Location – Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Built in – 1939
Square footage – 5,300
Bi-weekly cleaning quote – $2,178 (includes the guest house)
We sent Vanessa and Oliver of Infinity Cleaning to the Fallingwater House, outside of Pittsburgh to get their opinion of what a cleaning quote for that magnificent house would be. This is the first installment of a series we’re doing on cleaning quotes for famous houses. Follow our blog to see what houses we feature!
Last Saturday my partner, Oliver, and I hopped in the car and drove a couple hours to do the guided house tour of Fallingwater. We had a wonderful time and learned so much from the tour— Frank Lloyd Wright was brilliant and quite the character!
The Fallingwater House was built between 1936-8 as a summer home for the Kaufmann family so they could escape the smog-filled city of Pittsburgh and breathe some fresh mountain air. Frank Lloyd Wright specifically designed the house for this dual purpose—relaxation and appreciation of nature. Wright did his best to encourage the family to be outside the house except when sleeping, using low ceilings and furniture to draw one outside. Originally, the house had no screens on the windows, since Wright considered it more natural to let the bugs in. (The Kaufmanns added screens later to restore their sanity). Natural colors like Cherokee red, semi-circles, and horizontal lines were used throughout the home. It was truly unlike any home I have ever seen!
Providing a quote for this home was much more difficult than I expected! Although the house was composed of only four materials (wood, concrete stone, and steel), Frank Lloyd Wright arranged them in such a way to create many distinct and extraordinary features, each of which would need to be cared for differently. For example, the floors throughout the home were made of stone taken from the boulders on which it was built (Pottsville Sandstone). The stone floors need to be buffed and coated with wax to maintain its glossy, wet look. However, this same type of stone was also used to surround the fireplace, but instead of being coated with wax to give it a wet look, Wright designed it to look dry, warm, and inviting to encourage the Kaufmann family to gather for quality time around the fire. This stone would need to be wiped with a dry cloth in order to preserve its dry look while keeping it clear of debris.
I was particularly surprised to find that the most “normal” room in the home was the kitchen, an area we usually find to be one of the most luxurious in the typical high-end home. This was because the kitchen was used by the Kaufmann staff, so it was very small and simple. The kitchen was the only room that had tile flooring, metal cabinets, and a bucket sink. The bathrooms were closed to the public, but I was able to peek in and see that they were also very small and basic. Perhaps this was because not much time was to be devoted to getting ready, and more time was focused on spending time outside appreciating nature.
Because of the home’s overall uniqueness, we chose to quote the cleaning for this home based off of the square footage, instead of using the set rate we usually use to quote homes. Typically, we only use square footage when quoting a post-construction clean or a large commercial building, but we felt it appropriate for this home simply because we could account for all the unconventional areas that we would encounter during a cleaning. Our average post-construction rate varies from $0.22-$0.26 per square foot.
We estimated that the rate for this home would be $0.36 per square foot. At 5,300 square feet, the total would come to a total of $1,908 for a cleaning of the whole home, including the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and main living areas.
In addition, there was a guest house built in 1939 after completion of the main house. According to our tour guide, this guest home is 750 square feet, and although it was more modern, it still adhered to the same ideas and designs that Wright used in the main house. A rate for this cleaning would remain at $0.36 per square foot, coming to a total of $270 for the guest house.
This brings the total quote for cleaning this beautiful home to about $2,178! That’s not including the cost to pressure wash, care for outdoor maintenance, and even the cost to clean the windows would range from $2000-$4000! I did not have the opportunity to count the windows to created a more exact quote for those, but it was amazing how much glass was in the home. I was especially stunned by a section of about 12 windows that formed a corner of one of the bedrooms, yet offered no support to the home. These windows were able to be opened outward to virtually eliminate the corner of the room completely! Wright used this technique, along with many others, to incorporate a sense of freedom and one-with-nature throughout the entire home.
Clearly Vanessa and Oliver of Infinity Cleaning care about providing high-quality home cleaning services! If you’re in the Berks County, Pennsylvania area, be sure to book them for your next cleaning service. They promise not to compare your humble abode to Fallingwater.