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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Vandamm House

Have you ever heard of the Vandamm House? One of the most striking examples of mid century modern architecture, designed in the manner of Fallingwater. Built, as Frank Lloyd Wright himself would say, "of the hill, not on top of the hill," this particular hill being a steep precipice right above Mount Rushmore?


No, never heard of it? Well there's probably a reason for's not real. But it's this house that's my favorite character in Hitchcock's "North By Northwest," which I watched for the first time last night. And the story of the house is just about as interesting as the movie.

When the movie was filmed, Frank Lloyd Wright was all the rage, as was his piece de resistance, Fallingwater. The problem was, he came with a price. According to Hollywood lore, he'd once had a meeting with the team putting together a movie of The Fountainhead and demanded 10% of the budget as a fee. The producers begrudgingly agreed to 10% of their set budget...but were dismayed to learn that nope, he was talking about 10% of the entire movie's budget. Needless to say there never was a Frank Lloyd Wright version of The Fountainhead....wouldn't that have been awesome though?

So if he couldn't have the real thing, Hitchcock did the next best thing and had his set designers create the greatest MCM house that never was...Vandamm House. You really have to see the movie to appreciate it. Somehow it comes off as totally current.

The house was created on a soundstage...only a few rooms were actually built, and the rest is some good old movie magic. Check out that amazing rug...I can absolutely see that being a best seller today. And that fuzzy chair, don't even get me started...divine.

Oh yeah, and Cary Grant doesn't seem to go out of style either.

If you haven't seen this movie, it's worth checking out for the great decor throughout all of the movie's locations. Have you seen it? -Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Lori said...

Coolest movie EVER and awesome locale. Thanks for the house info!

Ann said...

Loved this post!

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