Friday, October 11, 2013

Staying at a Frank Lloyd Wright House in Riverside, Illinois

Usually I do research when I travel.  Usually I know where I am going and what I want to see.  But this trip was different.  I was going on a roadtrip with Kim, my best friend from high school to stay with our friend Aberdeen.  Our plan was to eat out, watch a movie and catch up.  No advance planning necessary. If I had used my head, I would have read up on Frank Lloyd Wright.

I knew that Aberdeen lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which sounded really neat, but I had no idea how fascinating it would be to go inside and actually live there.  To respect her privacy, I won't identify the house.  It isn't open to tours and it is up to her to share it as she wishes.

I will simply show you the window I got to look out each morning.  A row of these beautiful "light screens" lined the room and were placed almost at the height you would hang a piece of art. The effect is stunning.  Another plus is that the windows hinge open and on Sunday morning, hymns from a church service waft into the bedroom.  

I have been to many famous residences-turned-museums over the years (Monticello, Mount Vernon, Olana) and in all of them, it is the possessions (paintings, furniture, china, wallpaper) that made the impression on me. I enjoyed thinking of the lives of these famous men and how they lived at the height of their careers.

In this case, I was in a museum of sorts and had the chance to admire the work of a famous architect from within his creation.  Can you relate to what I am saying?  I have not thought about architecture that much and was fascinated with the idea of being inside something that a design icon created.  

You look at Monet's water lilies.  You look at Andy Warhol's Polaroids. You are never inside a piece of art.  That is until I was walking around inside a famous home by Frank Lloyd Wright.  I was able to see the flow of the rooms, the width of the staircase, the natural light from the windows, as well as the illuminated skylights with exactly the effect that Frank Lloyd Wright had wanted.  

Some of the furniture was original too, designed by the architect to work in the space. I loved it all.  It felt silly to gush about it all after the initial look around. I wanted to pretend it was no big deal to eat pizza in a grand dining room or sit outside and talk on a porch with a cantilevered roof.  I can't gush to Frank, so I'm gushing to you. 

Thank you, Aberdeen, for letting me look at architecture and art in a completely different way. 

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