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Fisher House: Even Lou Couldn't Always Find the Bathroom

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On Saturday we went to the the Norman Fisher House, built by Louis Kahn, for the estate sale. Though Kahn's critics accuse him of being too sterile, what struck us most powerfully about the house was how warm it seemed, and how open and connected to the natural world around it. Being inside with the light streaming in, the windows serving as picture frames for the trees and creek outside, it even felt cozy.

Patrons of the estate sale were very appreciative of the house, and some knew its history. Norman Fisher's two daughters patiently explained it for those who said, "Is this a house?" They've kept the home in the family for years, but can no longer do so; one of them lives in Annapolis and the other lives in Vermont. The upkeep from afar is too difficult.

In the 1990s, Norman Fisher deeded the house to the trust, which means that a single buyer will now have the opportunity to buy the house as a residence. Thankfully, there are plenty of safeguards in place so that the new owner will be responsible for maintaining the house's original appearance. No vinyl siding, Nina Fisher noted.

Nina told us a funny story about Lou Kahn. One day he was over for brunch and left the table to use the bathroom—and he walked into a closet instead. Norman said, "You built the house, Lou!" It's true, though, that there are a lot of doors.

We'll hear more good stories from Nina soon. Meanwhile, you can look at the few photos we took while we were there, including one of a beagle, Lily, who was stationed at the entrance as official greeter. We were planning to take more photos, but seeing so many people traipsing through this home—which still had so many of the Fisher family's possessions there—it felt, suddenly, like an invasion to treat the house only as an architectural commodity. It was such a lived in, intimate space. Perhaps knowing that it would be was Kahn's greatest talent.

Fisher-Kahn House

197 East Mill Road, Hatboro , PA