Thursday, September 1, 2016

Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighy House

Between our vacation and all the construction going on at our house, you might have noticed that we've been spending A LOT of time out of the house this summer. The kids love to explore, but they are getting tired of museums and run-of-the-mill field trips. And so am I. So I was excited when I found out that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright home not too far away.

I was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois—the same town where FLW lived and worked for much of his controversial life. He designed and built 25 homes there, including his own home with his first wife and his studio. Needless to say, learning about the architect was incorporated into much of my childhood. And despite his personal life, I've remained interested in him as an adult. A few years ago, we read Blue Balliet's "The Wright 3," a mystery about several kids in Chicago living next to a FLW home, and Kane became really interested in his architecture (and pentominoes—we have this set). So on a holiday visit home, we took the kids on a tour of The Robie House (the home featured in the book).

I have been to many of his homes and buildings, but the Pope-Leighy House in Falls Church, VA is definitely one of my favorites. One of his Usonian Homes, FLW designed it to be affordable for members of the middle class. It's nestled so perfectly in the woods (not it's original site, but it feels like it) and although it's small in scope, it seems like the absolute perfect size to keep a family spending family time together. And I love the incorporation of the outside in, including the raised herb garden outside the kitchen window (just reach outside!).

I typically favor less ornamental, mid-century modern design (think those who were trained and influenced by but came after FLW), but this whole home just seemed so, well, homey. It glowed with light inside and I could have stayed in the library all day. And Kane discovered the sets of Froebel Gift blocks in the children's bedroom (Wright played with similar sets when he was young) and didn't want to leave (they are SO pricey, but I put them on his wish list perhaps as a cumulative celebratory gift).

We took a great free tour with a super knowledgable guide who involved the kids and answered all their questions. If you're at all interested in getting your kiddos out and about to explore something different, I highly recommend!

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