Auldbrass Plantation: Beaufort, South Carolina

Sign at the gate

Mr. Wright designed the Auldbrass Plantation to be a farm for raising experimental crops for growth in different climates in Europe and Africa.  The client for this plantation was an efficiency expert, so Frank Lloyd Wright's appreciation for utility in his organic architecture fit well with with his ideas.  

Front Gate

When you first arrive at Auldbrass.  You notice the red brick and red gravel driveway.  The diagonal board and batton fence also stands out.  I didn't realize how perfectly this fence fits in until I saw the rest of the buildings and noticed that the angle of the boards matches the design of the other buildings in the compound. 

Notice the diagonal board and baton?  You'll see it again soon.

The driveways are all done in red gravel with Cherokee red concrete edges.  The Spanish Moss definitely tells you that you're in the South.  

Approaching the compound of buildings.

We headed directly for the main house.  Our experience with big tours like this is that you need to go to the main attraction as early as possible.  The lines will be much longer later in the day.  We were definitely right.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes to get into the house.  People were later waiting as long as 2 hours to get in.  

Approaching the main house

The driveway leading up to the house takes you past the kitchen, its screened-in porch, and the dining room before you get to the "front" door.  The most noticeable element of the design is the copper roof.  Wright used corrugated copper for the roof much like what is traditionally found on many southern homes.  The difference is that Wright oriented the ridges in concentric, horizontal rings around the building.  This emphasizes the horizontal lines rather than the vertical.  Copper spires top many of the buildings on the grounds.  The photo above shows the spire on the porch outside the kitchen. The original roof was made with copper that was way too thin.  It was all that was available during the 1930s.  In fact, many people marveled that Wright was able to get copper for this home at all due to the need for resources to wage World War II.

View of the house from the lake.

The main house is built near the lake.  The view from the dining room and bedrooms is very beautiful.  A beautiful grove of cypress trees matches cypress wood that makes up the exterior and interior walls of the house.  Brass screws and fittings were used to hold the board and batten together.  The home and most of the buildings are built on a hexagonal grid.  Most angles are either 60 or 120 degrees.  The home is built on only one level, so all of the ceilings in the home are vaulted.  

Copper down spout

The down spouts are all done in copper hangings that are designed to emulate Spanish moss.  Many of them have had to be repaired.  In fact someone bumped into one and bent it early in the morning that we were touring.  

Door pattern around the house

Much of the house is surrounded by glass.  Many of the doors and windows have this sort of ornamental wood work around them.  In all of the cases, the woodwork is used as door or window handles for opening and closing the doors and windows.  What is interesting  about the external walls on this home is that none of them are vertical.  This gives the home a very interesting look.  All of the doors open up and out because of this.  I imagine that you could easily slam a door if you accidentally let go of it after entering or leaving.  The lack of vertical external walls makes the home really appear to be grounded on the lot. 

Kitchen and porch wing.

The kitchen is really small.  I lived in a 1920s bungalow for a few years and the kitchen in it was not much smaller than what is here in this home.  There is, however, a rather large screened in porch

Dining Room from Outside

The dining room is in a narrow wing that goes between the entry way and the kitchen.  It is glassed in on both sides.  The courtyard side has glass doors that open so that dining can be done outside.  The tables are hexagonal and can be either incorporated into the wall as you see here, or put together into one long table.  

Dining Room, Kitchen Wing

The kitchen is at the left and the dining room is to the right.  

Screened it porch at the end of the Kitchen.  

Back of Kitchen and screened porch

Back of Kitchen Windows

 

Back of Dining Room

 

Rear Patio 

These Midway Gardens tables and chairs look perfect on the rear patio.  I don't know if they are originals or Cassina replicas.  

Shuttered doors/windows at the back of the kitchen.  

These windows are on the back of the kitchen.  They almost vanish into the wall when closed, and offer good ventilation when open.  It would make working in the kitchen bearable during the hot summers.  This also gives a good view of the copper down spout and the hexagonal drip pad.  

Bedroom Windows and Patio

This patio wraps all around the bedrooms and living room. 

Patio Chair

 

Dining Room Patio Windows

This really shows how the exterior walls are inclined.  Even the doors are not vertical.  

Front Door

This woman was nice enough to allow me to take a picture of the front door, but didn't trust me enough to move out of the way.  I think she thought I was going to fling the door open and run inside and go on a rampage through the whole house.  

Livingroom from front front court yard

This is the line to get into the house for the tour.  The living room is front and center in this photo.  You get a little view of the roof here too.  It is copper, like many of the homes built at this time in the area.  Wright lined the corrugations in the copper roof around the house instead of up and over the roofs like homes designed by other architects.  There is no insulation in the roof at all.  That makes the fireplaces very important in the winter.  It sometimes gets down into the 30s at night around here, so it would be pretty chilly to get out of bed in the morning.  

Living Room and Pool

The living room is long and has a vaulted ceiling with clerestory windows high on the roof line.  The walls are cypress as are the roof boards.  There are built in benches and book cases that surround the living room.  It was interesting to see 4 Oscars sitting on the shelf.  There were also some beautiful scale models of early Ford cars.  

Another look of the living room and pool.

There is a hexagonal modular table in the living room along with a few matching chairs.  As with many Wright homes, there was a large piano in the living room.  There is a wine urn in the fireplace just like the one at Fallingwater. 

Also in the room were lots of taxidermy.  There was a moose head, tiger skin rug, mink, fox and a bobcat.  Hexagonal ottomans were arranged into a large hexagon in the middle of the room.  

Inclined walls and clerestory windows under the eaves

Close-up of the cypress clerestory windows

View of the pool from the back patio

Patio Chairs.

Patio Love Seat

Just inside the back door is an office.  It is tucked into a corner at the back of the living room.  The desk is triangular and the desk drawers open parallel to the wall rather than perpendicular to the desk front.  It is a cool design that I really wish I could show you a photo of.  

Poolside. 

Hot tub and Pool

Getting ready to dive in.

Pool side batio

 

View of Lake from below house

Stables looking towards offices

Looking at stables and dog kennels

Horse stables

Dog kennels from the end

Back of dog kennels with vents open

Ceiling light in stables

Ceiling light and stable closet doors

Stables

Stables

Outside of stables

Wood shop

Chicken Run/ Bedrooms/ Office/ Tack Room

These were originally chicken coops.  They are now a tack room, digital photography studio and guest bedrooms. 

Passageway between chicken coops

 

Back of Chicken Coops/ Bedrooms/ Offices/ Tack Room.

Looking out at Chicken Coops and court yard

Caretaker's Quarters/ Screening Room

Cat Cattle Barn and Granary

Court yard

Granary and cattle stalls

Court yard, granary and cattle stalls

 

Cattle Barn and Granary

Granary

This gives a good look at the copper roof and the way the corrugations are oriented. 

'tis good to be a Frank Lloyd Wright cow.

One of the only two-story buildings on the premises

Granary and carport for farm vehicles

Granary doors

Granary doors

Aviary

Midway Gardens Sculpture

Midway Gardens Sculpture

Her beautiful face

Guest house

9 of these were originally designed.  Two were built at the time of original construction.  These have been painstakingly rebuilt and upgraded by Mr. Silver.  He also plans to build the other 7 to complete the original plans for the site. 

Guest House

Roof of the guest house

Another view of the guest house

Windows on the guest house

Zebra

Mr. Silver likes animals.  He has a herd of Zebra, a few water buffalo, a bobcat and even the rumor of a hippo.  Though I didn't see the hippo, numerous people say that they did.  

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