INTERIOR DESIGN + DECORATING + STYLE BY VIVIAN PANAGOS

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Farnsworth House: Could you live here?


Shall we take a little step back in time? It is the year 1951 and you are the owner of the newly built Farnsworth House in Illinois designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Lucky you!

The home is now considered an icon of modernist style but back then it was a significant house project for the architect designed as a single level raised dwelling with heavy use of glass all the way around the structure.




Could you live here?

This house was the basis of a discussion tonight and the answers to the above question varied. There is no denying the house is aesthetically beautiful but what was interesting to learn was the actual owners experience of living in this house:

The truth is that in this house with its four walls of glass I feel like a prowling animal, always on the alert. I am always restless. Even in the evening. I feel like a sentinel on guard day and night. I can rarely stretch out and relax…What else? I don’t keep garbage under my sink. Do you know why? Because you can see the whole “kitchen” from the road on the way in here and the can would spoil the appearance of the whole house. So I hide it in the closet further down from the sink. Mies talks about “free space”: but his space is very fixed. I can’t even put a clothes hanger in my house without considering how it affects everything from outside. Any arrangement of furniture becomes a major problem, because the house is transparent, like an X-ray.

I would still live here without hesitation. Could you? Or would you feel restrained by the design of this home and the limited privacy provided? I would love to hear your thoughts.

(Photography by Krista Jahnke, quote from House Beautiful)


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