From the Crystal Bridges website:
Known as the Bachman-Wilson House, this structure is an example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s classic Usonian architecture. The word “Usonian” was derived from an abbreviation of “United States of North America.” Wright created this term to describe a distinctly American style of residential architecture he developed during the Great Depression to be within the reach of the average middle-class American family.
This house was originally built for Gloria and Abraham Wilson in 1956 along the Millstone River in New Jersey. It was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988 and meticulously restored. When the house was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location, the Tarantinos determined that, in order to preserve it, they should sell the house to an institution willing to relocate it. After the Tarantinos conducted a multi-year search for a suitable institution, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013. The entire structure was then taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and moved to the Museum, where it was reconstructed in 2015.
Our tour guide was a good one, quite knowledgeable, but our group had a couple of builders and one architect who added much to the conversation.
The clerestory windows catch your eye first, one person said the windows were shaped with a Native American motif, another said they were meant to represent whirligigs. I go with the whirligig theory as the house was built in New Jersey, not New Mexico.
The back side of the home, with sliding glass doors downstairs to have the outside and inside be one space, true to FLW’s philosophy. The deck upstairs is off the master bedroom.
Back of home at night, giving it a much prettier look.
[NB: the photos with the writing in the lower left corner come from the CB website. Mine do not have that writing in it.]
The home has a carport (where the people are standing) and according to our guide, FLW coined the word carport. He did not believe in utilitarian enclosed spaces. The windows in that wing belong to the kitchen.
The kitchen is compact but full service, all the bells and whistles.
Fridge behind wooden doors on left.
The living room had a long, very long, very very long, built in sofa that while very typical of a FLW design, seemed impractical. Everyone sits side by side?? Everything is built to the square – the tiles line up with the sofa which line up with the wall lines. In the original home in NJ, the screws on the paneled overhang were required to have the screw head lines facing up. Moving the house here, they changed screw heads so they wouldn’t have that detail to obsess over.
The fireplace on the right wall isn’t exactly practical and the guide didn’t know if it was ever used in its NJ setting. Note too, no overhead lighting, very few outlets, lamps are low, no standing lamps for reading at night. No room for a 60″ flat screen either!
Looking into the dining room, basically a table built in, where people are looking into a wall while eating, unless you are the one chair that looks out.
When the Tarantino’s agreed with Alice Walton to have CB rebuild the home in Bentonville, there was a large discussion about where it was to be situated. The rule was it had to have a vista that included water, as it did originally in NJ. Below the house is a small pond.
The grounds are pretty so I will say CB did everything right to get the house a new perfect home.
We weren’t allowed upstairs and no photos allowed inside at all, hence ones here are from CB. It’s a small home – two bedrooms and two baths, The home is a bit cold, colder than other FLW homes I’ve been in. In all honesty, I could not live in this house, even being by FLW. But one of us was glad to see it nonetheless. 🙂