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On January 24, 2018, I began my training to become a docent (tour guide) at Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Hollywood, in Los Angeles.

If you followed our Blog last summer, you know that we visited several (15?) FLlW* buildings on that trip.  Somewhere along the way I said to myself, I could do this – spend my days in a beautiful house and tell people all about it all day…

When we returned home in October, 2017, I applied to be a docent at every Frank Lloyd Wright house in Southern California that is open to the public.   I found out that there is  exactly ONE Frank Lloyd Wright house in Southern California that is open to the public.  This house is known as Hollyhock House.

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The Hollyhock was Aline Barnsdall’s (the client’s) favorite flower, and Wright put stylized images of the flower all over the house – hundreds of times.  The house is quite unusual in that it is unlike any other FLlW houses.  Not Arts and Crafts, not Prairie Style, not Textile Block, and not even modern.  It is also notable to be one of the first Southern California indoor-outdoor house – each room has a corresponding patio, terrace, or lawn, with French doors connecting the indoors with the outdoors.   FLlW deplored how so many houses in Los Angeles were little stucco boxes with tiny windows in the walls, ignoring the beautiful weather outside.  Hollyhock House was his response.

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The house is also set atop a hill, something FLlW never did anywhere else.  The house dominates the hill, and has 360 degree views of all of Hollywood.   The house was originally intended to be part of a large theater and arts complex, which never came to be.   Only the main house, garage and chauffeur’s quarters, and two guest houses (A and B) were ever built.

The interiors are quite striking, with a spectacular Living Room with custom FLlW-designed furniture and bas relief artwork above the fireplace…

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I could go on and on, but to learn everything I know you will have to come visit and take the tour…

On April 12, 2018, I passed my final exam, so I am now an official docent, with a name tag and everything…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

  • I have used the initials FLlW several times in this piece.  Frank Lloyd Wright was very proud of his Welsh heritage, and the Welsh consider the double L, as in Lloyd, to be a single letter.  Frank Lloyd Wright always wrote his initials as FLlW, so I will, too…