Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cantilevers. And why I love my small house.

On Friday I surprised Ben with an afternoon date to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House which is not too far from us. We have wanted to visit it for a long time and it just never happened. I was particularly excited to see this house because it is the same size as our house. This was an example of Wright's innovative designs to create a modestly-sized and affordable single-family home in 1939. Every space in the house was designed beautifully with a specific purpose in mind and although it is small, it felt big inside. Part of that was due to Wright's use of only four materials (wood, brick, glass, and concrete).

Houses have become so large. I think about the houses that my parents grew up in. They were not big. And even with 4 or 5 children, they managed to survive in them. Today, you need an extra bedroom just for your Costco membership. Lately, I have really been embracing my small house. I love that it takes me little time to straighten. I love that I don't have to travel far to return all the clean laundry to its proper place. I love that it prevents me from accumulating too much stuff. I love trying to organize a small space and I have actually gotten my home to the point where I have extra storage space. It is just right for our little family. Wright was against basements and attics and garages and felt that everything you use on a daily basis could be easily stored somewhere in your house. I really like the idea of living more simply.

The other great thing about the Pope-Leighey house, as with all of Wright's houses, is the way it is made to blend in with its surroundings and bring the outside right into the home. You hardly notice when you've transitioned from the outside to the inside. One of my favorite Wright features are his corner windows and doors. They are seriously stunning. There was some beautiful (and versatile) furniture inside as well. We left the tour and Ben immediately had all sorts of ideas for tearing out walls in our house to open up the space.

Notice the raised herb garden right outside the kitchen window. Perfect.

This photo shows one of the corner doors opening up onto the patio. Why don't they build more houses with corner windows and doors? They are amazing.

(This was the only photo I managed to sneak inside, because photography was not permitted in the house.)

This was a corner window in one of the bedrooms.