On my trip to Chicago last week, I had the opportunity to visit the home and studio of one of my lifetime idols and inspiration, Frank Loyd Wright
. Mr. Wright’s home was located in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburban style, vintage charming village in the incorporated city of Chicago but about a half hour from the city center.
We arrived with our suitcases in tow, knowing they had lockers to accommodate such visitors as ourselves. While we waited for our tour, we encountered visitors from all over the country as well as many places around the world including Germany and Japan. We waited in the gift shop and of course, I seized the opportunity to take home earrings modeled on Mr. Wright’s stained glass window designs.
Our tour guide was a local who volunteered his time to give these tours because he loved Wright designs and the many contributions he made to that community and worldwide. He was very knowledgeable about all things Frank Lloyd Wright.
We then went outside and saw the adornments on the exterior of the studio before we encountered his home, the entrance to which was right around the corner.
Wright’s home was the first building he constructed and design after leaving college in Wisconsin where he took only two courses in structural engineering. He designed the home to accommodate and his family which included his wife and six children, four girls and two boys. He also included the studio for his work. This was where he designed his own projects until he later built the studio which I joined the house. With limited funds, he chose to put all six of his children in one room, Until he built the studio next-door and then the two boys had space separated from their four sisters. When asked Mr. Wright said that he understood fatherhood because that was exactly how he felt about his designs. So much for his parenting skills.
home in Oak Park, IL
The design of his home still harkens back to Victorian touches with draperies separating many of the public spaces. He was very attuned to nature and incorporated that through out his home and other construction. He used colors that had natural tones and with all the wood throughout the home of spaces were quite dark. He designed all of the furniture himself most of which looks pretty uncomfortable. However it works beautifully with his design and that was his overriding concern.
He created vaulted spaces which give a spacious feeling to even modest spaces.
Master bedroom mural.
In the master bedroom, he had murals commissioned for his wife at either end of the angular ceiling.
In the second floor family room, the barrel ceiling added drama as it sported stained glass ceiling in addition to another mural and brick fireplace. It is a fabulous space that was just for family entertainment.
Family room mural and barrel ceiling.
Only intimate friends were invited upstairs. He had a unique two unit music player–one piece played a player piano roll and that was connected to the grand piano that was recessed into the ceiling space in the back stairwell.
It was a great tour. Part two will take you on a tour of the studio.
Who has inspired you?