More Frank Lloyd Wright Paint Colors

I've mentioned the Guggenheim-inspired Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors, but there's another, possibly even more-famous, Frank Lloyd Wright building that you might want to use if you're looking for true Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors: Fallingwater.

Luckily, someone went to the extreme measure of looking at the paint colors of Fallingwater under a microscope and X-ray.
Frank S. Welsh was asked to microanalyze and evaluate 20 carefully selected samples from the interior and exterior in 1989 and 1990 to determine the original paint colors and their composition. Using microscopical and X-ray diffraction analyses, [Welsh] confirmed that Wright used only 2 colors throughout the house. A moderate reddish brown, also known as Cherokee Red, was painted on all metal surfaces, and a light yellowish brown cementitious paint known as Cemelith was applied on all of the masonry walls both inside and outside.

Cherokee Red is Frank Lloyd Wright's signature paint color. He used it in many of the houses he built. However, the ocher cement paint wasn't Wright's first choice. From the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
On the exterior, Wright recommended gold leaf for the concrete, likely drawing on his Japanese experience and knowledge of gilded temples. The Kaufmanns [the original owners of Fallingwater] thought gold leaf a bit too extravagant and inappropriate for a mountain house. Wright then suggested a white-mica finish from Super Concrete Emulsions, Ltd., a Los Angeles company. Again, the Kaufmanns rejected this idea, stating that the finish should blend with the stonework. Ultimately, they agreed upon a waterproof cement paint called Cemelith in a light ocher, a color which Wright described as taking inspiration from “the sere leaves of the rhododendron.”
And if you're looking to add Cherokee Red or the Fallingwater light ocher to your mid-century exterior, Pittsburgh Paints has put together a collection of paint colors inspired by Fallingwater, including Cherokee Red and a light orcher they call Covered Wagon.


  1. Really interesting! Thanks for sharing the info and the sources! :)

  2. Thanks for the information. I didn't know Pittsburgh Paints had that collection. Thank goodness the Kaufmanns held their ground. I can't imagine Fallingwater done in gold leaf. Ack!

    1. Seriously, I think it would have a totally different feel if it was painted in gold leaf or white. No one would have said how wonderfully it plays with the landscape and fits into the forest, they would have just said, "who put this crazy gold house here?"