“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never
Dear Mr. Wright,
…I say to you now what the house means, as daily, daily. I find new joy in it as the lovely thing it is, and this experience of growing will continue with the seasons … I feel the house entering my consciousness more and more clearly. I never noticed before in all my life how the days lengthen and I catch glimpses of the sun on the Holyoke Range which were there to be seen all the time if only one looked – and if one lived in a house which looks out as this one does. Waking up is a joy. There is the world around us, not within my own brainbox. Even sitting with my back to the south I am conscious of a direction, an opening out. And wherever the eye pauses there is the pleasure of the lines and varied colors and textures of the lovely wood. We came to you in the first place knowing that you could design such a house, but actually knowing the experience of living day by day, where the walls are not barriers, where there are satisfactions for the senses in just moving from one room to another, that is more wonderful than I ever hoped … You live in our minds daily, momently, as the creator of this.
ABOUT THE JOHN D. HAYNES HOUSE
John D. Haynes was a successful insurance company executive who wrote a letter to Mr. Wright in 1949 asking him to design a house for him, his wife and their two young children. Mr. Haynes specifically asked for a “modest and functional house” for his family. Surprisingly, Mr. Wright responded by accepting the invitation. Mr. Wright completed the working drawings of the house two years later in 1951. The house was completed in 1952 seven years before Mr. Wright died at the age of 92.
The Haynes house is one of only 58 Usonian houses in the country. The Haynes house is considered to be built exactly as Mr. Wright specified in his drawings of the house. No elegant detail was spared in order to save expense as occurred with many other of Mr. Wright’s Usonian houses. You will find no inexpensive concrete block but warm pink brick coupled with rare and costly Red Tidewater Cypress. Frank Lloyd Wright scholars have attributed the Haynes house as one of the best layouts of all his Usonian houses.
Mr. Wright orchestrated the compact design around a simple square. He enlarged and rotated that square over and over, the same way a composer creates a score using recurrent musical theme. The house abounds with Wrightisms: Unnecessary curves and superficial decorations have been eliminated. Natural materials - particularly brick and sturdy tidewater red cypress - have been used indoors and out. The home's low, horizontal lines blend with their natural surroundings, a rolling 1.2-acre lot studded with bushes and trees. The gravity heating system is sunk beneath the terra-cotta floor, an idea Wright took from Japanese homes he visited in the 1920s. The lights - bare incandescent bulbs - are recessed in the wooden ceilings.
Even with just 1,411 usable square feet, there is an incredible sense of spaciousness. In the main living-dining area, tall expanses of glass bring the light and landscape indoors. A red cypress cathedral ceiling, which contrasts with low 6’8”-ceilings in the entryway and hall, follows the exact contour of the roof and adds even more visual space. A huge skylight - another Wright hallmark - fills the boxy, little kitchen with sunshine.
The living room's showpiece, a cantilevered brick fireplace that juts out into space, demonstrates Wright's mastery. Legend has it that the brick mason was afraid to kick out the props when he was done for fear the whole thing would collapse. Mr. Haynes had to kick them out himself. Today, the fireplace is still standing. The home's other six rooms - a music room, two baths and three bedrooms - feature narrow windows, cypress board-and-batten paneling and built-in shelving, desks and piano-hinged cabinets.
The current owner of the house has taken great pains in restoring the house back to the way Mr. Wright originally designed it. All of the original furniture that Frank Lloyd Wright designed specifically for the Haynes house was either not built or thrown out many years ago. All 24 pieces have been painstakingly recreated with the assistance of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The house is more complete today then when the house was first built in 1952.
TOURS ARE NOT AVAILABLE:
The mission of the John D. Haynes house is to provide the rare opportunity for Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts to actually experience living in a genuine Frank Lloyd Wright designed Usonain house. One must fully experience actually living in the house as Mr. Wright intended to fully understand Mr. Wright’s vision of “organic” architecture. Therefore, tours are not available.
©John D. Haynes House Conservancy