For many bungalow lovers, a dream home might be one of the charming and nicely-detailed kit houses that were available from the Sears catalog throughout the bungalow era. And if you asked these same people to name their favorite architect, I bet many would say Frank Lloyd Wright— a man who surely abhorred the idea of a mail-order home and the traditional forms of bungalow architecture.
Yet, despite their marked differences, Wright and the bungalow share an aesthetic of simplicity and informality that draws inspiration from nature. At least, that’s why this bungalow fan also loves Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. It was a true delight, then, that my summer vacation plans took our family to Spring Green, Wisconsin, Wright’s hometown and the location of his home and studio, Taliesin.
Guests to Taliesin aren’t allowed to take photos inside the buildings, but here some images of the building exteriors and grounds I took on our 2-hour highlights tour. I’ve also created an album with all of my Taliesin photos.
One of the most remarkable details I took away from my tour of Taliesin is how Wright used his own home as a laboratory for new ideas. He would design additions or re-do rooms, and then have his resident architecture students– more skilled with a ruler and pencil than hammer and chisel– do the building. With what the tour guides openly confessed as shoddy student construction in many places, Taliesin is full of genius-grade remuddling. Now preservationists at Taliesin are raising funds and performing work to repair and stabilize a structure that Wright himself continually changed and didn’t build to last.
That really puts my maintenance and restoration projects here at Bungalow ’23 in perspective: I loved visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, but I’m so glad it isn’t mine.