Archives For architecture

Inside Taliesin West

October 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I showed you pictures from my trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Arizona. In that post I promised pictures of the interior in a later post, but then I forgot. Well, better late than never! These pictures are all poached (but they are properly sourced of course) because no interior pictures were allowed.

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This is the main living area. It is quite large because he lived there with his family, his architecture students, and frequent guests. The seating and the outer walls are all very low to the ground. Frank Lloyd Wright was only 5’6″ so he designed all his furniture and doorways to be the right size for him because he felt like his height was the perfect height (as a person that is also 5’6″ I felt perfectly comfortable there!). You can see in the last picture how low the ceilings are, imagine if that man in black on the far left actually stood up… there were a lot average height men feeling pretty good about themselves there!

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Frank Lloyd Wright was the originator of the open floor plan. He liked to have big parties where everyone could be in the same room all doing the same thing or off in little groupings.

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These pendant groupings were everywhere and I loved them! Such a cool look and I don’t think it would be too terribly hard to pull off in your own home.

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It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the “ceiling” is actually just canvas pulled over beams. It is a very tent like atmosphere. He built gutters inside so that rain water wouldn’t ruin the carpet. Two things I loved in this room were the animal skins everywhere (animal skins may be the theme of my blog this week) and these round rattan stools (it’s like where’s Waldo, but you can find them above if you look hard enough).

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I love the stone walls with wooden beams and shelves.

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This is his office. I love the table with the plant in the middle, he had several of these throughout the house.

Overall this house is kind of a hot mess, but a very cool well designed hot mess. Because he was using his own money and not being paid for his time he used what was available to him and added on when he could… the overall look is pretty hodge podge, but his design aesthetic still comes through pretty clearly. It is definitely and ode to the organic Arizona landscape. What I love about this home is that he lived there and so it more truly reflects on him as a person than his commissioned homes. Most designers design a specific way for clients but in their own homes they are more likely to do things they wouldn’t do for a client. I really enjoyed this tour and if you are in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area I totally recommend it and don’t worry I didn’t ruin the tour showing you all these pictures. There is way more that I didn’t show and plus everything always looks different in person.

Last week I was in Phoenix, AZ for a conference. I was so happy when I remembered that there is a Frank Lloyd Wright home in that area. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to vist a FLW home (Falling Water, you are on my hit list). Taliesin West was amazing and I learned so much about him as a person and designer. Here a few of the photos I took while on the tour. This is about 1/15th of pictures I took, I was a maniac! We could only take pictures outside and in the outer buildings, but I hope to share a post about the interior later this week.

Love this long arbor.

Almost all of FLW other homes were built on commission for someone except for this house. He paid for and built this one on his own so he cut a lot of corners and used what he had on hand. Apparently, he was real cheapskate! The stone walls are just dirt and rocks from the land that he compacted into walls. Thankfully he was such a good designer that the structure has lasted for 70+ years.

There is almost no grass in Phoenix and FLW tried really hard to use nature as his inspiration, but he did put a large patch of grass in the front yard. He went against his own design principle because when he first built this home he had two little daughters and he wanted them to have somewhere soft to play outdoors.

There is a lot of Japanese influence around the house. FLW loved Japan and used a lot of pieces he bought in Japan in his commissioned homes, but for his own home he couldn’t afford the real pieces from Japan. He improvised and went to Chinatown in San Francisco to buy all his Japanese art.

Orange doors! Brass handles! LOVE

More orange doors! More brass handles! LOVE

Hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour as much as I did!

A 1925 Bungalow

August 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Since this blog is about my little house I thought it would be appropriate to give more information about it. The home was built in 1925 and is a classic bungalow style… at least I think it is. The home didn’t come with a diary of it’s history (although that would have been awesome!) or any information really. I basically only know what the last home owner did to it, but the rest is a mystery. So I did a little googling and I think my home does fit into the ‘bungalow’ category. According to About.com* bungalows’ living space is mainly on the first floor, have a peaked roof, have rooms that connect without hallways, and were first built between 1905-1930. These facts seem to fit my home, but who can know really? I guess if you’re an architect or a historian you can let me know your opinion in the comments.

Most homes built in that time period had wood siding and I’m assuming mine did too, but at some point the wood siding was replaced with metal siding. I don’t know what kind of metal it is (are you sensing a theme here? I don’t know much at all haha). When I first bought the home it looked like this:

This is a very “pretty” picture of it but in reality it was gross. The front of the house was shades of blue/grey and the back was blue/grey and hunter green… yeah, it was weird. Plus it was very dirty. So as you can see in this post I had it painted. I am SO happy with the result. I chose the darkest grey in the pallet and straight-up white for the trim (wouldn’t that be a great paint color, ‘Straight-Up White’?). I love the contrast of the two colors. Grey and white is really on trend now but I also think it is a timeless combination.

One of the odd things about this house is the porch. It appears as though it is framed in for screens or even glass, but it’s just an empty frame. I’m assuming that it was at one time closed in. I’ve decided to screen it in but I’ll have to wait until I have more money saved up. For now it is just an nicely painted empty frame. I had the floor of the porch painted two shades lighter than the siding for contrast. And I kept the ceiling wood. I love the stain on it… I’m not sure if it is original to the home but I sure do love it.

This home has a few architectural features that I really love. The first is the porch ceiling above and the next is the front door.

I’m amazed that in the this home’s 87 year history no one has painted the front door. I know I’m tempted. Wouldn’t it look awesome in deep red or bright yellow? But I know the benefit of historical preservation so I’ll never paint it. The hinges on the door are also amazing.

Hardwood floors are my favorite type of flooring. I’ve lived with many types of flooring (including a whole basement apartment with cement floors) and hardwood has always been my top pick. Thankfully, this house has great floors. The entry, living, and dining floors have all been refinished within the last 10 years.

If I had refinished the floors myself I would have chosen a darker stain, maybe something like this: (Source: http://www.ifloor.com/1-2-engineered-natural-walnut-4-3-4-wide)

But I really don’t mind the color they are now. When I bought the house there was carpet in the mini hallway between the two bedrooms and in the bedrooms themselves. The carpet wasn’t that bad but I really hate carpet so before I moved in I ripped it all up. It was hard work but it was worth it to expose the beautiful hardwood floors underneath.

They need to be refinished as you can see. There is paint on the floors but not anything that can’t be fixed with wood putty, a big sander, and a couple of coats of stain. This is another project on my long list of ‘To-Do’s. Another feature of this house that I really love are the original window frames and baseboards. Three rooms in the house have painted trim: the kitchen, master bedroom, and bathroom. The rest of the house has a darker stain. In this picture you can see the difference in the floor stain and the trim stain. I love the height of the baseboards, they are nearly six inches! Love.

Do you like older homes or new ones? I grew up in homes built in the 1980s or 1990s. I’ve always been attracted to older homes so it is a dream come true for me to own my own piece of history. *http://architecture.about.com/od/periodsstyles/ig/House-Styles/Bungalow-Styles.htm