Saturday, July 3, 2010


Water flowing underneath a house has not always thrilled me. When we had the underground stream at the Catonsville address and the consistent flooding when it rained a lot, I wasn't a fan!
I'd change my status if Fallingwater was my house.

The Kaufmann's of Macy's department store fame commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build it for them in the late 1930's. They used it as a summer home. We couldn't take any pictures inside or I'd share them with you. It was amazing! The open floor plan and built-in furniture, not to mention the color scheme, suggests the late '60's or early '70's. The "organic" design, using two boulders to anchor it to a central core smacks of now. Definitely ahead of his time, Wright. His bedrooms were small, drawing guests and homeowners alike outside on to one of the many terraces. He believed in small doorways and using light to keep a visitors from some areas and drawing them in to others. He designed a guest house that fit completely with the main house but was also completely different. The guest house's design encouraged the guest to stay in the house and be comfortable.

Wright also believed in the functionality of design. The hearth and fireplace in the main house, built right from the boulder that held up the house, had a kettle that could be swung over on to the fire. Very functional. Don't confuse functionality with practicality, however. The metal in the kettle was so thick and the kettle so large that it took 14 hours to heat any liquid inside it. Not too practical for morning tea--evening cider perhaps though.

The price to get in wasn't bad, $18 there, taking what time you can get or $20 for the convenience of ordering ahead and getting the time you want. You check in at the gate, head to the visitor's center and are assigned a group. When your group is called you walk to the house and your tour commences. I'm glad we did it. One suggestion, read something about or watch a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright before you go. The general knowledge will help you get more out of your visit.

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