we’re just passing through and doing things to preserve them for the future.”
Tickets for June 17 are $20 at the door (plus a $3 credit card fee). Tickets purchased in advance at roanokehometour.com will get a 10 percent discount by entering code FLW (only the Wright home will be shown). Those who have wristbands from the June 10 tour get free admission. Event proceeds benefit the Roanoke Park neighborhood.