Bear Run, Pennsylvania: March 23,
finally had the opportunity to take an in-depth tour of Fallingwater.
This was a fantastic opportunity to not only spend a lot of time in the
home, but also to photograph the interior.
Laura, our guide, had an amazing amount of information about Wright, the
Kaufmans and the home that she’d collected over her 8 years of leading tours.
She was very patient as we walked through the house, photographing and
poking around in every corner of every room. We
spent almost 2 ½ hours inside Fallingwater and got to see many things that
I’d never seen before. In
addition, she gave a great talk on the restoration and renovation work that has
been underway over the last few years at Fallingwater.
I’m happy to report that the work is nearing completion. The house looks great. I’ll
let you see that for yourself.
tour started in the kitchen. All of
the original furnishings were kept in the kitchen.
They even brought back an old coal-burning stove that was used in the
house many years ago (the electric range had been moved to the basement).
The steel cabinets were the originals that were picked out by the
Kaufmans when the home was built. The
original Wright table was in the middle of the room.
servants had a beautiful sitting room in which to relax in their spare time.
Immediately behind the kitchen, this sitting room had a fantastic view
out over the falls and featured the same mitered glass corners that eliminate
the corners in the rest of the home.
with lots of basement junk
basement had bare stone walls and was definitely a utility room.
It contained a boiler room, storage room, locker space for servants as
well as a small bathroom. It was
rustic and dark, though quite functional. It
contained the electric stove that was used when the Kaufman’s stopped using
the home in the 1960s as well as a lot of other stuff that Wright probably would
have disapproved of storing there.
Living room from entryway
Living room fish-eye from far terrace door
Living room from behind the desk
Telescoping window/door that leads to Bear Run
Fish-eye shot of living room from south-east corner
Fish-eye of living room from entryway.
Me in the living room.
Looking out onto the 1st floor terrace
Living room from Kitchen door
Looking out towards 1st floor terrace
stairs leading down to the waterfall had been poured a few days earlier and were
still in need of paint. Once
the concrete had cured, they were scheduled to be painted to match the rest of
the house. It is very nice to see
them again at all; since they’d been covered the last time I visited.
Looking down to Bear Run
main terrace off of the living room had been completely renovated, along with
the floors inside the living room. The
terrace had never been level. When
the first level of cantilever had been built, the contractor had made it square
and level. Thus when the supports
were removed, the terrace sagged a little.
The terrace had been designed to hold its own weight.
However it was recently discovered that the terrace was actually holding
much of the second floors weight too. This
helped it to sag a bit more. At its
worst, the terrace had sagged 7 or 8 inches from its original angle.
cables were anchored and put under tension to help hold the additional weight
and eliminate the sag. Laura showed
us a model that showed how the structural enhancements were done as well as
samples of the anchors and cables.
side looks much better without all the supports
guest bedroom is as beautiful as ever. I
think it would be amazing to wake up in a place like this with a Tiffany lamp on
the desk and a Diego Rivera over your head.
The real masterpiece is the building in which the guest room resides.
bedroom and view
Master Bedroom (otherwise known as Mrs. Kaufman’s room) is beautifully
decorated and has many touches that the Kaufmans brought to the home.
There is an extremely old Madonna and child on a shelf in the room, as
well as other beautiful artwork on the walls.
One of the interesting things that our guide, Laura, brought up was in
the bathroom. The toilets are very
low. The seats only stand 10”
from the floor. According to the
Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman, this was a more healthy position from which to relieve
Fish-eye of Master Bedroom
terrace outside the master bedroom was still in the process of being renovated.
The main stones were taken up and the contractors were working on the
waterproofing of the floor.
the hall from Mrs. Kaufman’s room is Mr. Kaufman’s bedroom and study.
He often worked late into the night and rather than wake his wife, he’d
crawl into a small bed that was in his office.
Mr Kaufman's Room
lighting in Mr. Kaufman's room
windows next to Mr. Kaufman’s desk gave him a great view over the waterfall
and the forest below. All of the
corner windows open out and have no corner support so as to give a better view
and a more open feel to the room. Yet
another example of how Wright liked to eliminate the box.
The terrace outside Mr. Kaufman’s room is still deep in the process of being restored. Kevlar wires are being added to the lower structure of the floor to increase the tension and thus hold the terrace up so that it won’t sag as the years go by.
off of Mr. Kaufman's Room
detail of the home is beautiful…. Even the staircases.
then went up to the third floor to look at Edgar Jr.’s room. Wright had originally designed his space to be used as a
bedroom and library. Once he’d
started living in this space, he decided to move his bed down the hall to a
little nook at the end of the hall. This
space was perfect for an early riser since it let in the morning sun.
Jr’s desk looked a lot like his father’s.
terrace off the side of Jr’s room gave a great view of the hillside.
main house was completed in the fall of 1938.
In early spring of 1939, construction on the guesthouse was begun.
It was completed by late summer of 1939.
One of the great things about the guesthouse is that, though it is
connected to the main house by an outdoor walkway, it has very good privacy
provided in such a way that the view is not compromised.
Walk from main house to guesthouse
swimming pool is very nice looking too… though it would be a bit chilly to dip
into on an early spring morning.
guest bedroom is beautifully appointed.
furnishings contain this Mies van der Rohe cantilever chair (painted Cherokee
red) and a William Morris Arts and Crafts chair.
van der Rohe Chair to the right
guest living room provides not only a comfortable living space, but also room
for more people to sleep, if needed.
Guest Living room
from the Guesthouse
got to tour the servants’ quarters that are a part of the guesthouse.
These are upstairs from the carport.
There are two single bedrooms and a double.
Back servant's room. Now used as an office
Servant's quarters used as office space
the stairs in the servants’ quarters are beautifully crafted.
new additions are being added to Fallingwater in the year to come.
Even though their water source is possibly one of the cleanest in the
country, state regulations are requiring them to get rid of their sand
filtration system in order to install a more modern water treatment facility.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (owners and care-takers of
Fallingwater) are going to install a zero discharge, ecologically friendly water
treatment facility in the next year.
Another outside photo enjoying the removal of the supports
love this vantage point. It shows how drastic the cantilevers are.
can’t thank our guide, Laura, enough for the time that she spent with us.
She was patient while some of us lagged behind taking photos.
She didn’t mind me being a “know-it-all” from time to time.
I learned a lot on her tour and I hope I was able to add a little without
being a nuisance.
also send out many thanks to Donna, the membership coordinator for the
conversation we had and her addition to the tour.
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