This past weekend, my Dad and I drove five and a half hours from NYC to Pennsylvania to visit Falling Water, the famous house by genius American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This house and I have a long and loving history. When I was very little, I would curl up with one of my father's heavy bound architecture books (my Dad is a pretty cool dude who loves fashion and design- I'm lucky that this stuff was just lying around) and flick through the pictures. I always came back to Falling Water. Just looking at the photographs I could hear the waterfall and feel the close embrace of the rustling woodland setting. How could the house just sit on the rocks like that? Just how did Wright have the vision to place such a contemporary structure in nature so seamlessly? Did the people who live there get distracted by the sound of the water and need to go to the bathroom a lot? All of these questions were mine.
Arriving at the house early on Saturday morning, we were in heaven with how beautiful and Autumnal the grounds looked. All horizons as far as the eye could see were rustling with ochre and russet and vibrant crimson. Leaves kept falling, magic and too-slow in the heavy air, ready to land gently on heads and hands. The air smelled damp and cool.
It had rained on and off that morning, so we were stoked to see that the Falling Water tours provide umbrellas for visitors (all in a chic, environment-complimenting green, obvs). This is the geekiest photo of me ever taken below but I love it. Look how excited I am.
Oh, sigh, that Fall foliage. Suddenly we caught a glimpse of the side of the house. Which obviously called for an excitable photo with my majorly embarrassing selfie stick (a PR gave it to me, I didn't actually buy it, so it's okay. This is how I justify myself. Denial aint a river in Egypt etc and so forth).
Behold, the happiest nerds ever!
And then, turning a corner, there she was.
Nothing can really prepare you for how incredible Falling Water is in real life (I took a little video, here, if you'd like to see). It's so rare to see a structure that looks so magically organic, as if it was always there. It enhances the landscape, rather than encroaching on it- as if the birds and the butterflies woke up one morning and it was there, and everyone just got on with their day. Except that all the days after that were more beautiful. By the way, you can and you should learn more about the Kaufman family, who commissioned the house, as well as see some amazing photos of the interiors here (sadly no photos are allowed inside, but trust me, such inspo- incredible Beni Ourain rugs, custom mid century furniture and a casual Picasso or two, among other marvellous things).
My dad and I both agreed we've got three more visits to make as the seasons change (can you imagine the house snow-capped and the waterfall frozen? Wow). The closest city to Falling Water is Pittsburgh, though that's still an hour drive away-FW, hard to get nymphette that it is, is kindof in the middle of nowhere. In case you're wondering, we stayed at The Holiday Inn in the town of Donegal, PA, which, at a 30 minute drive away, was one of the closest places to stay near the house. The hotel was filled with a vast amount of bizarre taxidermy ("meet me by the mountain lion at 8am" said my dad, cheerfully). The receptionists have wonderfully huge hair, elevator music is playing on outdoor speakers as you enter the lobby and you are asked if you would like a cookie at check in. It's totally Twin Peaks but in a rather nice way. Also comfy beds and good clean bathtubs (I can't deal with a tub-less hotel room). Let's not talk about the crazy swingers next door who woke me up at 3:30am with their joyful shag whoops (Pennsylvania wife-swappers, THIS IS YOUR PLACE, you horny taxidermy enthusiasts- Zagat guides, take note). The only other additional drawback to staying in Donegal was that we had to frantically Yelp (not a verb, whatever) "wine" to find it (thankfully only a 15 minute drive away at this totally nice bar/restaurant where we also had dinner).
Anyway, until next time, Falling Water, you beautiful exquisite thing, you. My seven-year-old self knew, even then, that you would be worth the wait.