Tuesday, October 21, 2014


After Antietam, I had decided to take a little detour to western Pennsylvania to visit Fallingwater, a Frank Lloyd Wright house. I was curious and didn't think I'd have another opportunity. You couldn't take pictures in the house at all, only outside. And you could only take a couple and they all started looking the same.

The house was built late in his career and was for the Kauffman family, who I believe owned Kauffman Department Store in Pittsburgh. They found some property they loved with a creek and they wanted the house near a certain spot to enjoy nature and the water. They imagined a house overlooking where the creek made a waterfall and pool over some boulders. FLW instead integrated the house with the water, placing the house essentially in the waterfall, utilizing the boulders in the foundation (and as part of the hearth) and the living area had steps down into the creek through a beatiful set of glass doors in the living room floor.

To be honest, at first glance I wasn't too impressed. But then the tour revealed all the little things that were just marvelous and I think made the house. The house is currently an ongoing restoration project as parts of the whole house seem to have been rebuilt at certain points.  

There was no air conditioning, but the glass panel "doors" in the floor of the living room opened along with many windows to provide great cross ventilation. The corners of the rooms looked out over the creek and had windows spanning the length of the room, no walls and corner supports to interrupt the view. The corner windows that ran vertical in the kitchen and bedrooms opened and you had the gentle sound of flowing water to fall asleep to. There were even cutouts in the desks to allow the windows to swing open, so you always has access to the outdoors and fresh air. 

The bedroom doors were beveled to keep out light around the cracks in the door. Closet shelves were thatched to keep clothes ventilated as well. Bathrooms had cork all over, walls and ceilings. The bedrooms each had terraces double or triple the size of the room to coax you outside rather than sitting indoors. There was also a guest house and a spring fed pool in case you tired of the creek. 

There was so much thought put into it, I really enjoyed it. If you find yourself in southwest Pennsylvania, I definitely recommend the house tour although in summer I hear the tickets sell out well in advance, so you may need to plan a little in advance depending on the time of year. I luckily was able to get a ticket the same day. 

Driving the backroads in PA was fun too. I found this super tiny community (like 50) that had cute shops and cafes. It was near a state park and seemed to cater to outdoor enthusiasts. It seemed like southwest PA may be a good place to head for kayaking, hiking, biking, etc. Unfortunately I didn't have too much time because I was headed east to Gettysburg and needed to get there before sunset to set up camp. 

On to Gettysburg!

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