Article: Hollyhock House to reopen in February

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Unbrook
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Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Hollyhock House

Post by Unbrook »

Back to the curtains. The Martin House had portierres (sp?) which have yet to be installed. You realize how it would divide the space. Does the same thing happens at Hollyhock?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Portieres seem to me a throwback to Victorian decor. I assume they were installed to control room temperature -- keeping living spaces warmer than hallways, for instance. If Wright approved them it would have been with reluctance, as I see it; they directly impact the visual flow of space that clearly meant so much to him.

Comment ?

SDR

Unbrook
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:19 am
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Hollyhock House

Post by Unbrook »

I think it is the Victorian reference that allowed his clients to accept the new usage of space --the three part room. The docent at the Martin House implied that the portierres were functional. (i.e.-They could be drawn to close off the space). I believe they are shown in the renderings of the Martin House interior. This would be Wright early in his career, so the open-ness of the Usonians is yet to come.

Drapery in the restoration process is an overlooked but important part of the overall interior. I long for the day when the built-in settle with its curtained back is reinstalled at the Robie House. I love the story at Samara about the draperies. Mr. Wright liked Mrs. Christian and let her have draperies at the window. Of course, the fact that she used the Schumacher Taliesin fabric with the gold thread probably sealed the deal.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Temperature control had nothing to do with the portieres at Hollyhock. Keeping rooms warm isn't much of a problem in SoCal. They were used architecturally. Not all of the portieres were operable, some were shams. That they were used specifically for the living room architecture is reinforced by their total lack in other parts of the house. The 2 bedrooms, where the gallery is now located, had draperies, but no other windows outside the living/music/library, and one across the top of the steps up to the dining room from the entry (which may not have been fabricated) had them.

There may be clues in correspondences between FLW and Aline that reveal whose idea the portieres were, but I suspect FLW chose them to unify the design of the living room. On the other hand, there were sheers for some of the sidelights that I'm sure Aline wanted. Ginny found a swatch of the fabric, silk with hot pink warp and lime green weft. I cannot believe FLW chose to use sheers (although he did select the colors, which, together, add up to a very handsome color), since they were over art glass, obliterating the pattern.

Another detail long lost was in the library. The ceiling light fixture was meant to be a skylight. Without natural light coming in at that point, the room is so dark it's unusable without the lights on. It has been assumed that the skylight was not constructed, yet there is a missive dated 1923, after the house was complete, referring to the fabric for a curtain for the library skylight. It seems unlikely that would have been on the table if the skylight had not been built. As far as I know, no effort has been made to determine absolutely that the skylight was indeed not included.

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Wright put portieres in his Oak Park house, so he must have had some use for them.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I would suggest that, at Oak Park and in Buffalo, the portieres were used for keeping warmth where it was most wanted, without closing off spaces in the way the doors would have done. I'm most interested to learn that they might have had aesthetic value for this architect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portiere

http://artsandcraftshomes.com/portieres ... 1900-1940/

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That the portieres at Hollyhock were shams says convincingly that they were elements of design, not for practical purposes. Those that flank the openings to the south alcove, the music room and the Japanese screens are all shams. There are operable curtains over the glass doors and windows.

Early photographs of Oak Park in "Building A Legacy," pp 53, 56, 57 and 61 show portieres in place, but no curtains on the living room windows, while the bay windows in the upstairs nursery/day room over the dining room (pg 81) have frilly sheers ... perhaps Catherine's doing? As of 2001 (publication date of the book), none of those had been reproduced for the restoration, which aimed at a 1909 date, by which time it is likely that FLW's aesthetic had evolved considerably. Pre-1895 photos of the living room include an upright piano, piano bench covered with a fancy cloth, a polar bear rug and a bust of Mozart(?), giving the room a decidedly Victorian feel.

Unbrook
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:19 am
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Hollyhock House

Post by Unbrook »

I don't believe Wright's use of the "door curtains" was at all due to keeping warm, but visually and intellectually to separate the spaces. I was surprised at the Martin House to learn that they were operable and believe it deserves further research.

Where were the portierres located at Hollyhock? I only remember the curtains covering windows in the Living Room.

DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »


DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »


Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

Just visited Hollyhock today.

Shame they don't do the full tours -- a docent said they weren't sure they'd be able to do full tours, anymore, due to ADA compliance with stairs. We could only walk in the foyer, music-room, and down the hall. Living room, dining room, bedrooms, etc. are roped-off.

Good thing I went years ago and was able to go through the house.

Residence A looked abysmal, as usual. Went up to the Ennis house, as well -- never been. LA streets were paved by the Devil, I am certain.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

What is the world coming to ?

I treasure the memory of the discovery of bi-level viewing from the dining-room openings.

Maybe waivers of liability could be signed -- in blood ? -- by those willing to hazard the five steps up to the dining room . . .

SDR

Matt
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Post by Matt »

when I went years ago they wouldn't let you enter the living room, but we did go upstairs to the bedrooms and down that absurdly narrow corridor that connected the two room. Did they restore the dog kennels and the garage as well?

SREcklund
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Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Post by SREcklund »

Matt wrote:Did they restore the dog kennels and the garage as well?
No to the kennels. Garage is now the visitor's center.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

The ADA business was settled in the 90s with portable aluminum ramps. It was argued that to add an elevator to get wheelchair-bound visitors up to the upper level would destroy what was up there to see, so Ginny Kazor produced a brief video of the upstairs for those who couldn't make it. That seemed perfectly adequate to those (extremely rare) visitors who needed it. If this has come up again, it's just one more example of how inefficient government can be.

If the kennels were restored, they would create a major foot traffic problem between the house and the museum; most of it goes through the kennel area. At one time, a few kennels were restored with the original screen doors, but they were vandalized.

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