A trip into the country yesterday took me to this wonderful house. Recently purchased by our friends Fran and Steve, it's a building designed by E. Fay Jones, an apprentice and follower of Frank Lloyd Wright.
It was built in 1962 for a local doctor and has endured a checkered history over the following decades. Part of this involved a propane gas magnate whose business dealings were apparently dubious enough to prompt this millionaire to incorporate an escape hatch into the house – a short spiral staircase leading into the basement and from there into a semi-underground garage where this person could leap into a car for a quick getaway.
You can see the staircase – an ugly hole surrounded by wrought iron – to the left of the photograph below of the master bedroom.
[/img]A bolt hole is not the only abuse this beautiful house has suffered. For inexplicable reasons, the external natural wood finish has been smothered by an ugly sea gray paint.
Furthermore, the house has been empty for three years and little maintenance done during that time. Overgrown weeds on the estate, some of which I hacked my way through to take the topmost photograph in this post, both surround and encroach on the stonework. Parts are crumbling and cracked, the consequence not only of root infiltration but also of water damage.The swimming pool is home to frogs and insects.A lot of work needs to be done on the building, and Steve and Fran were sounded a little overwhelmed when I joined them yesterday. Nonetheless, it is such a beautiful house and has such an strong atmosphere, mostly of natural grace but also with a just a touch of mystery. In its current disheveled state, I could imagine it as a set for many a thriller. There's not much furniture moved in yet, but even when there is, it's not going to crowd spacious rooms such as this.The house is suffused with natural light from almost every direction, late in day diffusing through the forest that surrounds the building on every side.
Combine this light – and the artificial light is just as imaginatively applied – with the long lines of the building and the result is a geometry of pure pleasure.