Return to Fallingwater

FWFallsI went back to Fallingwater, as I had promised myself, but this time I took my sweetie. I had the same reaction as the first time, I was moved by all of its beauty–a feeling of profound wellbeing settled in. Fallingwater feels like home. Home. Looking through Merriam Webster’s definitions, the snippets that resonate with me are about being “at home”: “relaxed and comfortable: at ease,” “in harmony with the surroundings,” and “on familiar ground.” This is actually a big deal for me–over the course of my family’s migrations through space and time, all my childhood places, all the spaces where I felt “at home,” have been shed. I cannot go back. I cannot go home. Imagine my surprise, delight and relief, stumbling into Fallingwater and feeling like I have found my place in the world, one more time. Could Frank Lloyd Wright hear my future yearning across the decades? (Yes, this notion is a touch pompous, but emotionally very real.)

FWLivingOr perhaps my yearning is a common one. A yearning for a well-organized, well thought-out space–a space in communion with nature, a space that lets you live among the trees and streams, with seamless movement between the inside and the outside of the home. In some sense, Fallingwater reminds me of my french grandmother Nicole who recently passed. Fallingwater was designed with an appreciation for its setting, with a love of the woods. Fallingwater creates a state of rest. It’s majestic, but it invites relaxation. It would be a great space for a nap. There is both a great amount of light and real privacy. I love the colors, the materials, the shape, the spaces at Fallingwater.

FWHearthI think what continues to surprise me about this house is that it is so special and beautiful both as viewed from the outside, and as viewed from the inside. I knew I loved the exterior long before my first visit, but I did not expect to be so enchanted with its interior. For that, I owe a great debt to the Kauffman family, for having the foresight to gift the home intact to the Conservancy–as a visitor, I can experience the house as a home–with all its art, furnishings and fabrics. All the period books. I can easily imagine spending a whole day in the house. And my honey was there too. What more could I ask for?

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2 thoughts on “Return to Fallingwater

  1. I fell in love with Falling Waters too. I was entranced by the setting and the ‘interplay’ between the house (open wide windows so the inside is outside is inside—to say nothing of the creek running through the house) and the outside. it seemed so calm/tranquil….

    however the house, for me, felt like a stage setting. not a homey place. every item in the house was dictated by Wright. every pillow, every dish, etc. I wondered, while I was there, what I’d do ‘to personalize it’ if I lived there. a more comfy reading spot, my pillows, bed linens, pictures, art, etc. from what I understood about wright he was autocratic: if he designed your house you MUST NOT INTERFER and you couldn’t personalize. it was HIS WAY only.

    however the deeper vibe of the house (for me) was the sadness in it. I read more about the house and the owners and they were definitely very unhappy people in an unhappy marriage.

    so while I enjoyed seeing the house and was very moved by it, I would not want to live there. visit is good, and a ‘house in the woods’ would be great. but not this one…….it felt haunted buy the sadness of the family and the rigidity of Wright…..

    • Dear Debby, I certainly have mixed feelings bonding so passionately with a piece of architecture, knowing the creator was at best an inspired narcissist. I think this is a frequent dilemma in art–what do we make of creators whose work we love, whose personal life or interpersonal style we may have issue with–the way I’m currently tackling this is to visit the work, and appreciate the work, but maybe avoid reading the autobiography (I couldn’t stand the tone when I paged through it). As to sad family stories. I don’t mind those.

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