Field Trip to Pope-Leighey House

Last week, a bunch of us from Hardwood Artisans visited the Pope-Leighey House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. Though it was moved from Falls Church to its existing location on the grounds of Woodlawn in Alexandria in order to make way for the new Interstate 66 in 1964, the home is still oriented the way it would have been in Falls Church and great care was taken to adjust the topography of the new location to closely match the old.

Unfortunately, taking pictures inside is not allowed, but the photographers in our group (Alanna, our marketing coordinator, Jason, a craftsman and design team member and Mark, one of the owners) got some great shots of the exterior.

Here’s a selection:

The cantilevered roof makes the home appear much larger than it actually is. In reality, it is only 1200 square feet.

The cantilevered roof makes the home appear much larger than it actually is. In reality, it is only 1200 square feet.

A great view of the entirety of the cantilevered roof.

A great view of the entirety of the cantilevered roof.

View of the private side of the home from behind the hemicycle garden.

View of the private side of the home from behind the "hemicycle" garden.

Holes cut into the cantilevered roof in back allow more light to enter the childrens bedroom at the back of the home.

Holes cut into the cantilevered roof in back allow more light to enter the childrens' bedroom at the back of the home.

By leaving the wood unfinished, the home requires no paint and no exterior maintenance. It was designed to weather to match the bark of the trees on the property.

By leaving the wood unfinished, the home requires no paint and no exterior maintenance. It was designed to weather to match the bark of the trees on the property.

Most of us were fairly disappointed by the furniture, which was innovative, but not particularly well-designed. For example, all the tables in the home are the same size and height, which meant than the owner could use them to create one very large table, but the legs were awkwardly positioned in relation to the chairs, meaning you would nearly always be straddling either a leg or a seam between the tables. The furniture was also all plywood, which was a new, hip, expensive material when the home was built, but which looks rather unfinished to the modern eye.

That said, there was some fabulous floating shelving in the living room where they used L-brackets, but put the bottom part of the “L” behind the paneling so the shelves are more stable than the floating shelves you would typically see today.

All in all, it was a really fun trip. Despite our reservations about the furniture, the architecture is interesting and getting the story behind the home and the two families who owned it was enlightening.

Hi from Jason, Mark, Alison, Alanna, Katie & Edwin!

Hi from Jason, Mark, Alison, Alanna, Katie & Edwin!

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