Once upon a time when Henry was wee, we finally got around to seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House in Virginia. The house sits on the grounds of Woodlawn, a Georgian/Federal house designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol, for George Washington’s nephew. So if you make the trip, you can get your architectural fix with two very different styles on the same day.
Of course, I knew who Frank Lloyd Wright was. He could be the only actual architect I can name. But I couldn’t tell you tons about his style or his work. We toured one of his rooms at the Met, but this was my first time inside an actual Wright building.
It was certainly the first time I heard of Usonian homes. These were homes Wright designed to be simple and affordable for all, although it didn’t really work out that way.
On our Pope-Leighey tour, I was blown away. The home was simple, but unique. You could tell that a lot of design went into the house. (I’m a fan.) All the way down to details like the kitchen cabinet doors opening a certain way so that guests couldn’t see inside. The house features beautiful wood and other natural materials.
Wright designed all the furniture. The result was modular furniture that could be configured in various ways. This cut down on the amount of stuff you would need.
This was a good feature because there is no wasted space in this house. There is limited storage. You have built in space for clothes. Just not a lot of clothes. This house would force you to live intentionally. You would have to limit yourself to things you only truly needed and loved.
I was sold. I would have moved in immediately. I think I had been moving that way, but this house really kicked my inclinations on minimalism and simplicity into overdrive. The idea of living like this house was an inspiration as we pared down for the move overseas.
A few months back, I decided to watch a few episodes of Bones. This is not a show in the regular rotation. It is also a rare show that I watch without James. I guess I just felt like couch potatoing.
When I saw their new house on the show, I felt it again. I was blown away by this house. I immediately started googling for more pics.
The house is decidedly midcentury modern. And I love it. I love the openness. I love the glassed off atrium area. I love the clean lines. I love the texture of the wood. I love the way they have it styled.
Part of me is surprised that I love it. I thought I liked more traditional styles. But then I started doing things like buying knock off Louis XVI ghost chairs. It forced me to reconsider my previous assumptions. I like modern. Huh.
But that is one of the most fun things about being an adult after all. Figuring out what you like. And then liking what you like.
Do you have a favorite style? Can you name two architects? Have you visited the Pope-Leighey house? I’d definitely recommend if you find yourself in NOVA. I’d like to put together some more Wright pilgrimages myself. Did you know kids under 6 can’t tour Fallingwater?