Visiting the Farnsworth house is on all design lovers list, and is often referred to as a pilgrimage. Having dinner at the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois is a religious experience (for design geeks). A few years ago we were invited to a dear friends birthday dinner celebration, we were beyond delighted, and we were going to move any engagements to make sure we could make it. The invitation was for dinner at the worlds most gorgeous floating glass box in the woods, it was at the one and only Farnsworth House, and is an event that will not be easily forgotten. A bus trip from downtown Chicago shuffled us from one Mies building to another, and to what is often called his masterpiece. We spent a beautiful Summer evening dining on the patio, and enjoying cocktails as we freely walked around and enjoyed the house. At one point, we found several of us piled into the bathroom having a conversation about all the details with a glass of wine in hand. We might have even cheekily called each other from the operating rotary phone in the bedroom. It was the night that the Frost House got to meet the Farnsworth House. We frequently joke that if IKEA was to make a version of the Farnsworth, it would likely be the Frost House.
It is here! Our first feature in print thanks to Indianapolis Monthly – Feb Edition 2018. It is a lovely piece written by Gina Bazer and photography by Bob Coscarelli. Our favorite quote in the article ….
Constructed of steel and aluminum modules in different colors, the Frost House winks at passing drivers like a Mondrian painting in the middle of a forest.
Thanks for the enchanting chat about the house Gina, we had fun reliving the story, and we continue to enjoy finding out more facts – it is like a good archeological dig.
Look for the FEB 2018 Edition on news stands or pick up a copy for your favorite digital reader through an app like Zinio.
It never gets old, even if it is incredibly cold, but watching snow fall on this house from: the outside-in; or the inside-out it, is magical. Someone asked, how much snow the flat-roof can manage, and we did a little digging into the sales materials we have. Apparently, the roof is engineered and tested to withstand 84 pounds per square foot, which means the roof can manage up to 5 feet of wet snow.
We were curious to see how the new fence was going to hold-up in the extreme temperatures. So far it is doing great, it has withstood incredibly high winds, excessive rain, and now snow and temperatures that haven’t been above freezing point for weeks on end. We are giving the ‘polycarbonate’ material the ‘thumbs-up’.
And of course we couldn’t have a photo shoot without Banksy in a picture or two.
Our friend Tim Hills of Tryscraft was doing some research and came across this gem of an article, on Alside Homes and Emil Tessin, teaching us that Emil has other buildings out there in the wild.
What is so fantastic, is to learn that Emil Tessin designed the incredible Alside HQ that is still standing in Ohio today. There have been some modifications to the building, but it is a very handsome piece of architecture.
It is unfortunate to read that Jerome Kaufman and Emil had some disagreements over the design, and was likely the start of the demise of their relationship. I wonder what really happened to prevent the design from being completed as Emil intended.
Here is a picture of the HQ shortly after completion ….
Here are some images from google earth of the building today.
Thanks to a reader from Belgium, they reached out to inform us that on Jan 6th 2018 a story had been run on ‘The Frost House’. That explains the spike in google search visits from Belgium. The home appeared on Zimmo – from what we can gather is like a Zillow in Belgium, with the headline: In this unique house, time has stood still for almost 60 years.
We didn’t know that they were going to be doing a story, so some of the facts are not quiet right, but none-the-less it is fun to see the home being appreciated around the globe. Oh! And we love that they included some photos of the home from the real estate listing to how things are today – for a comparison.
Here is the ‘google translate’ of the story from English to Dutch. Of course dome pieces got ‘lost in translation’ but it make for an entertaining read for those that are not so fluent in Dutch:
Bob Coscarelli and Karen Valentine rubbed their hands when they saw this gem. This prefab house from 1958 was then assembled at 48 hours and – due to an impeccable dedication of the previous owners – still looks exactly like it did then. “When we saw the house, we thought it was too good to be true.”
A dream come true.
This house is like a kind of time capsule, where you can not only discover how people lived in the 60s, you can just continue the tradition. This unique find was for the Coscarelli family the perfect end to a laborious house hunt. So they first bought a piece of land to build a house, but they blew the deal at the last minute because of cold fear.
The big disappointment quickly gave way to happiness when they saw this beautiful prefab cottage near Lake Michigan in Indiana (USA). The house was made by the company Alside Homes in 1958 at 48 hours by attaching steel frames of 1.3 square meters to each other with aluminum plates and where the necessary insulation was attached. In itself nothing special, were it not that the house is very unique because the company even before it was big breakthrough, was declared bankrupt. It did not deter the former inhabitants – the Frost family – and they fell in love with the house, including all Knoll’s furniture and the design by former interior architect Paul McCobb.
In Michigan, one Dr. Robert Frost at the time at the house and he not only wanted to buy the house, but also any piece of furniture that could be made by Knoll at the time had to be in it. He lived there with his family for 58 years, until he died in 2016. His wife died at the end of last year. When the Coscarelli family bought the house afterwards, it included the contents of the former owners.
And if you think that all of that has known its best time, you did not know the Frosts. More than five decades, the house was treated with unprecedented love. For example, the house was cleaned several times a day – with the same as when the house was bought – and every piece of furniture in the living room (s) had to be at exactly the same spot after cleaning.
The soundness of old household appliances you hear more often in the elderly from your family, but a whole house that has been inhabited for no less than 58 years by a whole family and where everything seems almost untouched, is unique. When the Coscarelli family moved in, they replaced the taps, floor and dishwasher in the kitchen – the heart of a home. All other devices were retained.
In the bedrooms in the time again stand still. Both the nursery with bunk beds, the master bedroom and the queen room – their nickname for the guest room – have remained almost untouched. For example, even the paint on the doors is still almost 60 years ago and the glass wall of the late interior architect Paul McCobb remained intact.
In 1958 there was even room in a house to relax. For example, a small desk was set up and there was room for a mini-library where you can relax in the evening with a good book. And everything you see is also authentic. From an old painting to a lamp from 1940. Some of the unique gems to preserve a rustic character were not received by the Coscarelli family.
We already take off our hat for the families Frost and Coscarelli. This property is unique and we are fan! You too?
Here is a link to the article.
Well it just goes to show that these Alside prefabricated homes, of which there were 22 models to select from, and were granted a patent in 1962 have stood the test of time. Dwell have started to compile their ‘Top Ten’ lists for 2017, and we were blown away to see our little house listed as #1. See the whole article here.