“That’s all your house is- a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”…George Carlin, STUFF
Visit our Flickr album, Built-In Storage, for a look inside EVERY closet and cabinet. https://flic.kr/s/aHskMT7F8L
We live in a house designed around someone else’s STUFF. Alma Goetsch and Katherine Winckler were artists who loved to cook and entertain at home. We are musicians who love to make reservations and entertain in other’s homes.
Fortunately, the STUFF of both artists and musicians does have a few things in common. Large canvases in progress and bulky amplifiers both need a place to hide when space is needed. Paints, brushes, and art supplies look just as messy as stacks of sheet music, instruments and electronics when strewn around a room. A large loom cannot be tucked away any more than a grand piano. Both need breathing space in the room they occupy.
With some exceptions, the built-in storage Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the G-W House works for us. There is a cavernous cabinet in the Alcove where large uglies can be hidden but easily accessed. The drop down shelves in the Gallery are perfect for stacks of music and smaller accessories that look best out of sight. With these items away when not in use, the pieces that define us (grand piano, vibraphone) become decorative and the Studio retains its original function as a multi-purpose space.
Many visitors to the G-W House have observed its compact size and then remarked, “Oh, but you don’t actually live here.” Yes, it is our second home, but we DO actually live in it. When in residence for an extended time, we have a full wardrobe in the closets and more STUFF in the cabinets than seen on a tour. We clean, do laundry, and even cook!
We are more minimalist than hoarders, but our entire wardrobes for all seasons (suitcases, too) could be stored in the bedroom closets, with coats in the hall closet and no need to add dressers in the bedrooms. There would still be room for the odd vacuum cleaner or other cleaning miscellany that would not fit in the kitchen.
BUT…take a close look at the items currently stashed in the small bedroom closet: picnic cooler, ladder, other outdoor STUFF. Additional items best stored outside: shovels, brooms, tools, etc. are also found throughout the house.
Why, you ask, are these items inside when they could be outside? Where outside? IN THE CELLAR-my worst nightmare, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s, too!
The Cellar was added by the builder without Wright’s permission because the ladies wanted storage for their jams and jellies. Wright scholars know his position on attics and cellars. NO, just NO.
As we continue our experiment in Usonian lifestyle I can tell you firsthand why I agree. Benign as it may look to some, to me the Cellar is a scary subterranean hell into which I have descended maybe 3 times in 10 years! Had FLW’s plans been followed it may have instead been a large outdoor closet easily accessed from the car port, and perfect for snow shovels, tools, bicycles, and seasonal outdoor items. Dream on!
I’ve seen beautiful, newly constructed (yes, with permits and approval) outdoor sheds at other Usonian homes, but can just imagine opening the door to one on our wooded property and finding a family of raccoons running an Animals Airbnb in our absence! So, NO on that.
I can only hope that the spirits of Alma and Katherine, the fearless midwestern women who commissioned the Cellar, are with me as I strive to conquer my phobia and descend the steps to the last storage frontier.