In Wisconsin – Visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home

After 19 hours of traveling, David and I arrived in Madison, WI to visit my brother Perry and his partner, Michael. We left Santiago Saturday night at 8:40 and arrived in Atlanta at 6:00 Sunday morning. We had a wonderful visit in the Atlanta airport with our great friends, Doug and Marie Warren. It had been way too long since we had seen them so it was wonderful to get caught up. Our flights were uneventful and on time.

It has been wonderful being in Wisconsin and visiting with Perry and Michael. The weather has been beautiful autumn days….warm during the day and cool at night. We have enjoyed walking their property with their two dogs, Biscuit-the yellow lab who is now 1o years old and Jack-a French Bulldog who is a year old.

Yesterday, we sent off our passports to be renewed and spent a couple of hours at Barnes and Noble Bookstore. That is the one thing that we truly missed while living in South America was browsing through bookstores. The Barnes and Noble here in Madison is one of the largest ones that we have seen. Yesterday, I spent close to 10 minutes trying to find David in the store! I foresee spending many more hours there.

Today, Perry, David and I made a trip to visit Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s residence in Spring Green, WI which is about a hour and a half from Madison. As a child, Wright spent many summers with relatives who owned the property where Taliesin is today. He did not finish high school and did a couple of semesters at the University of Wisconsin before moving to Chicago, in 1887, to do apprentice work at a couple of architectural firms.

He lived a colorful life…he lived in Chicago, designed homes, married, had four children, had an affair, moved to Europe with his mistress and eventually ended up back in Wisconsin in 1911. He convinced his mother to purchase acreage next to her family property in Spring Green. Shortly after, Wright began to build his new home, Taliesin, which is Welsh for “shining brow”….the sprawling house is built on the side of a hill or the brow of the hill, leaving the crown or top open.

It was a constantly changing piece of work from the beginning of construction in 1911to Wright’s death in 1959. There are other buildings on the 600 acres. Included in our tour was the Hillside Building, which was designed by Wright and built by his aunts to house a very progressive school in 1902. It was one of the first co-ed and boarding schools. Today, the building houses the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, which was started under the name of the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932.
Along with the school there is a lovely theater that has 120 seats and offers a variety of musical performances throughout the summer.

The house, all 37,000 square feet, is an amazing piece of work. The way he framed the windows to make the outside view appear like a picture on the wall. Many of the entrances into the rooms were very low ceilings to encourage you to move toward the more open part of the room. The living room area served also as the dining room and music room. It had cosy alcoves in the room, a dining room table that sat eight people and then chairs and couches throughout the room. Dinner guest would sit there and a small table, designed by Wright, would be used between two people to hold their dinner plates and glasses. After the meal, music would be offered by a string quartet or piano music on the baby Grand piano in the corner of the room.

All of the rooms had fireplaces, considered as the “heart” of each room and a Buddha for the “spirit” of the room. Most of the walls incorporated sandstones from the area, wood and many windows. The red color from the sandstone rocks and earthy tones were used to decorate the house throughout. It also had an Asian influence in some of the rooms from his time spend in Japan in 1916-1922.

It was a great way to spend an afternoon. Frank Lloyd Wright was an very creative and innovative person. Still no word on David’s next assignment, but as soon as we know, I will write a post.

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