A Usonian design that grew out of FLW’s earlier Prairie style houses, it was a modest one-story structure designed for the masses.
Sign me up! As one of the masses living in suburbia, I’m always looking for distinction (and an
affordable wooded lot) in the midst of my cookie cutter existence.
Wright was 86 when he designed Kentuck Knob for the Hagans (Isaac Newton and his wife Bernardine) in 1953. Wow, no Social Security for this workhorse! The Hagan's were looking to “partially remove” themselves from urban living.
I.N. Hagen gave $96,000 when it was all said and done, just a bit more than his $60,000 stipulated budget (Hagan gave Wright a budget exactly half of what he was actually willing to pay after Kaufmann warned I.N. of Wright’s propensity to run over budget).
British Lord Peter Palumbo, former Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain and architecture connoisseur gave up $600,000 in 1985 when he purchased Kentuck Knob. Peter Palumbo obviously doesn’t take his architecture connoisseur status lightly; he also bought Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois in 1968 and sold the house in auction in 2003, preferring to make Kentuck Knob his primary residence while in the United States.
Lord Palumbo and his wife Hayat Mroue opened Kentuck Knob for tours in 1996.
The 2200 square foot house is bigger than most Usonian homes; the crescent-shaped design is also unique. Wright likened it to that of a “polliwog.” The large living room and kitchen constitute the head or body; the four bedrooms form the tail.
I was suitably impressed by the hexagonal stone core (for those geometrically challenged, six equilateral triangles combine to form a hexagon) that housed the kitchen and rose above the hipped roof at the intersection of the living and bedroom wings.
Bottom Line on Kentuck Knob:
Verdict: I could actually see myself living in this modest house as opposed to the larger Fallingwater. This is a place of serenity, harmony, peace nestled in the woods as it is. I could probably give up my blood pressure medication if I lived here year round. If you make it to western Pennsylvania to see Fallingwater, be sure to continue seven miles down Chalk Hill-Ohiopyle Road to Kentuck Knob. You won’t regret it.
How to Get There: From Fallingwater head south on Fallingwater Road toward PA-381 N/Mill Run Road/Whites Bridge Road. Turn right onto PA-381 S/Mill Run Road. In approximately 4 miles, turn right onto Ohiopyle Road/Sr2010. Look for Kentuck Road/Sr2010, turn left to arrive at destination.
Insider Information: Because tours of both Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob are popular, certainly make reservations online prior to arriving. Private tours for both Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob can be secured through the Fallingwater website.