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September 29, 2007

Some Katie Opinions

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Katie Hutchison celebrates a picket fence, but thinks that the aluminum siding has got to go. She also visits the house that Modernist hero-titan Walter Gropius designed for his own family, and gets a case of the giggles. The Wife and I reacted similarly when we toured Frank Lloyd Wright's legendary Fallingwater. I wrote about our visit here.



posted by Michael at September 29, 2007


Ah, funny you should mention Frank Lloyd Wright today (Saturday, Sept. 29). I had to go over to Oak Park, IL this afternoon for a meeting of a group I'm in at the Oak Park Library. Because of construction on Lake Street, I got diverted into a section of Oak Park I've never been in, and suddenly, completely unexpectedly, looming before me, dead ahead (because it was on the blank side of a T-intersection) was a house that was unmistakably, no doubt about it, a Frank Lloyd Wright production. It just hits you in the face. It's that obvious. Nothing else like it.

Just out of curiosity, I looked it up later. I believe what to my wondering eyes did appear was the Frank Thomas house at 210 Forest Avenue.

The thought also occurs to me -- what's it like to live in a famous house like that? A house that people probably stop in front of and take pictures every day of? I did have a glimpse of a sign in a window as I went by: NO in big letters. I didn't have a chance to stop and take a closer look, but I wonder if the sign in full said something like, "NO interviews, NO tours, NO admittance, NO photographs"...?

Meanwhile, the library I was going to is on Lake Street, just down from Wright's Unity Temple, which has been a familiar landmark to me for many years now. Those who know me are thoroughly tired of my ancient joke about the place, "It looks like they sacrifice virgins in there." Well, for a church it does have a pagan, almost Babylonian look to it.

Posted by: Dwight Decker on September 30, 2007 1:41 AM

I owned a house with vinyl siding. I guess that's not good enough for wood siding purists. But you had to look hard to tell the difference. And no maintenance, folks.

Posted by: ricpic on September 30, 2007 9:47 AM

Katie's first picture of the Gropius house exemplifies his pragmatic bent. That's a fine fire escape winding from upstairs to ground level.

Posted by: raymond pert on September 30, 2007 2:02 PM

Thanks for your link back to your take on Fallingwater. While I agree with most of what you said back then (I'd seen Fallingwater for the first time in Spring of 2002 when repairs to the major problems was just beginning) and while I agree that the low ceilings, leaks, damp conditions, and cold floors make it an ideal residence only for those furry feated short folks know as Hobbits, it still had me murmuring "Wow!".

As a residence, even say just a full summer's stay, it's absolutely lousy. As a place I'd love to spend a full 3 Day Weekend in (without the visiting tourists, of course)? Put me on the waiting list. I'll bring along a bushel of sweaters to handle the stone-castle-like dampness and a hockey helmet to handle Wright's vengefully low ceilings.

Posted by: DarkoV on September 30, 2007 2:30 PM

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