Wisteria in the Virginia Woods

One of the hallmarks of Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative residential architecture is his insistence on a unified home. Prairie homes eschew the compartmentalized Victorian style and prefer rooms that flow one to another. A poetic cadence weaves every space in the home together.

When Seattle architect Curtis Gelotte designed Prairie House in the Virginia Woods, he approached it with an eye for the whole. In keeping with Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic prairie style homes, Curtis sewed each space together with common themes. Wisteria blossoms lurk throughout his client’s dream house.

A Seattle architect weaves wisteria into every room of this prairie home.

In the shower, wisteria blooms from the rustic stone tile.

A Seattle architect weaves wisteria into every room of this dream house.

At the end of the hallway, wisteria drapes from the wood door.

A Seattle architect weaves wisteria into every room of this prairie home.

Wisteria blooms out of the wood in the prairie home’s light-filled art studio.


Why Wisteria?

One of Wright’s highest home design ideals was the desire to weave home and nature together. He famously commented that “no house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together, each the happier for the other.”

Curtis, himself a lover of natural beauty, welcomed nature’s beauty into the fine details of the Virginia home. Inspired by Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House, the Seattle architect incorporated wisteria blooms throughout the Virginia Woods home. The blossoming plant, a prominent plant in East Asian culture, hearkens back to Wright’s passion for Japanese art and its influence on his work.

The consistent detail throughout the home unifies spaces with an organic rhythm. Rooms that are distinct by nature (e.g. bedrooms and bathrooms from central living areas) echo one another with the familiar blossoms: subtle, yet ever present.

Such detail carried throughout a home creates a sense of harmony and comfort. In this instance, wisteria comes to equal home—stability, comfort, and natural delight.

Ultimately, the prairie home manifests the unique style of its occupants. The consistent wisteria theme imbues a sense of home and comfort among the natural world.

What theme would you carry through your dream house?