Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Fallingwater Follow-up

I've had two comments about the narrow hallways and small bathrooms in Frank Lloyd Wright homes.  Well, he had small kitchens, too.

First of all, Wright was a small man in stature, only 5' 8" or so.  He built homes to fit himself not seeming to care that the owner might be taller.  His doorways are slightly over 6' in his designs. 

His hallways were often narrow because he designed the rooms with built-in furniture.  He knew what would look best and that is what you got.  No need to waste square footage just to get someplace.

Bathrooms were strictly utilitarian.  I can remember being at Kentuck Knob and being told to view the bathroom one at a time lest two guests get stuck inside.  The toilet at Fallingwater seemed to be very low to the floor.  Nowadays, of course, folks seem to want bathrooms big enough to entertain in. 

Since most of the people building homes designed by Wright had servants to do the cooking, there was no reason to make the kitchen the showplace it is today.  Nor would the idea of an open concept kitchen appeal to him under any circumstances, I imagine.  Every time I visit a Wright home I am always intrigued as to the modifications to the kitchens, many of which have required add-on space.

OTOH, the living areas were large and inviting.  This is where the family would gather and spend time together.  He always had a wonderful hearth and inglenook and large dining room for family meals.

Hearth area in Wingspread, Racine, Wisconsin.  Notice the built-in sofa and Wright designed furniture.

I own a home that was designed with Wright ideas in mind.  My bathrooms are small, meant to be used by one person at a time.  They are not handicapped accessible and I know that from personal experience.  My kitchen is a galley style in a corner of the house.

When you walk in the front door you can see the kitchen, family room and living room.  It is very open.  There is only one small hallway to the bedrooms and getting furniture into what is now my office is a real test of ingenuity.  You have to stand everything on its end to move it in or out.

But, I wouldn't have my house any other way.  It is not large, but it is comfy.  If I am limited in square footage, I do not want to waste it.

Here is another view of Kentuck Knob.  Central hearth area in the home with bedroom wing to the left, living to the right.


  1. i love this and love his work--i have a book of his work and really enjoy it!

  2. Thanks for the details. I'd swap a jumbo bathroom for a house by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  3. Looks very attractive. Don't care about a large bathroom, but I prefer a large kitchen. Mine could have been designed by FLW I think.

    Was it you who awarded me the Liebster award? I can't find the blog that went with it.


  4. Here is the link to the Liebster nominees:


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