Not last week, but the week before (yeah, what? are you surprised?) was the Week of Jake. He turned 30 and graduated with a Masters in Architecture in the span of 3 days. There was lots of friends, family.....and dealing with the meatballs howling for "WINNNEEEE" from a kayak in the middle of the Potomac. While I am not technically part of Alicia and Jake's marriage, I seem to have wormed myself into all that weekend's festivities, at least during the daylight hours. Where am I going with this? Let's move on.
Yep, so on Sunday (morning. Early. Everything was early and late that weekend. Let me tell you, my delicate-as-a-flower sleep patterns were SO upset with me) we took a pilgrimage to see fallingwater to round out the weekend in the most erudite way possible. I've wanted to visit that place since I was in Professor Dreiss' Modern Architecture class and he spoke about it like it was Mecca. A spiritual, magical place that changed your entire perspective on homes and design forever. And I mean, I thought sure man, I feel that. Lemme go see it. This was during the phase when we called Dreiss "Dreissus" (is that as embarrassing to you as it is to me, Danielle?) because we thought he was so smart. He is so smart, but c'mon. Cringe.
So it took me like 8 years but I finally went and saw it. And here's the thing about it. It IS exactly spiritual and magical. And this is coming from a girl who is neither of those two things (or, like, believe in either of them). But, wow. The first thing about it is that you're just walking down this garden-y gravel path, up this hill waiting to see it and then as soon as you reach the top you do two things: 1) immediately hear the falls and 2) see that cantilevered beauty sticking straight out of the side of a mountain. Literally. It is sticking straight out of a mountain. It's not real! Except..it's real. There it is!
Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW from now on, fools), really is a motherf- genius. It is actually unbelievable - not to be believed - that fallingwater - every single part of it - came from this man's brains. Just right out of his head! HOW? FLW was a control freak of the highest order and while his clients (you can read about the history of the house here), did have some input (like...they demanded screens be put in all the windows because bugs), it was basically all him. And that's how the Kaufmann's wanted it, you know? You hire someone like FLW for his vision, not yours. Alicia and I were talking about that on the way home - is that still a thing? Entrusting an architect with a creative vision as well as a functional one? I haven't had many homes built lately but the whole process of FLW creating this weekend home (can you even believe it was a WEEKEND HOME? They didn't even live there full-time!) but there's something romantic and old school in the kind of client-artist relationship that they all had.
Yeah, so the house. It's serene and calming, sure, but there's also this incredible reverence floating amongst the treetops that settles down over you once you step onto the property, like even the birds are whisper-tweeting. It's gorgeous, god - breathtakingly so - and super luxe in the most natural, unassuming and simple way. Like, you definitely want to throw some serious parties in this house but you also really want to wake up next to your love and read in bed all day.
The thing I loved and that I hope to copy in my own life (at least to some extent) -- There's no excess. Every single doorknob, pillow, rug, chair and book has a place and a purpose. Even the pottery and photographs seem indigenous to their specific places on the mantle. Most major furniture pieces are built-in. There's no redecorating at fallingwater. Let me tell you though, you'd be out of your mind if you ever even tried. The interior furnishings of this place would make Don Draper sink to his knees and weep. It's all low profile, burnt orange and deep yellow. Shaggy rugs and patterned pillows and a perfectly fun buttercup yellow 1950's kitchen. It's a serious place - architecture with a capital A - but FLW also made it a livable, real space. It's not a museum (well, except it is) but it's also not kitchy. It's a perfect balance of sexy and cool, natural and fun.
FLW really gave a crap about how a home made you feel - how every element and aspect did something to you emotionally. He said that hallways weren't for humans to linger in. Which I get. I reckon I don't do much hallway lingering since I've graduated high school (in high school though, hallway lingering is a damn competition sport)(I won). So he ensured that all his hallways in fallingwater were just slightly too narrow, too dark, too uninviting. Then, when you step into one of the various light-drenched rooms to the sound of the water falls (that's real, that's what happens when you step into the rooms), you feel a huge sense of relief. Compression, expansion. He's so good at understanding human emotion and manipulating it without you even realizing you're being manipulated.
Anyway, so that was my spiritual journey. It was fun, too, and funny. Story time: we were with an obnoxiously loud group during our tour - they kept talking over the guide and wandering around where they weren't supposed to wander and touching things they DEFINITELY were not supposed to be touching and taking photos where they weren't supposed to be taking photos and, well, karma really gave it back to em when one of the women walked full-body into a glass door. We were walking through a pair of glass double doors of which only one was open. She chose to walk through the closed one. I lost my mind, she lost her dignity. Fair trade.