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I will look into it tomorrow. My initial thoughts: 1. FLW furniture from the period of your beautiful house would be most appropriate. 2. It should work with the architecture of the house, including the geometry, and its finish. 3. Comfort is a consideration. 4. At the risk of being called a heretic I would give consideration to including an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman in cherry with FLW pieces. The Eames Lounge Chair is close to the period and is incredibly comfortable.
Mr LaBrecque asks about dining chairs. I see no reason to abandon comfort, and fortunately Mr Wright seems to have agreed, at least tacitly. The Pew house is shown in his own book, "The Natural House," with Eames DCW (dining chair, wood) chairs in not one but two photos. Here is one of them. The chair was designed in 1945 so would be period-apropriate. The Herman Miller company still makes this chair.
The other appropriate chair might be one of the unique dining chairs Wright designed for some of the houses of the period; any from approximately the year of your house would arguably be "correct." I don't believe there is anything specific about these chairs, made of plywood and solid wood and with an upholstered seat or seat pad, that makes any of them particularly wedded to the house they were designed for.
Here's a piece from the Robert Llewellyn Wright house, one of the hemicycle designs which you mentioned.
This was designed for the George Sturges house of 1939. There are a number of designs in this vein, usually in lighter woods, designed for various of the Usonian houses.
The flat or downsloping seat would not be comfortable, in my experience.
These three photos are from "Frank Lloyd Wright: Furniture" (Peregrine Smith; 1993) by Thomas A Heinz.
In the Coonley Playhouse lounge chairs, benches and coffee tables were the items used. Though obviously not of the time period of the building they were apparently felt, by the current owners, to be in keeping with the organic spirit.
In the Hagan House, aka Kentuck Knob, some Nakashima furniture was used after Wright declined to produced custom designed pieces (except for the dining table) for this house. Here dining chairs, both the grass seated and conoid types, as well as coffee tables and various bookcases were selected by the owners. Also the Wright dining table was stored and a Nakashima table substituted as it was felt the veneered table would not hold up as well to usage as the solid wood Nakashima piece. Careful study of photos leads me to believe that two different Nakashima tables were used at different times. I had the good fortune of visiting the Hagans twice and feel that the Nakashima furniture complemented the Wright built-ins quite well.
I believe the Nakashima designs are still being produced, but have not verified this in several years.
I would think, based on their construction methods and the spartan stock from which they are constructed, that they could be reproduced rather economically by any half-way capable cabinet shop.
I would agree with Mr. Harding assessment that the Eames chairs as well as many other warm-toned wood mid-century pieces could fit in well too.
Thomas Heinz states in his book that slouching in this chair is discouraged by the fact that there is "not that much seat." Sounds about right for a dining chair. (A recent news article detailed the need for wider seating for today's larger American behind. Manufacturers are complying, apparently.)
Nakashima would be a respectable choice for Wright's later buildings; I find it difficult to imagine in an early work like the Coonley Playhouse.
The Mossberg chair, while being the spot on perfect choice for the house, is just terribly uncomfortable. I believe these chairs are also in the Boulter house. Chuck if you read this, can you verify? I really like the look of the dining chairs in the Trier house, but they might be too specific.
Paul, I love Eames so don't think of yourself as a heretic. I am the one with Roycroft and Stickley strewn about a Wright designed mid century marvel.
The Meyer house is of mahogany wood trim, and the furnishings should therefore be of mahogany as well. The style of the furnishings is a secondary consideration.
The primary theme of the house is it's circular forms, followed by rectangular shapes, such as the windows, giving clues to appropriate furnishings. Examination of the existing dining table, and shelves and countertops may give more.
Think of the house and its furnishings as a perfectly coordinated ensemble, all in harmony with the other.
Doug Kottom, Battle Lake
Ed Jarolin wrote:after Wright declined to produced custom designed pieces (except for the dining table) for this house.
Anyone else find this interesting? I can understand a client "declining" furniture designs (due to cost/comfort issues), but never thought Wright himself would "decline" to do so!
No "spirit moved him" on certain houses? That would be odd.
Avoided furniture design more than one would think? Possible, but I always thought a cohesive "whole" was of more importance to him, regardless of comfort issues or cost.
Any known reasons or speculations would be appreciated.
and Bernardine Hagan' by Bernardine Hagan.
"As the winter of 1956 was coming to an end, the interior of the house was just about complete with the exception of the kitchen counters, and it was time to decide on the furnishings. We called Taliesin and explained to Mr. Wright that we were ready for carpet and furniture. He responded that he would send us a carpet plan-I should choose the colors. Now, as to furniture, we were told to go to New York and look at the display of Scandinavian furniture at George Jensen. I have no idea how Mr. Wright knew of this, except that he was spending much time in New York City supervising the building of the Guggenheim Museum. At the same time I believe there was a showing of some of this furniture at the Museum of Modern Art."
The Hagans proceeded to New York in the company of Edgar Kaufmann Jr. and designer Paul Mayen and purchased a few Scandinavian pieces. While there they saw a New York Times article on George Nakashima and decided to return home via New Hope, PA where his studio was located. They "loved the pieces" and ordered dining chairs, stools, a chest and a coffee table.
The word "declined" is my inference based on this story by the owner.
I believe Wright just never was able to get around to the furniture designs given the pressure of the Guggenheim commission and the rest of the work he was engaged in at the time. It is a little surprising to me that he didn't recycle some early designs instead of just suggesting the Scandinavian route. If my recall of a conversation with Mr. Hagan is
accurate, Wright did willingly agree to the use of the Nakashima pieces.
Incidentally, the book is a good read with construction photos, copies of correspondence with Wright, Nakashima's sketches for 'his' dining table and other items of interest.
I think what is missing is at least another function in such a large space. In the Taliesin and Zimmerman living rooms, for example, part of the room is dedicated to performing music with their FLLW music stand, benches, and piano. Fallingwater is equally successful with its library, sitting, conversation, and dining functions, and no furniture gathered about the fireplace. The fireplace serves all areas.
The question then is, how might Mr LaBrecque use his living room?
Doug Kottom, Battle Lake