Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Chicago - part 2

On Sunday we got on the El to Oak Park.  It's somewhere I've wanted to visit every time we've visited Chicago, but we've just never gotten round to it.  My main reason originally was that my favourite film as a teen (Adventures in Babysitting - or Night on the Town in the US) the main characters were from Oak Park.

Anyhoo, nowadays it's because of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I've loved his architecture for years after being introduced to his work in the early 90's with the Guggenheim in NY.

When we got to Oak Park it was a typical Autumn day, cold & dry, but with that slightly coloured-ness to the sky. To get to the Home & Studio we ended up walking down a beautiful street which ended up being on the tour.  I couldn't help but take some photos of some beautiful Victorian houses (not FLW)...

We got there just in time for the Home & Studio Tour & after hearing all the "what not to do" we set off.  The Home & Studio are basically a museum - so NO photos and NO touching anything.  This makes perfect sense & totally understandable, especially when you see the amazing oak in the house (which will darken with touching) & all the original detailing.  Of course, as ever, there was one man in the group who continually waited til the docent left the room & took photos with his phone (some people just think the rules don't apply to them!).

detail on the outside of his studio
Both the home and studio were beautiful and I would really recommend seeing them if you are near the area.  We bought the on-offer book as we didn't have photos of the inside.

This is the side of the Studio & the smelly Ginko tree...

We then were off on our guided tour of the FLW houses in the neighbourhood.  Some were ones he'd just remodeled, others were completely his.  We had a great docent Gabriella, who actually used to own a FLW home & knew most of the people in the neighbourhood & greeted them as we went round:

this one was built for a successful lawyer

such great detail
and this one next door he had FLW build for his daughter, as a wedding gift - some gift!

I think this one was my favourite - love the shape & the colour of the brick:

another great house with amazing windows

Something funny happened whilst we were discussing this next great house below, a lady reading something appeared from the back of the house & started walking towards the road reading. Gabriella thought she was a tourist - apparently anyone who owns a FLW house has problems with people trespassing & thinking they can go where ever they like (even inside!!!) - I mean, I feel somewhat intrusive just taking photos of the outside from the street! 

So Gabriella told this lady she was trespassing, but the lady didn't appear to hear her, so she repeated herself a couple of times, until ... she realised it was the owner!!! They had a giggle about it, but at least the owner is aware that someone is looking after her beautiful home.

this is the smallest of all the FLW houses, it is literally shoe-horned into a small lot (with no garden to speak of), but shows FLW's style becoming more like Fallingwater

this houses' porch was made so that you could step out of your coach straight onto it (on the left of the house)

These last houses are by FLW's comtemporary architects and are also beautiful...
these next two were built for brothers

you can see FLW's influence on others in the windows around & above the door

Oak Park was full of squirrels, this guy was having a great meal of pumpkin

It was a wonderful day in the suburbs. x


  1. all those houses are so amazing! i wish we went there when we went to chicago. that house he built for this daughter is so beautiful! i also love that brick house! did they say anything about the condition of the houses? his work tended to be a little shoty...a lot of the houses had to be remolded or fixed.

    glad you had fun and thanks for taking as mane pictures as you could :)


  2. it was sooo worth the visit, what a beautiful neighbourhood. I could have taken soooo many more pics :)

    I think for the most part the houses we saw are in good condition (from what you coulld see), but the docent (who had owned one) said it is a fairly constant repair-job! As you say it was aesthetics first I think (certainly no double glazing!!) xxoxox

  3. oh i am in LOVE with this post. i have read it and reread it and read it again. i have even book marked it. I am just in awe of these gorgeous homes and can only imagine the history in them. i am dying to go see the inside of the museum!!! Have you ever read the book Loving Frank? It is all about Frank and his mistress. Such a great book. Check it out if you get the chance! ;)gina

  4. thanks Gina :) & I will thanks xox


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