The Fir Tree House is located north of the village of Pecos, New Mexico, along a narrow road that winds up-river. Behind the entrance lies a special residence hidden deep in the woods, this is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s lesser known projects. Constructed for Arnold Friedman in 1948, it is the only 100% authentic Wright house in New Mexico. Wright had designed it for a family who wanted a vacation home with four bedrooms, three baths, and a separate servant's room and bath in a remote valley in the Southwest. Also required was a service wing for the laundry, a water-pumping facility, and a stable—all for a budget of $10,000.
Fir Tree House enjoys frontage along the trout-rich Pecos River near its headwaters. Wright’s unfortunate selection of the name: ”Fir Tree House” is a perhaps a miss-identification of the native Cedars and Ponderosa Pines.
The design employs cedar shingle siding (unusual for Wright) and rough concrete-masonry of the kind seen later at Taliesin West in the Arizona desert.
The plan of the house takes the form of a large parallelogram, with the courtyard entrance passing under the roof, which connects the servant’s room on one side to the laundry on the other. The living room is topped by a teepee-shaped roof covered with cedar shingles. Its large glass window walls meet at a 120-degree angle, and doors open onto a terrace bounded by low stone walls. There is a covered path which edges to a courtyard and the front door, which is angled between the living room and a hallway to the bedroom wing. The living room also features an over sized fireplace and chimney. The hallway leading to the bedroom wing branches to the left as you enter the house. Wright used rough-sawn pine, stained the color of cedar for the interiors.
The original owners and their heirs have kept the interior of the lodge intact, including Wright’s specially designed furniture, such as the desk in a corner of the living room.
The outstanding feature of the lodge is the living room, where the ceiling rises to a 28-foot height. At the perimeter, the roof drops to an 11-foot height, underscored by a flared rim that runs around the exterior of the entire lodge. A continuous band of narrow clerestory windows marks the point where the high roof joins the lower one and dematerializes this juncture with light. Inside, the rough-sawn rafters of the lower roof extend through the open space under the high ceiling, creating a spectacular kaleidoscope of geometric forms overhead. This innovative system of construction for the living-room ceiling remains unique in Wright’s residential work — he never used it again.
The plan’s hexagonal geometry bears more than a coincidental resemblance to a previously unbuilt Wright design from the 1920’s for a resort in Lake Tahoe. The compact layout was constructed in 1948 and was expanded with various additions including a carport. A swimming pool was also added recently and is not of Wright’s design.