Sunday, July 31, 2011

Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House

On the way up to Montreal a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I took a detour through Manchester, NH, to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House.

Built in 1950, the house is small by today's standards, and from the front lawn, it's not particularly attractive. But the interior is a mid-century marvel, and hearing about Wright's process brings into focus why this man was a true architectural genius.

The Zimmerman House was built in the Usonian style, a term Wright adopted to describe the one-floor dwellings he built across the U.S. at the time for the "middle class." The Zimmerman House, however, ended up costing far more than the average home at the time, due to several redesigns.

The idea was to keep costs down by eliminating basements, attics and garages, building the homes directly on concrete slabs fitted with piping for radiant heat. To make up for the small size of homes, living spaces were open, with plenty of natural light and harmony with the surrounding environment. Our tour guide mentioned that Usonian homes were also built for privacy, which explains the tiny square windows at the front of the house.

Most light in the house came through skylights and the floor-to-ceiling windows at the back, which brought the outdoors in.

The open space on the right looks into a carport, which the Zimmerman's used in place of a garage. Wright designed the carport so that Mrs. Zimmerman, a nurse, could view her gardens when she arrived home from work each day.

Now for some blurry interior shots. Photography inside the house wasn't allowed, but as we already know, Avi and his iPhone don't play by the rules.

The most amazing thing to me was the harmony of the interior. Wright designed everything from the furniture to the table linens and even commissioned the dishware. Chairs and tables throughout the home are the same height...

...and patterns turn up everywhere. Remember those tiny windows? There are two to every banquette cushion, and each cushion mimics the size of the floor tiles, which match up with the pattern of the floor-to-ceiling window frames.

Wright even designed the mailbox. The thought that went into every detail is just insane.

Have you ever been to a Frank Lloyd Wright house? I'm dying to see Fallingwater one day.


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