The House In My Head

A few years ago a friend asked me a question over lunch- Have you ever read Dorothy Rodgers books? - and an obsession was born.  Dorothy was the wife of one of my favorite composers, Richard Rodgers of Rodgers & Hammerstein/Sound of Music fame.  She wrote 2 books in the 60's, "My Favorite Things" and "The House In My Head".  They featured her lifestyle, hostess & entertaining tips, decorating advice, and tried and true recipes. 

I was still living in Portland, Oregon at the time and so I hightailed it over to the world famous Powell's Books and found a copy of "The House In My Head".  The book details the Rodgers' journey as they design and build their dream home in Connecticut.  I promptly read it and fell head over heels for Dorothy's design style and insane attention to detail.  I would daydream over what it must be like to choose all the colors for your own home and buy paintings by Picasso for the living room, just like she had. 
Sadly, I didn't know what happened to the house and couldn't find any information on it.  I worried that it had been misunderstood and cruelly torn down by evil modern day homeowners with no taste.  I vowed to go to Connecticut someday and find out for myself.  Then recently, I tried to track it down again and wouldn't you know it, there was an article on the House Beautiful website on a designer who had recently redecorated the home.  The good news:  It's still standing!  The bad news:  the renovation isn't that great, and they didn't keep everything in original condition, which I would have done and made it work, no matter what.  I'm just crazy like that.  Maybe someday it will be restored to it's original glory.  A girl can hope!
If you have an interest in modern design or are thinking of building your own home, do take a look at Dorothy Rodgers work.  You just might find yourself with a new obsession too.

PS- How stoked was I to get an autographed copy?!?

(more photos below)



I'm sold just from your excellent writing! Great post.

Crystal said...

Thanks dollface! It's hard to always find original content and your encouragement is so appreciated. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just stumbled across your note about "The House In My Head". I'm DYING to see more pics of the inside. I DO have an autographed copy of this book and it's also one of my prized possessions...BUT I'm living and working in Vietnam for a few years and my stuff is all in storage back in Canada! Is there any way you could grace your blog with more of the inside pics of this Fabulous House? Even the floor plan I would kill for. I also agree with you that the new owners have done a disappointing job of redocorating that iconic place. I was so unhappy when I saw it full of French Country stuff. The REAL house just got lost. DR was a genius, I think! Thanks so much. Allan from Vietnam!

Crystal said...

You got it Allan! I added a few more pics of the inside and outside of the house. I'm so glad to know that there are others out there keeping the legacy of Dorothy alive.

designer said...

If you want to google map the house the address is 4800 Congress Street Fairfield CT 64300. Two major changes for the worse on the exterior: Greenhouse behind kitchen wing is gone and they have an ugly concrete patio along this side of the house. Yuck. They also filled in the terrace pool which was the major visual center of the home, busted through the pool terrace added gigantic flight of stone steps to a new pool below. This would be heresy to Dorothy who said the pool and the view of it from the house was the point of the home which was used spring-early fall when they could swim! Dick Rodgers wanted his room on the end with sliding doors leading poolside so he could take a swim directly from his own room. Dorothy's well-kept croquet lawn has gone to sod. None of this is suprising as new owners have different needs but at least the bones of the house are there

Crystal said...

Wow, thank you so much for the info! I looked at it today and I am super upset about the move of the pool! After seeing the photos of the house at night reflected in the pool, I cannot imagine how anyone could ruin the visual center of this amazing home. Good to know it's still there though.

sean bagley said...

I absolutely LOVE that there are so many people who also adore this house & book! As someone who discovered the book a few years after publication, when I was about 12 years old, this house has been an obsession of mine since the early 70's. I wrote a piece on my blog a few years ago, if you're interested in reading it here is my link: I've been to the house several times after the Rodgers' sold the property and I'm familiar with all interior changess if you ever want to cha about them, my contact info is:

Anonymous said...

I've had both of DR's books for years now. And have read them several times over the years.

I'm just sick to see how the House in Her Head has been badly renovated and badly redecorated. Dorothy would be horrified.

She was a woman of great taste and really made homemaking a thing of beauty. Yes, you could say that it was easy for her with all her money...but many women have money and NO taste.

I really like DR and enjoy rereading her books.