Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to extend a "Happy Holidays" from us at BJW Architecture to my blog subscribers! I hope everyone's year end is filled with smiles, laughter and joy. I have 15 hours of driving ahead of me, but, it'll all be worth snuggling up with my new husband to celebrate with my new and old families! From me to you: warm hugs and infinite stars to wish upon for this wonderful time of year! Cheers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

From the files of "How cool is this?" Part II

Hello! I have been really busy in the past few weeks at work, which is my own personal "How cool is this?", so I haven't had a ton of time that I usually allot to researching World War II Bunker design, mountain town art schools, or White Supremacist toy peddlers. I suppose I will have to figure out time management again. *sigh* I have decided to show you another installment of trends and designs in my world of interior design. I hope you enjoy, and I hope all is well in your worlds!

The candles and candle holders are from This site is featured in some of my design magazines and never fails to "wow" me with unique items from home decor to jewelry.

I am totally in love (and have been for many years) with ornate or plain furniture with funky color and/or fabric combinations. This below is a shining example, but not necessarily a cheap one. This piece can go in a more modern setting or, dare I say, a traditional one? The table below can be found at and is called the Palazzo Caponi Console. Love it, love it, love it.This here below isn't necessarily what you'd see in my dream home, but I thought it was really cool anyway. The picture is hard to see, but if you look closely at the glass, there is a tv screen embedded in the glass. Although it is super cool technology, I am not sure why we are pushed to the development edge on this one, or simply why there is a need to watch TV while scrubbing your pearls with the last of your Colgate paste. This puts me in mind of an old classmate in college. he was very "gadgety" and usually had this type of stuff in his projects. Good old Casey. This, and more information can be found at

I should probably apologize to you ,my reader, for a few reasons.

1. I haven't blogged in ages. I realize that you aren't up in the wee hours (like I am now), wondering if I could pull together a few paragraphs on something feigning design blogging. But, you as my reader, deserve more out of me, so I will try harder: for you.

2. I couldn't sleep. For all I know, this is written in "wingding" font. And, if it isn't, it probably makes as much sense.

There is a light at the end of the long dark tunnel of tuning into my blog. I am getting ready to head literally half way around the world to Tasmania. I will have (hopefully) a series of blogs on my adventures with my new husband, who right now, is tucked warmly in our bed upstairs, perhaps even dreaming of sugarplums ('tis the season). Maybe he is awake though, and wondering where the "eff "I am.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The New Yankees Stadium

On the corner of East 161st St. and River Avenue sits the new home of the Yankee’s, Yankee Stadium II. I realize this is the second new stadium I have written about, but it couldn’t be more perfect, considering tonight is Game 6 in New York and the potential win for the Bronx Bombers. This will be the 27th World Series victory for the organization.

I first got a glimpse of the interior in 'Pinstripe Pride', and article in Contract Magazine’s August 2009 issue. Inevitably, the interior was custom made, and had an extreme attention to detail. This was, and still is, in stark contrast to the rest of the building climate this year. The estimated cost of the stadium alone (not parking, civil improvements, etc.) was $1.5 billion and designed by HOK Sports, with hospitality interiors by II by IV Design Associates.

In true “New Yorker” form, the construction didn’t just start in 2006. It dripped with sentimentality and purpose, and started on the 58th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s death. Quite fitting for the downfall of his “house” across the street, I think. Rumor has it that a worker put a David Ortiz (Red Sox player) jersey in the wall of the home dugout to return the favor for the “Curse of the Bambino” at Fenway Park. He was “tattled on” by other workers and was forced to exhume the remnant.

(image from:

Why did they build a new stadium, you ask? Greed? Kind of. Originally, owner George Steinbrenner deemed the South Bronx too dangerous for fans in the early 1980’s. Just after that, the Yankees gained popularity and because Mattingly wouldn’t cut his hair. Kidding. They were winning, so it allowed for increased security at the park, and record fan turnouts. So basically, across the street didn’t look so bad anymore. In the early 21st Century, Mr. Giuliani stated publicly that there were negotiations in the works, but new Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted the funding for the new stadium (and new Mets stadium) halted. The final result was that the city owns the property still, charges the Yankees organization rent, and doesn’t require them to pay taxes. It was finally opened in April of this year.

Okay, the whole point of this blog is to get you all pumped up for the game tonight, so I will leave you now with pictures of the stadium and images of World Series victories…but first, a piece of an old familiar song….

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team.
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

– Jack Norworth

Note: The following interiors pictures are from Contract magazine, and designed by II by IV Design Associates.

Lou Gehrig’s mug on the wall of The Legends Suite Dugout Lounge for premium seats. Ticket holders pay upwards of $350/per ticket for the game, but do have access to this area. I am a big fan of super graphics!

NYY Steak: Open to the public with GORGEOUS black oak floors, custom “Yankees” carpets and “walls of backlit, acid –etched bronze mirrors of the or autographs of people who have contributed to Yankee History” –Contract Magazine

Access to the Legends Suite Club at Gate 4. The blue glass flanking the stairs have interlocking NY logo to make up the pattern. I haven’t seen this in person, but it already looks a little dated to me.

A Scene from the past…

(image from:


for more pictures, please visit:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Step Pyramid at Saqqara

Where do I start with this one? Maybe I should start at the end……the only content from this tomb is a mummified left foot and a pile of rock. Okay, now let’s move backward. The Step Pyramid for Djoser (Zoser) was the largest pyramid of it’s time when completed around 2600 B.C., and was made of stone, not mud and clay like its edificial predecessors.

(image from:

The tomb was built in the third dynasty in Egypt (the Early Dynastic period, if anyone cares) and was meant to be the final resting place for the Pharoah, Djoser. Well, this guy reigned north and south Egypt for almost 20 years, (some say 30) and gave the Architect, Imhotep, plenty of time to keep building and building and turning this tomb into a complex. This complex trumped any previous tomb to date in size. It is one of 97 pyramids found at Saqqara near the necropolis (City of the dead) Memphis, Egypt. It still remains, although its outer limestone shell has since disintegrated.

The final pyramid design ended up being 6 stepped levels above ground, built one at a time. Each level is called a mastaba. Or “bench”. As usual, there was a maze of chambers underground as well. It is believed that the complex, as a whole, emulates the kingship of Djoser over the North and South of Egypt. There are double courts and two mock palaces within the temple walls. Today a scale model is housed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I know, because I was just there and I saw it!

Egyptians believed that the structure of the tomb was relevant in this life and the afterlife. The steps have been thought to be a way to ascend to the North Star. Others have suggested that they resemble a crown, but the definitive reason for the shape is unknown. And the tombs have always been grand enough to accommodate even the richest, pickiest king in all the land in the afterlife. There were also false doors along the enclosure wall used for the King’s use in the afterlife, and for the Ka (soul) to move in and out of the tomb. In the years after the construction was complete, this complex doubled as a distribution center for agricultural products that flowed into this funerary estate. Having said that, I suppose I should pay homage to this tomb and complex for being one of the first distribution centers. Today's distribution centers are still made of stone and are also enormous. However, you won't find anyone's Ka there, though. They are generally pretty soulless. We have, however, refined the art of Code compliance. That is, until the current code changes or the wind blows.

(image from

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frank Gehry

I swear; I feel compelled to write about an Architect because this is what I used to have to do for piano class. (Of course, the subject then was a composer) Well, let me back up. This is what I’d forget to do, and then my best friend would write my biography for me while I went into my lesson, and vice versa. This is my reparation for it…..

Ephraim Owen Goldberg is one of the greatest living Architects of our time. You may know him better as Frank Gehry, the Canadian guy who gave us edificial eye candy all over the world. He is one of the outliers of contemporary Architecture and is referred to as a “Starchitect” in reference to his celebrity status. (I didn’t make it up)

Gehry was born in Toronto Canada on February 28th, 1929. As a boy, his grandmother encouraged him to be creative. He built little cities out of scrap wood and anything that he could use from his grandfathers hardware store. He is now known as the ‘the apostle of chain-link fencing and corrugated metal siding‘; Makes sense. His designs are in step with Deconstructionism or Decon Architecture.

With fame, comes judgment. He is criticized for his reuse of ideas and the similarity of his designs. His uniqueness is also mistaken for crudeness, but it has been proven that he is ‘a sophisticated classical artist”.

One of the most phenomenal aspects of his craft, to me, is that he is known for meeting budgets. Any building can easily go way over budget, but especially “show stopping” pieces are prone to it. It has been reported that the Sydney Opera House was over budget...just a little. (originally budgeted at $7 million, completed at $102 million) But, Geary’s come in on budget and on time. Bravo Frank!

Not only is he an architect, but he has a jewelry and furniture line as well. He is inspired by fish, and loves hockey. What a canuck.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of his buildings to enjoy!

Royal Canadian Museum

*I will see you soon, my friend. Inside and out.*

The Dancing House - Prague, Czechoslovakia

*Also "The drunk House" or "Fred And Ginger" *

Walt Disney Concert Hall - Los Angeles, California

*hard edges: shimmer in the SoCal sun*

Gehry House - Hanover, Germany

*assymetrical: yet orderly*

The Guggenheim Museum - Balboa, Spain

*snake like and brittle: perhaps his most famous*

Frank Gehry's private residence

*Gehry got acclaim : paper architect no more*

Kitchen at Gehry's residence

*oh my! This kitchen I do adore!*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

X-Ray Spex and the Aryan Nation

I heard a stint on the radio yesterday, that really made me smile, and freightened me too. It was about X ray glasses, sea monkeys, and their inventor. My generation was on the tail end of novelty toys, sadly, but I did dabble in the fine art of using trick ink and cultivating a farm of Amazing Hair Raising Monsters.

Back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, kids clamored for comic books. The advertisements in in the comic books were targeted directly at the heart of every kid’s fantasy world of alternate universes, crime solving and prank pulling. One of the inventors of such novelty toys, had 195 patents, was a marketing genius, and a bigot. (yuk!)

Harold von Braunhut was Jewish, and evidently supported the Aryan Nation by purchasing fire arms for the Ku Klux Klan, and speaking at Aryan Conferences. He was quoted as saying, "Hitler wasn't a bad guy. He just received bad press." He died on November 28, 2003 at the age of 77, after an accidental fall. By the way, November 28th, is the day that I am to be wed this year!

von Braunhut invented Sea Monkeys, Amazing Hair raising Monsters, Invisible Goldfish and X-Ray Spex. Let’s break this down.

Everyone knows what Sea Monkeys are. The ad pitch looked like this:

image from www.wishlistnuwp/

And you got this…. in a plastic tank

image from:

They were simply Brine Shrimp. Imagine if this guy had to pitch a High School Biology class to children?! They are supposedly “Sea Monkeys” because they are
1. in water
2. Have Tails
3. Are playful like a primate.....?

The secret formula for the revival of the “Sea Monkeys” was kept secret by the inventor and his wife.

Another product “invented” by von Braunhut was the Invisible Goldfish:
Come on! Only a child with a piggy bank burning a hole would actually go for this. The funny part about this one is that it was guaranteed!!!!

X Ray Spex:
The Ad should have said, “For the Pervert in all of us”, but instead was “see the bones in your hand and see through clothes.”

These were nothing more than a cheap pair of plastic glasses with cardboard lenses with a hole. In each hole, there was a feather, and it refracted images and gave the illusion of an X- ray. If a kid would have broken this down for a moment, they could have saved their money for the Johnny Bench rookie card. We are all required to put on ironclad suits to get an X-ray at the hospital because the rays are so dangerous. Adults didn’t have any type of X-ray glasses, and in hind sight, $1.25 wouldn’t have covered the cost per pair.

Now, a kid doesn’t think about this, especially one with raging hormones. This product was going to change his/her (most likely his) life. Now, he can see what are behind closed doors, and learn of the inner workings of a woman and her bra. He’d be a man. He’d know only what adults did, and at such a young age! Well, I guess some of that statement is true. He’d learn the very adult disappointments of life, and that not everything is what it seems at all.

Image from:

So, what have we learned today? As children, our parents mowed grass, had a paper route and took out the trash in order to secretly buy gimmicks that would transform their lives. Instead, a piece of junk arrived and their money went straight to the munitions of white supremacists, or so it is alleged.

For more information about von Braunhut’s life, go to:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Subject Blows!

No doubt, Upstate NY is beautiful in the spring, summer and fall; and no doubt it is a polluted state. However, they have wind turbines off I-390 that are absolutely breathtaking in size, presence and abundance. They are producing clean energy for power. Seeing them is one of the highlights to my often travelled trek from Buffalo to Horseheads. There is resistance to the placement of these “farms” near homes, schools and communities, however. New York Currently has 14 different projects running this year.

image from:

How it works:

Wind energy is quite simple, but very complicated. In short, the wind turns the blades, then it is “harnessed” by a nacelle. Here is a cross section:

The energy moves southward into the “stem” or the horizontal axis turbine. Each of the windmills has a box that is the point that is the first voltage increase, there is a second voltage increase after travelling a ways down a power line. The electricity then moves across power lines to the transmission towers, (The ones that look like metal Tasmanian devils to me), which is then brought to consumers. You and I! They are touted for their renewable energy, but run into many other obstacles.

Some of the elements the Department of Environmental Conservation studies are the migratory patterns of birds and bats, near the windmills, to ensure that they are not disrupted. Why? You ask…. There is not just one windmill in one area. They are omniscient in these groupings and loom over the landscape. (and are $3million a pop). They range any where from 2-3 to thousands in one area. Don Quixote would be absolutely terrified!

A lot of communities near these wind turbines are a-complainin’ about a lot of different elements from these monsters. alleges that the low frequency noise is possibly the cause of Mad Cow Disease. Also, the low frequency noise is very loud, and impossible to get used to. Wind Turbine Syndrome, as taken directly from the eponymous website has the following symptoms:

1) Sleep problems: noise or physical sensations of pulsation or pressure make it hard to go to sleep and cause frequent awakening.
2) Headaches which are increased in frequency or severity.

3) Dizziness, unsteadiness, and nausea.

4) Exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression.

5) Problems with concentration and learning.

6) Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Image from:

Last year, Jack Sullivan wrote an article for The Empire Page, detailing the dismal returns that the turbines have had. The energy output is too little and for too many people and suggests that this is an “Elaborate tax break” for the state. Money is being redirected from schools and hospitals to these turbines that are seemingly not very efficient. As we all know, New York State is full of upstanding politicians that are honest, loyal to their wives and great with money. Why would this project be any different? There is a plan to place turbines near Long Island and perhaps off shore in the ocean and Great Lakes in the near future. My opinion is that anything new will come up against conflict and resistance. I didn’t intend for my blog to be a negative “spin” on wind power plants, but in NYS, that is a prevalent theme in a lot of the articles that I came across.

Obviously, Upstate New York isn’t the only place with wind energy. They can be found in North America, Europe Asia and the Pacific. New Zealand has had turbines since the 1990’s (as opposed to UNY’s 2006 installation). New Zealand is a conducive place for this type of energy because it has a lot of coast line, and therefore, more sea breeze. Of course, Denmark has been successfully using wind power for decades and is arguably the PR agent of the windmill, or vice versa.

image from:

Just remember folks, even though wind turbines are found world wide, America is where we originated “Wind Turbine Syndrome”. Boo-yah!

For more information about Wind Power in New York, please visit:

Thank you for reading my blog and have a nice day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A book called Entourage

Art School is a funny place. I was in the Interior Design program at the University of Georgia about 2… 5…. I mean, 10 years ago. It produced some of my best memories and some that frankly, still make me shiver. This blog is a step back in time for me, and may very well be the dumbest composition you have ever read. You may also think I am certifiably crazy to boot.

Some of the bad things were:

1. Dropping my perpetually dull X-acto blade onto my toe
2. Endless days of wake, then hearing that Melanie had to go to the hospital for exhaustion (or flu).
3. Model making
4. Model making
5. Model making
6. Having roommates in other programs that just didn’t understand where you were and why you couldn’t make it to happy hour.
7. The guy with the white belt, and tight Budweiser sweater who everyone but me thought was hot.

Some of the good things were:

1. The bonding with friends, with a backdrop of Oldies radio
2. The delirium
3. The eventual degree
4. The papers that we had to write that we were told needed to “look pretty”, rather than have profound content. (Explains a lot, huh?)
5. Fridays off (even though I needed to be in the studio, I didn’t feel that I was “tied” there, and I certainly didn’t have to sit in an Interior Finishes class for seemingly 10 hours.)
6. THE ENTOURAGE BOOK , by Earnest Burden.

1. The front cover

2. an example of one page of 309

For all of you who don’t know what an Entourage book is, it is an ‘old school’ template book of various shapes, sizes of people, trees cars and birds for Perspectives and scene drawings; a tracing file, as the title suggests.

Your Entourage usage evolves. First, you start with “normal” people that are normal size for your drawing. As you get more comfortable, you’ll get more daring. Rather, at 4:12 AM you get the “eff it” attitude. That is when the fun begins; and continues.

(normal people. Notice the difference in size)

Some of the pictures in this book are so ridiculous when out of context, that I wanted to share some with you because, well, they make me smile.

This guy I would envision this guy at the night......with sunglasses.

Henpecked, sweaty man is always good for a laugh. Perhaps coming out of a strip club...


Nude Sunbathers..or perhaps something else.

I also have one very dear to my heart. I named him Robbie. He was in a wheelchair and apparently loved and emulated David Cassidy. He was in a few of my renderings. He was wonderful.

The Entourage people were all wonderful. You could place them anywhere, any which way you could think. My friend, Sarah, had a girl being stalked once in a park in NYC by a guy with a trench coat. The Stalked was Polly Prissy Pants. I can’t remember the marauder, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. He is now referred to as #1240976 these days.

One time (of many) we all got ornery and ready to quit school altogether, until flaming bags of “poo” entered our lives. They were “original creations” that could not be found in the Entourage books. It is great when everyone banded together for one cause. We added a flaming bag of s*** into our rendering for a conference center that we were designing. I drew the front desk, and the employee was handing the guest my bag. Sarah, (same girl with stalkers above) had to render a guest room. Hers was on the table up front in the scene, with a light shining on it. Good times.

Trees in the summer and winter

Ah, what a trip down memory lane! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Even as I read this, I can see the stupidity of it all, and perhaps, that was the best part of design school!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Cowboys Stadium

I hate the Cowboys and always have. I am not really a huge football fan in general, but I did watch the Giants/Cowboys game Sunday night at Dallas at their brand new facility. The new stadium is ridiculous; ridiculous in size and scope.

(image from:

One thing that caught my attention, while watching the Cowboys lose to the GMen, is that the announcers were discussing how comfortably cool it was before to roof and sides of the stadium were opened (by the way, opened to "Bad to the Bone"), then how during the game, it reached 87 degrees and "balmy". Four players had to get IV’s because of the heat in there. What?!

The other item that sparked my interest was the giant plasma screen mounted above the playing field. The screens are monstrous, and apparently very clear. There is controversy that it is mounted too low, since punters can kick a ball to touch it, like at the preseason game against the Titans.

(image from

The Sports commentators, just before commercial breaks, were touring the TV audience through the bowels of the score board and told us all how the plasma picture is so concise, that the ticket holders were able to catch the earlier games. They are huge. As a matter of fact, the screen structure weighs 600 tons. Imagine the structure to hold that up? Yikes.

The following will be a rundown like Modern Marvels, without the voiceover, commercials, interesting facts or film footage. Here we go…

Architect: HKS in Dallas, Texas – Bryan Trubey

Name: The Cowboys Stadium
There was a push to call it Tom Landry Stadium, but owner Jerry Jones, ultimately went with an incredibly utilitarian name instead.

Cost: $1.5 Billion
Funded partly by the City of Dallas and mostly by Cowboys Franchise owner Jerry Jones.

Size: 3 million square feet
300,000 of which is designated to restaurants, retail and promotional areas.

Slideshow of the construction of The Cowboys Stadium:

..with a promise of Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi to serenade your journey!

(image from

Not only to be used for football games, it is a venue for concerts, events and contests. Bryan Trubey, the architect, said that it was the events that the stadium was more difficult to design for, not the football games.
Jerry Jones said, “We wanted to offer a real experience that you can't have at home, but to see it with the technology that you do have at home."

(image from:

The roof is 660,800 sf, 105,000 sf of which is a retractable roof. It takes 12 minutes to open.
There are 50,000 bolts in the arch spans of the roof, and are ¼ mile long.
Exterior fa├žade has 800’-0” of glass exterior. Glass system is 86’-0” high.
Total length from end-zone retractable wall to the other is 900’-0”

The Architecture is different than the recent past stadium designs. Stadiums have tried to hit heavy on nostalgia with brick exteriors and retro dripped interiors. This one is more 50’s modern to some degree. It is cold, sprawling, and eye catching. The New York Times argues that it is not as modern or cutting edge as recent world arenas have been designed. The design was unveiled in 2006, so if you think all the way back to the good old days, you may remember that was a time of the “one up” and keeping up with the (Jerry) Joneses, and oddly, the Kardashians too. (What do they do anyway?) For America, the concept and design is….notable and good.

The Good things I have heard about it:

The space and suites are “column free”, and has the largest expanse in a room with no column obstructions.

Can seat up to 100,000 for special events; 73,000 regularly.

Doesn’t have a corporate name, yet.

The huge retractable roof was designed because, "They talk about God watching us at Texas Stadium," said Cowboys player Terence Newman after a miracle finish that ended in a Dallas victory against the Detroit Lions last season. It is retractable not to keep God and the Holy Spirit out, but to restrict the harsh weather that Dallas sometimes sees.

The Bad things I have heard about it:

The lower levels have a bad circulation pattern. The design routes the regular ticket holders around the suites of Daddy Warbucks and Richey Rich.

The sizes of the common areas are too big. The hallways are 65’-0” wide, and the food areas are “cavernous”. Perhaps too much square footage for such a stadium, like an 18,000 sf souvenir shop.

As stated before, the screen is too low over the field. New York Times Columnist Nicolai Ouroussoff says, “It’s a nice irony that for all the space, there may not be enough room at Cowboys Stadium to play a game.”

“Interesting” tidbit that I have heard about it:

David Flick’s article on had a quote, "I've seen Wal-Marts smaller than this," said Linda Terry of Longview.

Lol. That is all I have to say.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taliesin Massacre - 1914

In the style of Lady Gaga, my piece today is on bloody acts in history….(and Architecture in my case). Most people have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright and know of his architectural achievements to some degree. He does have a darker side to his history.

Known for his Prairie Style, and 'oragnic' Architecture, he became arguably the most famous Architect in America to date. His compound, Taliesin, was the scene of a grisly murder of seven at the hand of a servant hired just weeks prior. Frank Lloyd Wright was not present at the time, but the story is nonetheless a horrific recount of lives lost. In the years after the murder, Frank was silent about the incident, and it is difficult to know exactly what occurred that day.

For a brief background, and set up to the story, Taliesin was Frank Lloyd Wright’s residence in Wisconsin, designed by him. It was also where his school was (and still is) and is a shining example and fine achievement for the Architect. Wright grew up near this plot of land, in which its natural beauty is often attributed to his integration of the landscape with his structures.

In 1913, Mrs. Mamah Borthwick Cheney decided to move in with Wright. She was the wife of Mr. Cheney, a client of FLW. Mr. Wright had a wife and 6 children that he left for her as well. In the early 20th century, this was not socially accepted. It was excused in their case, since he was a celebrity of the time.

Some examples of work by Frank Lloyd Wright:

Falling Water:
Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr. residence (of Kaufmann's Dept. Stores)
Ca. 1934 Bear Run, Pa.
(photo from

Guggenheim Museum:

Solomon R. Guggenheim
opened in 1959, New York, New York

(picture from Wikimedia Commons)

Johnson Wax Headquarters:

S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc.
Racine, Wisconsin

(Photo by Jeff Dean , located on Wikimedia Commons)

On August 15 1914, Mrs “Mamah” Borthwick (Cheney), was hosting a lunch for nine at Taliesin; ultimately her last meal. Frank Lloyd Wright was away in Chicago working on a project.

One account says that the brutality started when Julian Carlton, a servant at the estate, asked one of the diners, Mr. Weston for some gas because there was a stain on the carpet. In what must have seemed to be a flash in time, the company, Mrs Borthwick and her two children were in a room ignited with flames. As the guests attempted to jump through glass to escape imminent death by the fire set, they were greeted by an axe wielding Julian, meeting the blade of his weapon.

Another, and perhaps more accurate account, describes Julian attacking Mamah first as she sipped soup, with “her head belching blood”. Robert Drennan’s book, in ‘Death in a Prairie House', recounts the day in gory detail. There is no question of the fire set, nor the outcome of seven lives lost.

No one could escape the dining area because Carlton had also locked the doors. He stood waiting for his victims to escape and one by one took seven of nine to an early death. Two had survived.

Julian left the fiery inferno and victims he killed and left for dead. He was soon found on the grouds nearby, after ingesting acid. He avoided an "on the spot lynching", was treated and survied the poisoning. He later died of starvation seven weeks after the incident. Taliesin was revived and is now a not for profit organization, Taliesin Preservation, Inc.

Julian Carlton

(image from

No One knows the reason for the massacre, not even the killers wife, who was also employed by Wright. His horrific acts will be ever sensationalized and remain a mystery of exactly why he was driven to murder. Speculation swirled around rumors that Carlton felt he was underpaid and/or was driven mad by Frank Lloyd Wright’s affair and co-habitation with his mistress.


(image from


(image from Taliesin Preservation, inc.)

On a MUCH lighter note: Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs the following year in 1916.

(image from