Earthbound Artist

Articles tagged as Frank Lloyd Wright (view all)

Craftsman Homes on the West Coast

18 June, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

We are leaving the Vancouver area today, after having spent ten days visiting with my Mom and other relatives. Below is a photo of me with my Mom, who just turned 95, and still has an admirable zest for life in general, and major league baseball in particular.


When we visit Mom, we like to stay at Pacific Border RV Park, a full service campground with immaculate facilities, just south of White Rock, BC. It's very quiet and just a five minute drive from my Mom's apartment. Below are some photos from their web site.


Another really desirable feature of this campground is that it borders a new housing development that contains several hundred upscale homes and condos, offering lots to see during our evening exercise walks. What especially appealed to us, is that the homes use elements of Craftsman design, something that the famous American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, incorporated into many of his iconic Prairie style home plans.

The photo above shows a typical street in this housing development. Note the houses are similar but still unique in design and finish. They share a back lane that gives access to detached garages and parking pads.


All the homes featured front porches with interesting Craftsman style columns, quality front doors, and attractive colour schemes, such as on these models above.

We liked the stone and siding combination on the garage pictured above, as it gave us an idea what our house and garage will look like when we change the siding next summer. We will be using board-and-batten style blue vertical siding, rather than horizontal, but our stone wainscoting will look like this.

We plan to use a narrow border of river stone along the back of our house, similar to that shown above. It helps deter field mice from entering the house, and makes an attractive edging that is easy to look after when trimming grass.

It's amazing how square columns and linear trim features can give a house a sense of early 20th century Craftsman style, while still keeping an up-to-date look, and making use of modern materials that are easy to maintain.

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Tales of Taliesin

04 June, 2011 0 comments Leave a comment

Today we drove an hour from the campground for a two hour tour of Hillside and Taliesin, which are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. They were the summer home and architectural school of Frank Lloyd Wright during his lifetime, and the school is still in operation today. The students were preparing for an evening celebration of Wright's 144th birthday the day we were there.

We were allowed to photograph only the exteriors, some of which are shown here. The first two are of Hillside and the last three are of Taliesin.

Front Entrance of Hillside School of Architecture - the building includes a theatre and a 5,000 sq. ft. drafting studio.

The tour guide was very knowledgable (as they always are at Wright buildings) and explained Wright's true genius - his students paid tuition and were the work crew who constructed the buildings, cooked, cleaned and ran the farm. Sweet deal for Wright, eh?

Cornerstone of Hillside which reads 'F.L.L.WRIGHT ARCHITECT 1903'.

The most interesting thing I learned was that these buildings were used as a continual experimental work in progress and they were only inhabited in the summer months. In winter the household and students stayed in Taliesin West in Scotsdale, Arizona. Wright lived and worked at Taliesin from 1911 until his death in 1959.

Garden Terraces at Taliesin.

Because the buildings were experimental, exterior terraces were often converted into interior rooms (sometimes in as little as two days, to fulfil a whim of Wright's to impress a visiting dignitary), so there were no proper foundation footings. This causes major problems for the preservation of the structures today.


As in all Wright construction, these buildings use natural and local materials wherever possible, so stone and wood make up the majority of the structure. This makes the buildings blend harmoniously with the land. We were so pleased to be able to tour this remarkable testament to Wright's artistic vision.

Karen and John say farewell to Taliesin.

After our tour we drove back to downtown Deforest (a few blocks from our campground) to attend the Dragon Art Fair. Several streets were blocked off for the day for a display of arts and crafts booths and a field of classic cars. The local fire hall was celebrating its centennial so we bought hamburgers (we wanted cheeseburgers but the fireman said they ran out of cheese and John told him we could not believe Wisconsin the Dairy State was out of cheese!) and enjoyed the displays for an hour or so. The weather was really hot so we headed back to the campground for a swim in the pool.

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Frank Does Not Disappoint

03 June, 2011 2 comments Leave a comment

Our good friend Roger is an ardent admirer of the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Roger's enthusiasm has rubbed off on us. So when we travel we try to take in some of Wright's buildings that are open to the public.

We stayed three days at an excellent KOA campground in Deforest, Wisconsin so we could tour two famous buildings that Wright designed; the first being the S. C. Johnson Administration Building, pictured below.

S. C. Johnson Administration Building and Tower, Racine, WI.

Since the 35 acre campus is still in use by the Johnson company, we were not allowed to take photos anywhere inside the gates, unfortunately. But we were privileged to take a free tour of the building on the left (built in 1936) and noticed all the curvy furniture that Wright designed is still in use by the employees today. It must be amazing to work in a national historic treasure!

The natural light inside was beautifully softened by a roof of narrow clear glass tubes cemented together horizontally, supported by concrete pillars shaped like giant golf tees. The carpet and upholstery on the furniture was Wright's signature colour, Cherokee Red, which is sort of half way between dusty rose and brick red. The tower, built in 1944, is no longer in use due to modern fire codes (stairways are too narrow and there is only one exit) but the president of the company insisted the building remain intact as a monument to Wright's genius. We felt so lucky to have visited there. Thanks for the tip Roger!

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