Monday, October 26, 2015

A Home in Ebsworth Park

One last posting from St. Louis.  We certainly had a typical cool fall day when we visited this house last Saturday.  And to clarify where Ebsworth Park is located, especially for those of you who live in St.Louis and never have heard of the park, it can be found in the Sugar Creek Valley of Kirkwood.  It is a county park which comprises the home and grounds of Russel and Ruth Kraus.   Their home, completed in 1955, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is one of 60 Usonian homes designed by the architect during the period of time (around 1936 onward) when the American economy was taking a downturn and there was a demand for middle-income family homes.
I at first, with camera in hand, wandered around the home looking for the front part of it.  Silly me, I should have remembered from visiting other Frank Llloyd Wright homes, that there usually is not an obvious front entrance.  Pictured above is the main entrance, and where we entered the building to begin our guided tour.  Before we entered the house our tour guide pointed out the bricks, which are in the shape of parallelograms.  They had to be specially made, and the only company who was willing to do it in the 1950s was a brick company in Alton, Illinois. At that time there was also only one contractor willing to take on the construction of the home.  The home is pictured below, perhaps you can get a general idea of how it looks on the outside.  It does look like a typical  F.L.Wright house, you may remember that his buildings have an emphasis on horizontal lines.  It was the best shot I could get of the outside.
John thinks that it is somewhat in the shape of a trapezoid.  I do not remember much from my high school geometry class, but there is some kind of a connection between parallelograms, trapezoids, hexagons and triangles.  Oh, throw in right angles while you are contemplating them!  Pictured below is the patio area, which encompasses the front entrance.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside of the house, but all of the geometric shapes mentioned above are continued inside; in the walls and ceilings, book shelves and furniture.  The later are original to the home and designed by F.L.Wright.  There are two bedrooms in the home, in one bedroom the bed is hexagonal and in the master bedroom the bed is in the shape of a trapezoid. They had to be custom made.  If Russel and Ruth Kraus had children (which they did not) I am sure they would have aced their geometry classes!  As we were exiting the house John, ever the practical one, expressed concern that there no gutters.  Oops, that would not have been a F.L Wright house if there were gutters.  His buildings are all about artistic design, not practicality.  The house in the early years also did not have central air conditioning.  Wright's advice to Mr. and Mrs. Kraus was to open up the doors and windows.  Maybe he never lived in Missouri during the summer!

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