Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good-bye Chicago; Hello Minneapolis

We got up at 9 o'clock a.m. Ack! We had to get ready, we had to get downstairs by 10 a.m in order to get our free breakfast. There were more people in the hotel now. Ack! We might not get anything! Ack! We hurried and got ready. Steve wasn't quite ready when I was. (I know, there's a first time for everything!) I rushed downstairs to secure our breakfast. Hmm, waffle mix is still in evidence. I secured some and tied up both waffle makers for the 2 minutes and 15 seconds it took to make yummy, hot, fresh waffles. Steve, as per the Marchetti skill set of showing up when the food is ready, got there just as the dinger dinged. He got us plates, and we ate. Then we had to be out of the hotel and on the road in time to get to our tour time of Frank Lloyd Wright's first home at 11 a.m. We rushed back up to the room with the luggage cart, threw everything on it, hurtled back downstairs, tossed everything in the car, returned the luggage cart and drove off looking for ice for the cooler. While Steve was in the store, I programmed the GPS. "Man," I thought. "Steve said that he fixed this clock on the GPS! It says 8:30!" I confronted him when he got back with the 20 lbs of ice that he lugged out of the store and hoisted, grunting, into our ice chest. "I thought you fixed this clock!" I said. "I did!" he said. "Then why does it say 8:31?" I asked snippily. "Because it is 8:31" he answered back at the normal speed. "That's what it says on my phone, too." We figured that when I put in the alarm time, I changed the real time. He wondered why the clock in the room didn't match his phone but figured his phone was wrong. Hmm, nope. We now had two and a half hours to kill and only a half hour drive to Oak Park. So we helped Starbucks' bottom line and used their free Wi-fi to find a motel for South Dakota. We got to our tour time with minutes to spare.

This is Frank Lloyd Wright's first home after he started his career as an architect and designer. He lived here until 1909 and tried out techniques and conventions that he would become famous for later on in his career like going over budget. And like using patterns based on Foible blocks, using natural forms, Japanese prints, and two other things neither Steve nor I can remember. Sorry. His front room flowed like an open floor plan of today. He had an inglenook fireplace, built-in couches and two tree trunks growing right through his house. His dining room had indirect lighting with a beautifully carved screen over it. The dining room table with its very high backed chairs were like a room within a room--showing the first signs of the prarie style for which Wright was known. Upstairs his children's bedrooms had a soaring ceiling and a wall which partitioned off the 4 boys from the 2 girls. The master bedroom had a soaring ceiling as well and a couple of friezes on the walls and Wright designed pendant lamps that fit in with the art. Also, his windows were arranged to look like a kimono. His wife's sewing room had a lower ceiling for part of the room--creating a room within a room, a deep closet where she could hide from her overbearing mother-in-law who lived next door and a flat ceiling due to the magnificent children's playroom beside it. The playroom was reached through a small hallway--the guide suggested that this was to increase excitement and anticipation--all the large family gatherings took place in the playroom--Christmas, birthdays, etc. The playroom had a semi-circular arched ceiling, a frieze at the end, a Steinway piano that was built in to the wall so that it wouldn't take up floor space, a gallery for either putting on plays or watching plays and everything was child-sized. It also had a sky light that had one of those magnificent carved screens over it. By far the playroom was my favorite room in the house.

After a brief look at the kitchen that was reconstructed from recollections of his children, but of which nothing original remained (because Wright could care less about kitchens in his designs), we toured Wright's studio. Both the studio and the library, the two bookends of that wing of the house, were octagonal in shape. The studio had chains that held up a balcony and that held the room together basically. It showed that he had a lot of skill with engineering. Each drafting table was a room unto itself along the sides of the room. The windows were at the top of the walls rather than smack dab in the middle of them. He had a mural over his fireplace made just like one he made for a client's home. His library housed his design books and showed off some of his current plans. It was also where he met his clients. His waiting room and reception area had a stained glass sky light with 1,500 pieces of glass in each of the 3 panels. It had windows that showed off the tops of the columns that he had built on his porch. They each had a open book signifying the laws of architecture and the tree of life and two storks symbolizing prosperity and fertility. The studio was the end of our tour. We briefly looked at his Unity Temple, also in Oak Park, got our lunch at Long John Silvers and headed down the road to Minneapolis. It took about 6 hours to get to our Extended Stay hotel. Tomorrow--Mall of America!

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to the "book"! ;) love ya! Jude