Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fallingwater

A vacation trip just to see a house.  Well, not just any house, but a very special and perhaps the most well-known of all Frank Lloyd Wright homes: Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

Of course, it is pretty well-known that my first career choice was architecture.  (Well, if you knew me in the 50's.)  But after having my drafting instructor repeatedly tell me that women don't get hired as architects, (1950's ideas) I decided I needed to find a career that would put clothes on my back and food on my table.

But my love of architecture remained and I make an almost yearly trek to Oak Park, Illinois to see the Wright homes there.  So, it made sense that having already visited there, Wright's homes in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin, and many other side visits to his creations around the country, that I should finally see the masterpiece.

How beautiful:

Imagine living in a home built over a waterfall.  Construction of the home began in 1935 for wealthy department store owner Edgar Kaufman, Sr.  of Pittsburgh.  It was to be a retreat summer home for the family.

A trip to Fallingwater need not be the only Wright home you see.  Just down the road a bit in Chalkhill is the Hagan house, known as Kentuck Knob.

Built in 1954 almost 20 years later than Fallingwater, it shares some of the same aspects.  Both are built into the landscape around them.  And both have teeny, tiny bathrooms and narrow hallways.  At Kentuck Knob, in order for the owner, Lord Palumbo, to put a rocking chair in the master bedroom, they had to remove a window because it would not fit down the hallways.  Thank goodness for built-in furniture.

Traveling home from Mill Run I stopped in Pittsburgh to see the Frick Estate, Clayton.  'F' also brings to mind Frick and then Freer.  I invite you to explore the links if you have an interest in art.

It's been almost ten years since I've seen the home.  Check the dates on the photos.  Driving home on August 14 I was trying to figure out why traffic was backed up as I neared home.  I was less than four miles from home when all the lights went out during the power failure of 2003.  But despite that drama, the viewing of Fallingwater is what will stay with me as the highlight of my trip.

F is also for Florida; Florence, Italy;


  1. I tend to fit in lots of garden touring, but architectural tours would also be great fun. And, now retired (mostly) there is more time to tour - and there are gardens and architecture everywhere if you keep your eyes open. Another perk of retirement.

    1. Longwood Gardens and Winterthur are good examples.

  2. Another must-see! My son has the Fallingwater Lego set and can't wait to visit.

  3. Interesting that he would build tiny corridors and small bathrooms, I wonder why.


  4. Love, love, love Frank Lloyd Wright...a little jealous of your trip to one of his definitive houses. sigh.

    Here's my F on the challenge:

  5. What gorgeous homes though I can't imagine having to deal with hallways that narrow.

  6. Great post. Falling Water is one of my favorite places and so glad I got to see it a number of years ago. I've made the Oak Park pilgrimage -- was thinking of doing it again this summer when I'm in Chicago -- and enjoyed that, too.

  7. I love architecture as well. These photos are stunning. I would love to go on an architecture vacation; travel the world to photograph the world's beautiful structures....sigh.

  8. Exquisite! Fallingwater has always fascinated me. It's difficult to believe it was designed. It looks organic, as though it grew with the landscape —just as FLW intended. Although not a fan of his interiors, his exteriors are sublime.

    ~VR Barkowski

  9. The home is beautiful but my first thought was - I hope it is not in a bushfire zone with the trees so close to the house.

    In Australia, the sale rate for houses built in the bush has declined after Black Saturday (2009).


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