A Radical Statement
Purcell insisted that his house have an open plan because he wanted his family to experience a progressive, modern American way of life. This approach was radically less formal than the way his parents' generation lived, with spaces dictating the types of activities that occurred within them. Frank Lloyd Wright called the open plan "breaking out of the box," and it applied as much to the resulting psychological freedom as to the actual physical space. Here's how Purcell summed up this change in attitude: "What we needed to do was to lose not so much the parlor as the parlor idea of life."
Purcell wanted his living room and dining room to flow together, and he and Elmslie tried many different schemes before they-and Edna, whose opinion was also important-were finally satisfied. They lowered the living-room floor and elevated that of the dining room. A V-shaped projection, which suggests a ship's prow, divides the two rooms, and a continuous tented ceiling unites the space. next stop >