Site Visit: Hanna House or Hexagons on Steroids

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Despite being an interior designer, I still get most of my inspiration from architecture, and I'm most impressed with designers who excel at both architecture and interiors. The prolific Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) is probably considered the ultimate architect/interior designer as he custom designed all of his interiors and furnishings in addition to the architecture. Recently, his Hanna House located in Stanford, CA, was reopened to visitors, and I took a Saturday morning last month to take a tour.

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Designed in 1936 for Stanford Professor Paul Hanna, this was Wright’s first experiment with the honeycomb shape. There are zero right angles in this home - even the custom furniture and fireplaces follow the hexagon design! This also meant that the construction back in the first half of the 20th century had to be insanely accurate - one skewed angle, and the whole pattern is off. All the floors are made of concrete, and at the time, Wright wanted to install radiant heating into the floors, but the clients declined due to concerns about maintenance. Another design detail that was way beyond Wright’s time is the speakers located throughout the entire home that are hidden behind fabric panels - you don't even notice them.

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Both cement and hex tiles are having a heyday right now, but why not combine the two? My favorite source for cement hex tiles is local designer favorite Cle´ Tile, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. These tiles will develop a gorgeous patina over time and are a great way to add color to a small space. The Hanna House is probably too much hex and concrete for most people, but a kitchen or bath floor might be the perfect amount.