Wanderings: Des Moines, Iowa |Day 2|

The second day of our trip the first thing we did was check out some vintage stores near our hotel. We went into a vintage costume rental store that was kinda fun to look at and then checked out a vintage/antique store across the street. The vintage/antique store had a lot of cool stuff from a variety of eras.

Heywood Wakefield dresser, swoon
Cathrineholm fondue set that was too expensive for moi.
this old pool hall ball rack was pretty cool
Cool signs and glove display hands.
Barbie and Bakelite
This french bulldog statue was super cute
Scary or cool? you decide
The Rocket shaped candy/toy dispenser was pretty awesome.
What up Ronald?

The best part for me was that the whole upstairs of the shop was a Mid Century Modern wonderland. Ugh I just wanted to take everything in that room. The store was nice but the prices were a bit high. My mom ended up buying a cool Mexican necklace but that was about it.

Mod/Atomic chair
Eames chairs and other mid century delights
Cool ball chair ( I so want an egg/ball chair you have no idea) and to the left are those cool planter chairs that i’m also obsessed with.
Heywood Wakefield table and chairs as well as part of a Barcelona chair
If you look on the top right of this photo those orange and yellow sphere things are cool retro pool floats. One is a chair and  the other a floating table thing. So cool.

After the vintage shops we went to the Des Moines botanical garden which was just ok aside from the very cool water lilies they had in their water garden, they were definitely the highlight of the gardens. Our favorites were the big round ones that kind of looked like trays. But it was also cool to see the others as well, some of them had shower head like stigma ( I think that’s the right word) which was kinda freaky but also pretty cool.

these were our favorites. Someone should totally make a tray that looks like that it would be so awesome.

After the botanical garden we went to the Robert D. Ray Chinese Gardens. The gardens were built by a Chinese immigrant association to honor a longtime Iowa governor, Robert D. Ray, who did a lot to help bring different immigrant and refugee groups to Iowa. The building and gardens were beautiful as was the skyline and scenery around it.

I also went a bit on a the modern arch bridge you can see in the Chinese garden pictures. It split into two and got wider in the middle and then re-connects on both ends. It was nice bridge with a pretty view.

We checked out some thrift stores later on that day but we didn’t find anything good and the prices there were also pretty high. After two stores we didn’t really have the motivation to check any others out. But if you’re a Des Moines-ian and you are a vintage collector/thrifter let me know where you go, I’m curious.

After the thrifts we were pretty much beat  so we had dinner and  didn’t do much of anything else that day.

Wanderings: Des Moines, Iowa |Day 1|

A few weeks back my mom and I played with the idea of going to Des Moines, IA for a few days. Not to see anything in particular or do anything special, it was just a fairly close ( 3ish hour) drive away and might be a fun mini road trip. We didn’t end up going then but a few weeks ago we had the same three days off and decided to give it a go and make our way down to Des Moines.

It turns out Des Moines does have some cool stuff to see and is a pretty cute city. When we first arrived we drove around downtown Des Moines and happened upon the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. So we decided to go and check it out, it turned out to be one of my favorite stops. The art is really cool and if you’re an instagram/snapchat whore like myself, it gives you plenty of cool subjects for photos.

White Ghost by Yoshitomo Nara

Untitled (three dancing figure, version 3) by Keith Haring

Nomade by Jaume Plensa

We then headed towards the state capitol building that we had passed on the way in to town. The building was pretty cool and has a killer view of the Des Moines skyline.

Next to the capitol were a couple of memorials. The tall one was a memorial to the Iowans who fought in the civil war.

The back here remembers the work of the Iowan women during the war.

When I finally got to the front of the monument I noticed something a bit odd…

Ok so I’m not exactly sure about the pose of this lovely lady, she’s definitely feeling herself if you get my drift. So that was a bit odd but still a very nice memorial.

Next to that monument was another smaller memorial for a senator that served Iowa for a long time.

After exploring downtown Des Moines for a while we were starving and decided to find a place to eat and a good hotel.

Architecual Excellence: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southern Florida College pt. 1

A little over a year ago my mom and I went on a little vacation to Florida to escape the (incredibly) long 2013 winter ( it snowed here in May last year, MAY!). You can see my first post here of our time in the Florida Keys. We also spent time in Disney world/ Universal Studios but i’ll probably only ever show bits and pieces of those pics. Anyway the main reason we went to Florida was to go on a tour of Florida Southern College that has some Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings. We also saw some cool Sarasota style mid century ( and one newer) homes, another post with those is coming soon. Anyway here’s a look at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings from Southern Florida College.

 Thad Buckner Building

The first building we went into was the Thad Buckner Building. Originally it was a library and reading room but now it’s used as a Florida Southern College’s Frank Lloyd Wright visitor center. It’s a very cool semi-circular building that has a gift shop and showcases some of the original Frank Lloyd Wright furniture.

Wright was a strong believer in designing buildings that fit the surrounding landscape. So many of his houses in warmer climates use materials that fit their surroundings like sand etc. Some of the housese he built in Califorina, which are also some of my favorites, have a similar look.

 Usonian Reproduction

Wright had plans to build his famous Usonian houses around the campus for Professor housing etc. Usonian houses were Wright’s idea of the middle class affordable home. None were actually completed on the campus (if I remember correctly) but the plans were left there so the college decided to try and construct a usonian using Frank Lloyd Wrights plans and trying their best (with lots of trial and error) to reconstruct his molds and materials. When I went it was still unfinished, but having looked at the college’s website recently it looks as if it’s now finished.

Lucius Pond Ordway Building

 I didn’t get a photo of the outside of this building, but I believe it now serves as a theater arts building and is home to Wright’s theater in the round. The acoustics in the theater are very impressive and as always it’s painted in Wrights favorite Cherokee red. 

Polk County Science Building

There is a Wright designed planetarium in the science building.

A hallway inside the building. Isn’t that swan cool? I want one.

You’ll see a bunch of photo’s of these covered walkways, they’re called esplanades and are also Wright designed. I took a bunch of photos of them as they run across a majority of the campus and beacuse…

 Their joints form a ” Z”! Yes that was exciting for me, don’t judge. When you have a name that starts with a not so popular letter you take what you can get. Plus I mean it’s pretty cool. In the background you can see a little of a non- Frank Lloyd Wright building on campus. I will admit it was a bit odd to see brick buildings among the very distinctive Wright designed ones.

Those are all the photo’s I’ll share for this post but be I’ll be sure to post the rest of the pictures, which include my favorite building on FSC’s campus, in a few days.

Mississippi Roadtrip: Memphis pt. 3 The Lorraine

      Although we literally only spent one day in Memphis we knew we had to make a trip to the civil rights museum as well. The Civil Right museum is built in and around the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Unfortunately most of the museum was under construction (another reason to come back to Memphis in the future!), but the Martin Luther King Jr. part was open. The museum starts across the street in a building that was a boarding house and was the place where James Earl Ray stayed and later shot Dr. King from. The tour is long and has a step by step account of the two men up and around the time before and after the assassination, It’s fascinating stuff. You can even see what the room James Earl Ray stayed in looked like and the window he shot Dr. King from. You can also see into the room that Dr. King was staying in. There is a lot more to the museum that, unfortunately, we didn’t get to see (as it was under construction) but I definitely want to go back and see the whole museum, the construction should be done in the beginning of 2014. If you’re in or around Memphis this is definitely an important stop you should add to your itinerary.

Parts preserved of the boarding house James Earl Ray stayed in and assassinated Dr. King from:

The room (i think) where Jamel Earl Ray stayed

The Bathroom window where he took aim and killed Dr. King

View of the Lorraine Motel from the boardinghouse bathroom window

Another view of the Lorraine from inside the museum

a snip of the inside of the museum

The Lorraine Motel:

view of the boarding house from the balcony of Dr. Kings hotel room

The Room Dr. King was staying in before his death

As you can see they were also doing construction on the facade of the motel. You could see inside room 306 but I was not able to get a good picture of it. The museum was moving and I definitely learned a lot about Dr. King’s assassination.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make it back to Memphis soon and see the whole museum.

Mississippi Road Trip Memphis pt. 2 Graceland: All the rest

Graceland is way more than just a house. After you tour the actual home there are several building on the property filled with memorabilia and then even more exhibits with cars, jumpsuits (oh the jumpsuits!), planes and more. It’s truly an experience. Anyway here’s a peek of all the stuff outside of the main house.

The Office: I believe Elvis’ dad was his manager and this building was sort of Elvis Inc.  for most of his life. You can see the old office set up and a lot of cool fan art.

Check out the awesome lamp that you can’t really see but was awesome.

Memorabilia Rooms:

This was the coolest display, I was salivating over all the cool Elvis memorabilia. How awesome would it be to come across some of that stuff! I wants it, I wants it all!

So. many. records.

Priscilla’s wedding dress

details of the dress

Elvis’ tux. Yes that is a paisley printed tux, how awesome is that!?!?

blurry details

  Den(ish) Room: 

Beginning of the Jumpsuits: 

Presley Family Graves:  Elvis, his father, grandmother, and mother are all buried here. There is also a small plaque in remembrance of  his twin brother who died soon after birth, he’s not actually buried there though. I had no idea Elvis was a twin. All the flower arrangements are sent in by fans and put around the graves.

The Cars: 

Though cool this thing was HUGE! I don’t understand how people parked in the 50’s and 60’s.

More Jumpsuits!!!

The Planes! Elvis had two private planes and both are amazing. Although I have to admit the smaller one with the colorful interior is my fave. On the headset it said one year for Christmas he and his family got on the plane and went somewhere (Colorado I think) so Lisa Marie could have fun in the snow and then flew back, sounds liked the perfect way to enjoy snow to me.

The Lisa Marie:

Yes all the furniture is covered in plastic like your grandma’s house. It’s to protect the furniture and actually kind of adds an extra kitschy element to the whole experience.

The Little Plane (I forgot it’s name): Aka the coolest plane ever!

After visiting Graceland I had a serious desire to buy a jumpsuit, I wonder why… That Man seriously loved a jumpsuit and they are pretty awesome. Anyway Graceland was sooo much fun. I’m not a huge Elvis fan but it was amazingly cool to see it, it’s the King in all his glory and it’s totally worth a trip. If you’re ever in or near Memphis you should put it on your list of must see places.

Mississippi Road trip: Memphis pt. 1 Graceland, the main house

         I have a weird fascination with Tennessee, I’d never been until we went on this trip, but it just seems like a cool place to visit. Someday I’ll visit more of it go back to Memphis, Nashville, go to their big flea market and maybe even bonaroo (not all at once though). Anyway once I checked out where Springfield was and that it was relatively (but not really) close to Memphis I immediately wanted to add it to the itinerary. The number one reason I wanted to go to Memphis was, of course, to see Graceland! I love vintage kitsch and Graceland is like the holy grail of vintage kitsch. It’s a time capsule house of Elvis. And oh boy did Graceland deliver! Oh my god I would go back again, it was soo cool!!!! so worth the long drive. I highly recommend it if you’re in Memphis.  The house isn’t very big compared to today’s McMansions but it was in Elvis’ time. It was also named Graceland before Elvis ever lived there, he bought it from a doctor who named it after his wife. Anyway there is SOOO much to see at Graceland so I’m going to break it up into a few posts. So here are the pictures of the main house. 

Front of the House

The Living Room :

Check out those groovy peacock stained glass room dividers

And so begins one of the motifs of Graceland, Mirrors EVERYWHERE.

Sputnik chandelier in the Hallway? yes please!

Elvis’ Parent’s Room:

Amazing purple bathroom with…

Poodle wallpaper! mama like.


Hallway/ Stairs to the 2nd Floor

Visitors aren’t allowed on the 2nd floor so this is all you see of it. Notice the mirrored wall.

 Dining Room:

The Kitchen: 

Carpet in the Kitchen?

I saw one of those canisters in the thrift store and immediately picked it up because I remembered wanting it but put it back because I didn’t remember why I wanted it. I wanted it because I saw it in Graceland!!! doh! Next time.

Preview of the Jungle Room:

The TV Room/ Bar :

Mirrored Bar

If you didn’t notice the color pallet for the TV room/ bar is bright yellow and navy blue. Interesting choice.

After visiting Graceland I’ve developed a need for white ceramic monkeys, don’t judge.

The headset said Elvis saw someone that had multiple TVs (possibly the President) and decided he needed three as well, which is great in the days before the DVR.


 Game room/ Den:

check out that crazy patchwork wall tapestry

I’m kind of obsessed with the circus tent treatment to the fabric walls, I  kind of really love it.

yes there is a matching couch

 The Jungle Room: 

The Jungle Room is hilarious. It is an semi- Tiki /Hawaiian style, has green shag carpet on the floor and celing,  large wood carved furniture and faux (yes faux) fur upholstery.  


The back of the house

There is way more Graceland to come. The Grounds have multiple buildings full of Elvis goodies which I’ll try to fit into one post and of course his planes (which are also amazing), stay tuned for more.

Mississippi Road Trip: Springfield

         When my mom and I visited Taliesin last year the tour guide recommended we visit the Dana-Thompson house in Springfield, Illinois. That apparently planted a seed in my mom’s head and this year for her birthday she wanted to go on a road-trip to see the house. We ended up also going to Memphis (my idea) and St. Louis (as it’s only an hour away from Springfield). Springfield, honestly, isn’t the most exciting place to visit but it does have a lot of historical things to see. Aside for the Dana-Thomas house it is also the capital of Illinois and the place Abraham Lincoln called home for most of his adult life, before he became President. Here’s a little taste of Springfield (photo HEAVY post) :

The Dana-Thomas House. 
           Like most Frank Lloyd Wright houses I wasn’t able to take pictures inside the house, but you can just tell from the outside how spectacular it is. Ms. Dana was a Springfield socialite who inherited a ton of money from her dad and built a house to entertain in on the lot of her dad’s former home. Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for going over budget so the Dana-Thomas house is a marvel to see because he was pretty much given carte blanche, which means it’s a must-see for Frank Lloyd Wright fans.

Lincoln’s Tomb:

You’re supposed to rub Lincoln’s nose for good luck, that’s why he loos like he caught king mitdas’ cold.

Lincoln Home:

yes that’s a three seat-er outhouse. The Lincolns were living big.

Taliesin Trip Day 2 part 2 and Day 3

     After Taliesin we drove around a little bit and ate Lunch. Then we went back into Richland Center to go to a few thrift stores. One of the few perks of having a hotel in Richland Center instead of Spring Green was that our hotel was near a Goodwill. The Richland Center goodwill was actually a pretty good store. Here’s what I got:

1. Donkey/mule/ Horse (?) planter

2. Vintage Floral Print

       After that we went to another Thrift store in downtown Richland Center which was pretty good too but I’m pretty sure they only took cash and I didn’t find anything I was willing to try and find a cash machine for. When we were on the way to the downtown Richland Center thrift store we saw a sign for a historic site that my mom remembered was supposed to be kind of cool. so we drove around Richland Center trying to find this warehouse building and gawking at old houses. When we finally decided to turn around a go back to where we saw the sign first we happened upon the building.

       The Building is the A.D. Germen (pronounced Jarmon) warehouse. My mom was convinced it was a Wright building so we took out the Frank Lloyd Wright and Prairie style in Wisconsin Book and it was. Wright was notorious for having money problems and owed German money. Instead of taking money. Germen agreed to have Wright design him a new Warehouse.

close up of the Mayan inspired concrete blocks.

This was the first building in which Wright utilized his Mayan Revival concrete design. Wright has a bunch of Mayan Revival houses in California that are really cool, they’re some of my favorites of his designs. It was a pretty cool building and it was cool to see the beginning of Wrights Mayan Revival designs.

 The building is not currently in use, It seems like it used to be open to tours but no longer is. It is also in a bit of ill repair, though that kind of makes it cooler. It would be kind of interesting to do some urban or I guess rural exploring in there. Hopefully someday soon someone will buy it or use it for something.

        After we gawked at the warehouse we decided to go to La Crosse. We hadn’t really planned what to do after Taliesin, but since it was only tuesday and I didn’t have to be back to work until Thursday we decided to go to La Crosse, stay there for the night, explore the city Wednesday morning and then go home. So, we drove on a very scenic highway to La Crosse where we searched for a cute motel to stay in. My mom and I are always attracted to old 50’s motels so we searched around a bit and decided on a cute motel. It looked cute on the outside but the inside wasn’t as cool and retro as we had hoped. It was nice and clean though so we decided to stay.  This hotel proved to contain a few comedies of error. First we had a little mishap with the air conditioning . The first room we stayed in the air conditioner didn’t work at all and this was during a very hot and humid heatwave where air conditioning was necessary. So we changed rooms and the second rooms air worked but it didn’t get real cold like a good air conditioner. By then we were too tired to complain and it was working well enough that we just lived with it. The hotel had been remodeled but it seemed like it had been remodeled cheaply. You could tell the shower had been glued over the previous one and when my mom tried to adjust the shower head it fell off, which wasn’t great for my shower after hers.  Anyway despite all that the guy at the front desk was at least friendly and nice. I guess the motel used to be super retro with pink bathrooms and the like but the bathrooms were in such illrepair that they had to re-do them.

         Wednesday morning we checked out, got some breakfast and drove around a bit. With the Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin book we located a few of his houses in La Crosse and looked at them. Then we went to a big antique store that was nice and had some cool stuff. My problem with antique stores is that unless they’re very well priced or I find something I’m absolutely in love with (and it’s in my price range) I can rarely pull the trigger and buy something. I usually look at all that stuff and think I could get a better price if I found it in a thrift store and then just get overwhelmed by all the stuff in the store. It’s almost too much. Anyway after that we did a little thrifting at a salvation army we had passed the day before. That Salvation army was pretty good too. Here’s what I got:

1. Siesta Ware Tiki Mugs. I thought these were pretty cool, I like the colors and the Hawaiian-esque details.

2. Fire King Blue Heaven cinderella bowl. For vintage dishes I generally go with pattern & color than brand. I’d seen this pattern before online and knew it wasn’t Pyrex but I love it anyway and think it’s really cool. So I got it.

3.  Blue Pyrex Divided Dish. My Pyrex/ vintage kitchen wares search has cooled off in recent months, but this divided dish was in such good shape and had such a bold color I had to get it.

         La Crosse was actually a really cute town. It has retained a lot of it’s older buildings and is definitely a place I’d go back to. Anyway after thrifting we decided it was time to go home and we drove off into a thunder storm. We got about halfway home before it started to really rain and we had to pull over. Thankfully the rain stopped after awhile and we finally got home. So that was the end of our Taliesin Roadtrip. I’ll probably post a couple outfits from the trip on Saturday so watch out for those and have a great weekend!

Taliesin Road Trip Day 2 Part one: Four Hours with Frank Lloyd Wright

        Tuesday morning we got up bright and early, checked out of our hotel and ate breakfast. We made a quick stop at the gas station to pick up sun tan lotion and bug spray and we were off. Once we had decided to go to Taliesin we knew we wanted to take the best tour available. The Taliesin people provide 4 different tours of the Taliesin property that range in price from $16.00-80.00 and last from one to four hours. Of course since we didn’t really plan on coming back to Taliesin we decided to do the whole shebang and go for the four hour $80.00 (a person) Estate tour. The Estate tour meets at 9:15 at the visitor center and charters a small bus to the Lloyd Jones’
cemetery and chapel.

       The Chapel was actually designed by Louis Sullivan whom Wright began his career working under and whom was a mentor to Wright. Because they contracted Sullivan’s firm to design the chapel the outside is a Sullivan design but the inside (which we didn’t get to see) was designed by Wright. The chapel and the land around it is owned by the Lloyd Jones’ who are Wrights maternal descendents. It’s grounds are also host to a cemetery for the family.

                        Wrights grandparents and possibly his mother were buried here.

Mamah Borthwick Cheney’s Grave

      The cemetary is also the burial site of Wrights mistress and girlfriend Mamah Borthwick Cheney who was brutally murdered along with 6 others in Taliesin at the hands of a male servant that worked there. The book my mom read before the trip Loving Frank is a fictionalized account of Mamah and Frank’s affair as well as the murders. FLW was in Chicago working when the murders occurred and when he came back he demanded no one touch Mamah’s body and buried her under a tree in his family’s plot. The grave wasn’t marked until later when Wrights third wife put the marker (show above) on the site.

Frank Lloyd Wrights grave, minus his body.

     Frank Lloyd Wright was also buried in this cemetary. When he died in 1959 he was buried here per his request, but when his third wife Olgivanna died in 1985 she wanted her ashed to mixed with Franks and used in the walls of a memorial garden in the couples other home Taliesin West in Arizona. So someone took the body from the grave in Spring Green, cremated it and did just that. So now this is just an empty grave.

Part of the Hillside school includes and sort of lounge area, theater and dining room.

       After we saw the chapel and cemetary we hopped back into the bus and were driven to Hillside. Frank Lloyd Wright originally designed these buildings as a private school for his aunts. Building the school bankrupted his aunts, and though it did live as their school for awhile they weren’t bringing in enough money to pay off their debts and they ended up selling the land. Frank lloyd Wright bought the land and didn’t use it really until the great depression. During that time money was tight,  FLW wasn’t very good at managing his money and there was a depression going on, and he needed a source of income so he and his wife came up with the idea of creating an architecture school. It wasn’t a traditional school, it was more of an apprentice commune of sorts. Students came and paid to live there (and later Taliesin west as well) and would work on the property and help with Wrights projects. With this he invited a bunch of fellows to help teach the students and Taliesin became kind of an architectural commune. It stayed like that after FLW’s death until the 80’s when money got tight and they had to reluctantly open up Taliesin to the public to get moeny flowing. There are still fellows that live in Taliesin, most of whom are in their 90’s. Taliesin used to be controlled by these fellows but since they’re all in their 90’s a non-profit group Taliesin Preservation Inc. now controlls the estate.

Other part of Hillside, now they’re dorm rooms for the students that currently attend Taliesin Frank Lloyd Wright school of Architecture and also houses their main workspace. 

      The school is actually still running and when we visited we could see the students at work in the building on the right. They stay in the Spring Green, Wisconsin Taliesin during the summer and move to Taliesin West in Arizona during the winter. The school is no longer an apprentice commune and has become more traditional school as later on all schools had to be accredited. Although, if you look on the website the schools accreditation is on notice. I guess that means that they’re doing something that the accreditation agency doesn’t like and if they don’t change it they’ll lose their accreditation.

Small sky way-ish  bridge connecting the two building

       I did get a couple pictures of the inside of Hillside but won’t share them. I’d like to, but one of the rules of the tour was no photos inside the buildings. When we went inside Hillside pretty much everyone was ignoring that rule (or forgot it) but as soon as we got to the part of the building where the students were and our guide noticed someone taking pictures all that fun was over. I’m not really sure why they prohibit photos inside the building but you can google Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconisn or check out a book of pictures of Frank Lloyd Wright homes/designs and I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of photos of the inside of the buildings.

Side of the Hillside school. This is the dining, lounge, theater building.

Farm land where I believe one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s sons still lives. The foundation bought the land so their view wouldn’t be obstructed/developed.

      After we toured the school we went up a small hill and saw the Romeo and Juliet Windmill tower. According to the Taliesin website this is the oldest structure on the estate. It was built and rebuilt a couple of times since, but still looks pretty good. This structure used to pump well water from the ground into the school but no longer works. We weren’t allowed to go in it, but people who live and work on the property have ventured in. There’s a reason it’s called the Romeo and Juliet tower and I don’t exactly remember why. Something about romeo being the octagon and protecting Juliet the circle.

Romeo and Juliet Windmill Tower.

        After the Romeo and Juliet Windmill tower we walked to Tan-y-deri, Wright’s sisters house. Wright didn’t want to build this specific house here. He was very into building sturctures that looked as if they were of the land and complained that a foursquare prarie style house did not fit the rurual Wisconsin landscape. But Wrights’ sister was insistant he build her this house, a house she saw he was advertising in a magazine, and he begrudgingly oblidged.

        A lot of the sturcuters on the Taliesin Estate are sort of always in a state of repair. Taliesin Perservation Inc is a private non-profit and therefore doesn’t get any money from the government for preservation. Instead they rely on money from tours and private donors. Tan-i-dory got a big donation recently from a car heir that used to be and apprentice in Wright’s school. He said he would donate the money to restore the building if the students worked on it themselves. Apparently he believed the students should still be doing the chores etc that they did when he was still going there. Anyway the students agreed and that’s what’s going on in the photos of the building.

This and the other building below were originally a chicken coup and something else (though I’m not sure which was which). Now it’s mostly used for housing.

view near Tan-i-dory

       After Tan-i-dory we walked over to Midway Barns, Wright’s barn. As you can see it’s a very funky barn, but Wright wasn’t much of a farmer. Wright thought more creatively than practically and sometimes that was a detriment to his designs. Some homes he built had leaks etc. because Wright was thinking aesthetically instead of practically. Same goes for this barn. Wright had lots of ideas on ways to make an efficient barn but none of them actually worked. Out guide even told us that he changed the type of cow he owned from a regular black and white cow to a brown cow because his wife thought they were more aesthetically pleasing. The only problem is the white and black cows are better producers than the brown ones.

pile of junk near the barn

The tower. 

       This tower building was ( I think) supposed to be a place to milk cows more efficiently. He dreamed you could line up the cows in a circle along the walls of the building and milk one, let it go, then the milk the next one. Unfortunately the tower was too small and could only fit one cow.

Top of the tower. The balls are actually toilet floats.
side of the barn.

Farm land and pond near Taliesin and the barn

        After viewing the barn we finally got a closer look at Taliesin. But, the view of the front of the building was a bit disturbed as they were renovating one of the rooms in Taliesin.


View of Tan-i-dory from Taliesin
Side of Taliesin

     When we finally reached Taliesin we had a little break for snacks and water, which was much needed in the hot humid weather we were having that day.

Ivy covered pergola, one of my favorite parts of the house. I love things like these and I think it all has to do with the The Sound of Music. Extra points if you know what I’m talking about
Inside that room was the Master bedroom and study of Frank Lloyd Wright. You can also see the snacks they put out for us.
Frank Lloyd Wright was really into Asian cultures from a young age and had a lot of Asian artifacts inside and outside of his home. You can also see an Japanese influence in his architecture. 

view of a river from the patio in Taliesin

       When we started the tour of Taliesin, the home, we started in the Garden. The gardens were beautiful, with nice water features, artifacts and beautiful flowers. The home was built around the brow of the hill, Taliesin means Shining Brow in welsh, instead of on top of it so it looked like a part of the hillside and thus more organic to its surroundings.

The red color you see on the windows is called Cherokee red and was Wrights favorite color. At one time he mandated all Taliesin vehicles had to be painted that color and the bus we road in was Cherokee red.
Wright loved to use materials native to the sites where he was building. I believe the stones you see on the house are made of local  limestone.

view of the house from the inner courtyard

This statue is found in another wright building and when in good condition has arms. Because this version was left outside in Wisconsin’s elements it’s arms have fallen off.

       Frank Lloyd Wright began building Taliesin in 1911as a refuge from the bad press he was receiving in Chicago about his affair. He caused quite a stir when word of his affair with Mamah got out. Both were married when they started the affair and papers in Chicago and around the country slammed them very publicly when word got out. To avoid the scrutiny Wright and Mamah went abroad to Europe for awhile then moved to Spring Green when Wright’s mother offered her son the land Taliesin is now built on. Though Mamah’s husband was quick to give her a divorce Wrights wife, with whom he had 6 kids, thought it was just a phase and he would return to her after awhile. He never did and eventually she gave him a divorce. Taliesin has been through many ups and downs including the brutal killing of Mamah and 6 others as well and other fires that have occurred on the property.

I believe (if my recolection of what my bff has told me in the past is right) that this is a foo dog and since it’s holding a ball this is the male. There were two on the property but I only got a picture of this one. 

       Taliesin was an interesting place. The house doesn’t have a kitchen and I guess its bathrooms are nothing to yell and scream about (we didn’t get to see them). We didn’t see the kitchen but I guess it’s very small and only really equip to make morning coffee. I guess the Wrights and their associates ate at the dining hall in the school.  It was cool to see a Wright building up close and get to see the inside as well. I also learned a lot about Wright. He was a bit of a control freak. When he agreed to build houses he had the home owners sign a contact that they would only move in with their tooth brush and wardrobe and wouldn’t change anything about the house. He elected the right to come and visit the home at anytime and restore any changes back to the original design. I doubt he actually did this but it’s still a little nutty. He also designed dresses for the lady of the house to wear when she was entertaining. Anyway it was a cool tour and I’d definitely recommend it. I also want to tour some of his other homes, especially some of his houses in Oak Park, Ill. I’m a big fan of Prairie Style homes which is a style he basically invented and there are some beautiful Wright designed Prairie Style homes in Chicago. Anyway since this post was so long I’ll split it up into two parts and give you the other part in a few days.

Taliesin Road Trip Day 1

Our Road Trip Route. G: Minneapolis, B: Madison, C: Spring Green, D: Taliesin, E: Richland Center, F: La Crosse

       Our four day Taliesin road trip actually started Sunday when we drove from Minneapolis to Madison. It was about a 3-4 hour drive and was kind of fun since the road we took is also the road you take to the Wisconsin Dells. In the late 90’s when I was around 10 my mom and I went to the Wisconsin Dells on another road trip that was…interesting. The Wisconsin Dells is a weird place. It has a lot of water parks and they’re the main attraction but we didn’t go to any water parks (I had been to one the year before and my moms not into them) so we explored what else the Wisconsin Dells had to offer. Well, the Dells are kind of dated aside from the water parks. For some reason I remember it feeling dated even when I was a kid. We went to The House on the Rock which is a kind of creepy/cool tourist site near the dells (and Taliesin) which among other things features a giant plastic whale and squid, a collection of crowns, and a carousel in a room surrounded by mannequins with wings afixed to the walls. In other words it’s completely bizarre. We also went to some other attractions the only two of which I didn’t find kind of lame and dated were a boat tour and a deer park. Anyway it was kind of fun to go down memory lane while driving down to Madison. When we got to Madison it was late so we ate dinner and checked into our hotel. The Taliesin 4 hour estate tour we wanted to take was completely booked for Monday when we called and made reservations, so we signed up for the Tuesday tour and decided to spend Monday in Madison and then drive to Spring Green Monday night. So Monday we got up and drove around Madison. We saw the University of Wisconsin Madison, which is most of Madison, and took a mini driving tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses/buildings in Madison. Most of the Madison Frank Lloyd Wright structures were private homes so we dove by and looked at them for a little while before moving on to the next. I didn’t get any pictures of the houses, but honestly a lot of them were hard to see anyway. Frank Lloyd Wright was all about creating architecture that looked like it was organic to it’s location, like it sprung up from the earth there, so a few of the houses we actually kind of hidden behind foliage and built into the landscape making them hard to see from the street.

Outside of Monona Terrace

Blurry picture of the inside of Monona Terrace

        We did tour Monona Terrace though, which is actually a modern building that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright did the original design and revisions for the building in 1938 and later years but the building wasn’t actually built until 1994 and wasn’t finished until 1997, around sixty years after Wrights death. Wright designed it to be a community center and now it’s essentially a community/convention center that host different events throughout the year. The building was pretty cool and it wasn’t actually that different from the Wright design, although it was updated for the modern needs of Madison. The building was kind of cool to see though it would probably have been a lot more interesting if it had been built in 1938 instead of 1994. Though they stayed pretty true to Wrights original designs there was just something pretty 90’s about the space, though the rooftop was pretty cool.

parking lot and view of lake Monona

The rooftop terrace was pretty cool, It was sort of sci-fi-ish with all the orbs.

The terrace also had a cool view of the Wisconsin State Capitol building

Giving you failed outfit post realness. It was super windy on the rooftop so my hair is a mess and I had to hold onto my skirt the whole time. I was trying to keep my skirt down in the photo and it moved from where it should be (where my belt is) to the location it’s at in the photo. I’ll do outfit posts with my various vacation outfits soon. 
View of the Wisconsin state Capitol

      While in Madison I also had to get some thrifting in. It’s always fun to see what other thrift stores in other towns have to offer, so I was excited to go to some in Madison. Luckily our hotel was centrally located near a bunch of Madison thrift stores. We went to three in Madison that were near our hotel and they didn’t really yield any great finds. Finally on our way to the third thrift store in a suburb we passed a St. Vincent De Paul Thrift store and that one ended up actually being pretty good. After that we decided to head to Spring Green in preparation for our four hour Taliesin tour the next day.

I have a thing for dilapidated barns

       When we got to Spring Green we ate a cute little drive in diner, calculated how long it would take to get from our hotel in Richland Center to Taliesin and checked into our hotel. If you plan a trip to Taliesin in the future I would recommend getting a hotel in Spring Green. We booked two of our hotel’s online before the trip and the only one that showed up on a hotel website was the one we stayed at in Richland Center.

farm on the way to Richland Center.

        When we got there we found out Richland Center is about 30 minutes away from Taliesin while it’s only quick hop skip and a jump from any of the hotels in Spring Green. This meant we had to get up early to check out and eat breakfast before we had to meet for our tour at 9:15am. We’re not morning people. The hotel we went to in Richland Center also wasn’t so great. It was a clean hotel and was actually pretty nice but the guy running it was a little much. There were a whole list of rules he had for his hotel, one of witch was no drinking on the bed. Of course we had to break that one especially since he downgraded our room. Plus there was only one chair in the room so one of us would have had to of sat on the toilet or the ground to actually abide his rule, silly. The guy really just wasn’t very hospitable and made you feel like he was your RA and you were in the dorm or something. Anyway in a couple days I’ll do Day 2 of our Taliesin road trip so look out for that post!