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Art and Beauty

Facts you may not know about Frank Lloyd Wright

By 08/08/2011January 26th, 201724 Comments

Apparently one of the biggest attractions in Wisconsin is Frank Lloyd Wrights Residence called the Taliesin Preservation in Spring Green. We arrived at 11:30 am today so we enjoyed brunch first in the Riverview Cafe where I snapped a photo of the centrepiece on each table. I loved how simple and architectural it was.

The Valley and tops of the hills as far as you could see (from the house) was owned by the Wright family.
I loved this curvy road, it reminds me of the tourist photos you see of Tuscany.

Frank Lloyd Wright practiced ‘Organic Architecture’ this is how he defined it: 
1. We should respect the Nature of the Site (use local materials to integrate the building into the landscape)
2. The needs of the Client (how much room do they need, where do they gather and how can they elevate their daily living into art)
3. Nature of Materials (people asked why he used so much plywood but it was because it was a lumberyard in Wisconsin that first added resin to it which made it bendable and strong)

He was heavily inspired by Japenese art and architecture.  All the stucco was painted to match the golden yellow/orange rock which was what the buildings were made from.

The windows were all a muted chinese red.

His mother believed that he would be a great architect before he was even born. She inspired him by filling his room with prints of cathedrals. 

Frank Lloyd Wright deliberately made the front door hard to find. This way by the time you found it, he’d know you were coming and he also wanted you to ‘experience’ the outdoor ‘rooms’ he created before you arrived at the door.

Walking in I was struck by the ‘old house smell’. It seems like all old homes have the same musty smell. I got rid of the same smell in my house with Frasier Fir reed diffusor from Thymes (it does not smell artificial or like Christmas at all–I highly recommend it.  
The house and grounds needs a lot of money for restoration. They clearly do not have enough because it really looks like it’s falling apart in so many ways.

We were not allowed to photograph the rooms inside but this one (above) is the Blue room. Our tour guide said the the comfortable furniture in the house was not designed by him but was purchased at the local Marshall Fields.

It was interesting to me that this room received the most compliments by everyone in the tour because all the pieces were in the same striking blue. Colour is always in style.

The view from the living room (above) was absolutely breathtaking. The entrance to his buildings always had very low ceilings. He was 5.6 and he believed that this was the perfect height. A very low reception space leads into a room with a high ceiling. This relationship between ‘compressed access spaces’ leading to a more generous room was his trademark.

The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright

His signature on a tile close to the front door.
I was really happy we got to see it (and I’m not usually a museum person). 
I’ll be back home tomorrow afternoon, in Minneapolis tonight and we are on a morning flight to Seattle.
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  • Jane says:

    What an interesting home! I love FLW's work…toured Falling Water many years ago and still remember it like it was yesterday. He also designed the buildings at Florida Southern Collegem in Lakeland, FL…not too far from me. This is the largest collection of FLW buildings on a single site.
    Sadly, the buildings have not weathered well. There is a major restoration project underway. Hopefully, the buildings will be saved.

  • Tamara Nicole says:

    That's so cool! I love his style, very natural. I'm proud to say his apprentice built our house!!! LOVE it:-)

  • Cherri @ SmartyPantalons says:

    We went to Taliesin on our Honeymoon, 15 years ago. It does feel like an organic part of the landscape and yet still is such an amazing surprise when you see it on the hill upon approach. I love limestone as a building material too. It has it's own smell which contributes to the mustiness.

  • Donna Frasca ♋ says:

    Interesting – I didn't know about his presence in Wisconsin. I lived about an hour away from Falling Water in PA. and was able to see that and some of his work in Sedona. Frank Lloyd Wright – America's greatest architect – at least I think so.

  • Valerie "Val" Short says:

    FLW is my all-time favorite architect! Glad you enjoyed your visit Maria. I am lucky that I only live 2 hours from Fallingwater. I have been many, many times. Each time I go, I discover something new.

  • Memoir Maven says:

    After touring Taliesin you should DEFINITELY take the time to read "Loving Frank". It was a great book that tells a lot about a gifted architect and his brilliant, yet quirky, ways.

    Glad you enjoyed it. If you ever land in PA, definitely go for the "Extended Tour" of Falling Water and "Kentuck Knob" (sp?)

  • Hi Maria, hope you are having a great summer! Thanks for the tour and info. I had to laugh about The Thymes Frasier Fir! I love that and have it in my house from November thru January. The pine sent is so authentic that I have it out during the holidays because I have an artificial tree! I am not one for scented candles and such, but this is in a league of its own. Your readers will love it if they try it. Have a great day!

  • Luciane at says:

    Very interesting post, Maria.

    You've done a great job.

    Have a blessed week, sweetie!


    Luciane at

  • Luciane at says:

    Very interesting post, Maria.

    You've done a great job.

    Have a blessed week, sweetie!


    Luciane at

  • Diane says:

    Loved reading about your experience at Taliesin and seeing your gorgeous photos — from the landscaping to the muted red windows to the materials he used and how he used them, I loved it all!

  • Melissa says:

    There is a home in Kansas City that is a Frank Lyod Wright home and we had a dinner party there a few years ago. It was so cool to see.

  • Kristie at The says:

    I visited Taliesen West in Phoenix back in February (a-mazing) and have read several biographies about FLW. Quite a character, definitely an innovator! His houses smell musty because his infamous flat roofs were always failures in terms of keeping out water – many of his homes have required $$$ to restore because of water damage. He didn't care though, and kept on building houses with flat roofs. In Taliesen West (where he lived many years), he even installed an indoor gutter system to catch the water that came through his roof!

  • traci zeller designs says:

    How wonderful to get to experience Taliesen! Thanks so much for sharing it! If you haven't read the book Loving Frank yet, you absolutely should. It is very compelling.

  • sharon says:

    OMG I cannot believe the irony of this post, because we took our oldest son (14) to see Falling Water yesterday here in Western Pa. He had done a project in school last year and was dying to see it. It was built in the 30's and was amazing how ahead of his time he was! sharon

  • From This Perch says:

    Glad you got to experience the lovely home of FLLW during your visit to Wisconsin.

    The Residence is actually called Taliesin, and is administered by Taliesin Preservation, Inc., whose mission is: " In partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Inc., based in Scottsdale, AZ, to conserve the masterful buildings and landscape of the Taliesin Estate, and to educate the public on the man, the architect, the architecture, and the ideas."

    The grounds also include the summer home of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

    The entire compound is extraordinary and well curated.

    A local Spring Green resident,
    Robin Reid

  • Greenstylemom says:

    I recently read a historical novel called Loving Frank – much of it set this location. I didn't realize you can go visit. Adding it to my to-go list.

  • Landscape Art says:

    I was there a few years ago. Loved it!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Carol,
    Hey in my house it does not smell like a Christmas Tree. Maybe it's the mixture of old house and Frasier Fir but it just makes my house smell fresh 🙂

  • dimi says:

    I've always loved his architecture! His contribution was unique! I'm so happy you shared that Maria! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • DALLIANCE says:

    He really was one of the greats! I just saw Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob near Pittsburg this summer and you really have to see it with your own eyes to understand the magnitude of the design, especially for that time. See my blog post

    The tour guide at Kentuck Knob said that when Frank was in his 70's he finally decided he should start signing his work. Hence the red stone engraved with his signature. So that must be a design from his older years. Thanks for the post!!


  • Heather says:

    Thanks for this great post! Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the Architects I most admire. I've seen a few documentaries on him, but this is all new information for me. He accomplished so much in his career that it seems like there is always more to learn.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness! I haven't stopped the blog in a while. Are you still in WI? I am in Baraboo. Was just looking at my stained trim trying to decide if I should paint it and thought I should look to see what Maria thinks about that topic again. How cool if you could just pop over in person to tell me? Have a great time in WI. The weather is wonderful this week.


  • Darcy from The I.Design Box says:

    FLW was one of the GREATS! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos. Great article. Also, if you are a FLW fan the one and only remaining FLW designed hotel is being restored and will open this fall. There is a brief article for more information at:

  • jenna marie says:

    I use the same reed diffuser by Thymes and LOVE it too. Fresh. I just saw FLW's Taliesin West this summer and loved it.

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