Taliesin West – Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winter Home

Visiting-Taliesin-West

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A few years ago while reading an issue of my beloved AFAR magazine, I ran across a tiny blurp about a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Scottsdale, Arizona (you can see the highlight on AFAR.com). I tore out that page and kept it on my desk as something to do on a future trip to visit my parents.

Given our inclination for sustainability built homes, and the fact that Frank Lloyd Wright was the creator of organic architecture and one of the heads of the Prairie School of architectural style which integrated buildings within the landscape, I knew that Taliesin West was something Mr. Misadventures and I needed to see.

Our last week in Arizona we were able to relax and start checking out the local sites. We had an amazing, interactive visit at Pima Air & Space Museum (along with some amazing tamales) in Tucson and I was keen on making sure we didn’t leave before seeing FLW’s winter home.

Scottsdale is a short drive from Phoenix and before you know it you are in the hills above the city looking out on a magnificent view of the canyons below and mountains beyond. You can imagine that in 1937 (when FLW purchased the land) it was an empty palette to play with.

Mr. Misadventures and I took the Insights Tour, one of many tours they offer (here is a list with descriptions) at Taliesin West and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It is 90 minutes in length and full of interesting stories and anecdotes about FLW’s life and work. We had an amazing docent who was truly passionate about all things FLW.

The best part?

We could touch and photograph as much as we wanted. (I don’t know if it is an Arizona thing but after both Pima and Taliesin West, I am in love their approach to museums!). I have been to lots of historical homes and this is the first time I have been able to sit on furniture, to touch walls, it is fantastic!

Frank Lloyd Wright was heavily influenced by the work of Friedrich Fröbel, the creator of kindergarten and educational toys that used “visual materials to reconstruct a successful system to teach young children about art, design, mathematics and nature.” Basically, geometric shapes. The other influence on FLW was Asian. Both Chinese and Japanese designs, art and philosophy.

TALIESIN WEST-Front - Entrance

Once we began touring the house and grounds, we were able to see geometric shapes (which after 79 years are still in style) and Asian touches throughout. See if you can spot them in the photos I’ve shared.

TALIESIN WEST-Front-Side

What Mr. Misadventures and I loved the most is how much natural light the house had, just gorgeous! Although natural light means the sun, so I am not sure this would be my favorite place to visit in the summer (they do have air conditioning), it is FLW’s winter home for a reason!

This was FLW’s office and he could work in it all day without any lights!

TALIESIN WEST-Office

The living room also was full of natural light. The chairs were designed by Mr. Wright and are really interesting. They aren’t entirely comfortable, they are meant to keep you sitting up and paying attention (to the host no doubt) while they were entertaining!

Taliesin-West-Living-Room-Chairs

There are windows that provide a line of sight everywhere.

Taliesin-West-Living-Room
This scene from an ancient Chinese play was purchased in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Having not survived the voyage on the boat from China, there were large pieces and FLW was able to buy them very cheaply and had them inserted into the walls of his home.

Taliesin-West-Asian-Influence

There are multiple dragons as well, like when we enter the back of the house. Geometrics may not age, but how about that gold and teal!?

Taliesin-West-Geometric-Asian

And in the back garden.

Taliesin-West-Asian-Influence-Dragon

The home is also a functioning school of architecture and we got to peek into one of the apprentice work areas. It is cool to know that there are continually new generations of architects inspired by their time at Taliesin West.

Here is the courtyard at the backside of the apprentice design area.

TALIESIN WEST-Courtyard-School

I haven’s share every room that we visited, you definitely need to plan a visit for yourself to take it all in. I promise you that you will be inspired to seek out other FLW sites when you are done!

How about you? Have you visited a Frank Lloyd Wright site? I bet you have! With over 532 completed projects, it is likely there is one in your own backyard!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and I wish to express my thanks as I had an amazing time. As always, despite the sponsorship, all opinions are my own.

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Things to do in Phoenix Arizona USA - Taliesin West Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winter Home Things to do in Phoenix Arizona USA - Taliesin West Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winter Home

21 Comments

  1. Donna Janke
    January 21, 2016

    I have visited Taliesin West a couple of times and agree that it is very interesting. I also liked the garden with Heloise Crista sculptures.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 22, 2016

      @Donna, I missed that and someone else said the same thing on a comment on Instagram, I will definitely have to check it out next time.

      Reply
  2. Heather Johnson
    January 21, 2016

    Frank Lloyd Wright architecture is amazing! I would love to see this home if I am ever in the area.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 22, 2016

      @Heather, definitely do! His summer home is in Wisconsin, so maybe that is an option too.

      Reply
      1. Heather Johnson
        January 23, 2016

        I will keep Wisconsin in mind when my kiddos get bigger. We are only a few hours away.

        Reply
  3. Kristen
    January 21, 2016

    What an amazing place and your photography is excellent! I have never been to AZ but this would make it on my list of places to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 22, 2016

      @Kristen, definitely do. The Phoenix area has a lot of great things to do. I was surprised myself!

      Reply
  4. Aeryn Lynne
    January 21, 2016

    Wow, I truly love his style, how gorgeous! 🙂 I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a building designed by Wright, but it sounds like a great bucketlist kind of thing to do!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 22, 2016

      @Aeryn, it is amazing how many buildings of his are out there. The tours and sites are wonderful, definitely something to check out.

      Reply
  5. I’m so jealous that you got to visit Taliesin West! My Dad is a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan so I grew up poring over photos of his designs! What a wonderful place to visit, it sounds like they have the right idea about letting people wander around the space. This has definitely put Arizona on my list of places to visit next time we are in the US 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 22, 2016

      @Amy, it was so nice to be able to sit down on the couch in the living room, touch the wood and imagine dinner parties where you could be sitting across from Mr. Wright having a conversation! It has definitely inspired us to want to travel to other FLW homes/buildings!

      Reply
  6. Katie
    January 23, 2016

    I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never visited one. I’d love to, though! The grounds there look absolutely gorgeous.

    Reply
  7. Toughcookiemommy
    January 23, 2016

    This is such a beautiful travel destination. I love how blue the sky is and would love to take a dip in that pool.

    Reply
  8. Tammilee Tips
    January 23, 2016

    What an amazing place to visit. I love how bright everything is and that so much natural light is allowed in!

    Reply
  9. Amber NElson
    January 24, 2016

    That looks like an amazing place. I wouldn’t mind staying for there awhile!

    Reply
  10. Kelly
    January 24, 2016

    I have been to some of Wright’s houses, but never one that I could touch! Very cool that you were able to do that. I love his eye for detail and seamlessly working natural light and the environment into the house. I was just in Scottsdale and bummed I miss this!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 28, 2016

      @Kelly, maybe it is an Arizona thing, every place we go we can touch things, it is awesome!

      Reply
  11. Dogvills
    January 24, 2016

    What an amazing place to visit. I definitely have see this. Thanks for the tour.

    Reply
  12. […] I will admit when I first saw the house, I said to myself, “just a giant log cabin.” Boy, was I wrong. I haven’t been in a ton of historical homes, but I have visited my fair share.  Mostly on the East Coast and mainly presidential homes like Mt. Vernon, Monticello and The Hermitage.  Of course, I’ve been in a ton of chateaus in France.  I also really loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West. […]

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  13. […] visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous home, Taliesin West, in the winter and absolutely loved it. I can tell you for a fact that you do not want to visit it […]

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  14. […] was so enlightening to visit the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. The organic architecture of Taliesin West, located in Scottsdale, was so different than what I’ve seen with commissioned work like the […]

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