David: “We should go somewhere close to home for our next trip.”
Me: “Ok! Where to? I’m up for anything.”
…and so it began. The research, that is. Looking for a place to stay that’s within easy driving distance of our Georgia home typically culminates with few intriguing options. However, David found an extra-special VRBO house that we both found very compelling. After looking at the photos, we quickly decided that we had to experience it for ourselves. And so we did.
Located in Westminster, SC is an amazing Waterfall House that overlooks Long Nose Creek Falls. The stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design was done by the modernist architect, James Howard Fox. The home is not very large — only 1200 square feet, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. And if you have any kind of appreciation for architecture, engineering, trades and craftsmanship, you’ll admire and enjoy it immensely.
Recognize that this is such an amazing gift! Bill, the owner, could have kept it all to himself. But he rents it out so that others can experience it too. Knowing how special that is, we loved and respected the home like the museum piece that it is. No shoes allowed in this home. My half-Japanese husband loved that, as did I. But if you want to keep your shoes on, feel free to do so while enjoying my video and photo tours below.
Note: For a super-quick inside tour, take a look at this video I took of the interior of the house.
We totally geeked out on this place, as you can tell from our plethora of pics below. Enjoy!
The waterfall house is tucked away on 60 acres of land. To get to it, you first go down a long driveway, park, then walk down a long path. At the end of the path is the home’s entrance, which is located on the top level of the house. There is a welcoming vestibule, made up of a flat, copper-covered, wooden overhang with poured concrete pillars on each side.
The super-heavy front door is stunning. It is made up of iron, wood, and glass…all of which are major elements of the house.
At the bottom, right you can see that the architect, James Howard, signed his work.
Step inside and this is what you see. Wood and glass abound.
Next to the fireplace is a full glass window that juts out so that you have a perfect view of the falls.
I spent a lot of time there…
As day turned into night, the lighting made the place truly magical. I would guess there are at least 100 halogen light bulbs throughout the house. There are LOTS of lightswitches. Many of the uplights are dimmable too.
The fireplace is enormous. The tree-shaped opening is so big you can stand inside of it!
There is a neat fire pit with totem pole off of the driveway right before the waterfalls.
Looking over the top of the falls, you can barely make out the house on the right.
Back at the house, take a left as you exit the front door to go down a steep trail to the creek.
The house, rarely seen from this vantage point, is so pretty. Check out that copper work!
At the bottom of the trail, jockey back to the left to go toward the base of the house and the falls. As you make your way, you’ll find the ruins of an old homestead. All that’s left of it now is a crumbling, moss-covered foundation and chimney.
Next up you get to see a whole new vantage point of the house. You’ve got to appreciate the design, engineering, and use of poured concrete. It’s crazy!
It is such a stunning home.
Even during a drought, tons of water flowed over Long Nose Creek Falls…
To the right of the falls are the ruins of an old gristmill where corn was ground. There was a picture in the house of what it used to look like. I took a picture of the picture for reference. Here’s what the mill looked like below:
I actually took off my hiking boots and socks, rolled up my jeans and crossed the COLD COLD COLD (COLD!) creek to go check out what was left of that old mill. This is what it looks like today… just ruins.
The old grindstones were particularly interesting.
Unique features of the waterfall house
Glass, glass everywhere!
This house is NOT for the modest. There are no blinds, curtains, or shades. Even several corners of the house are glass. The result? Unique, treehouse-like views outside and lots of daylight inside.
Windows often make up walls. Below they are underneath the kitchen cabinets, making it seem like they are floating. What you can’t see in this photo is a critter den just below the rock. We never did see anything go in or out of it though, darn it!
There is even glass behind the fireplace!
The downstairs bedrooms have lots of glass too. Note the glass underneath the built-in shelving. In the below photo there is an interior glass wall that gives the ability to see the waterfall from the bed (you can see some the falls in the reflection on the glass). Note the entire glass corner too, which offered pretty, long-range views of the woods and creek.
In the photo above, look to the right of the bedroom door. There’s nothing there! If the door closed, I can still slip right through that space between it and the wall! The theme is repeated throughout the house, including the bathroom! I put a hanger in the space to show you what I mean. There is also space above the door. And above that are the open floating stairs.
The view from the bathroom doorway was neat because you can see both the main floor and bottom floor simultaneously.
Speaking of the bathroom, I loved the shower. It felt like I was taking a shower outside, but from inside! There is no door, shower curtain nor ceiling. It’s tucked underneath the front entry next to a floating staircase and has glass and tumbled, quartz-encrusted tile throughout. Get this – you can look out at the falls while taking a shower!
Considering where this house is located, we were astounded at the amount of poured concrete used to build it. How they got it there remains a mystery to us.
In the below photo, you can see the main two enormous concrete columns. There is a separate massive concrete column in between them for the floor-to-ceiling fireplace.
Also, between the two huge columns are three concrete supports, I’m assuming for stability and load transfers.
The unique metal art theme continues with awesome iron chandeliers over the stove and dining room table. Here’s the one over the table.
The screened in porch is iron, with an entire panel that swings open as a kind of “secret door” to the deck. The deck also has a beautiful iron railing.
Built-ins are everywhere. The beds, the bookcases, cabinetry, open-air closets with drawers, even the “entertainment center.” I put that in parentheses because there is no wifi and no cable. So while there is a TV, there are no shows to watch. (Honestly, why would you come here to watch TV anyway?!?) Anyway, the carpentry throughout the house was fantastic. Take the entertainment center for example. As I studied it, I noticed that each piece of wood that was used on the outside of it utilized entire planks. If you look closely, you’ll see the wood grain matches from the top cabinet, to the doors, to the bottom drawers. This means each piece of wood had to be kept track of, with every measurement precise, and no screw-ups allowed in the cuts. Not an easy task.
Winter is a special time because most of the leaves are off the trees (with the exception of the pretty beech trees). Long range views are excellent, so don’t discount visiting during the colder months.
But, with all the glass around, the house can be a bit chilly. I recommend that you bring warmer clothes in the winter. Also, bring some house slippers to wear. Socks by themselves aren’t going to keep your feet warm enough.
The sound of the waterfall provides the most delightful, never-ending white noise.
The closest grocery stores are in Toccoa, Georgia. Cooking at the house is a breeze. You’ve got most all the basics to work with.
If you want to go out to eat, we highly recommend Anelo Grill, which is about 30 minutes away in Fair Play, SC. They have amazing hamburgers and fresh-cut fries. Below is the popular Anelo Burger with sweet potato fries. It is definitely a sin meal.
We got to chat with Chef Anelo and she is a super-cool lady who cares deeply about the food she prepares for her patrons. Go to any site to read Anelo Grill’s reviews and you’ll find that the restaurant is very highly rated on all.
If you want to see more of James Howard Fox’s work, you can see several examples of his architecture on North Carolina Modernist Houses.
Believe it or not, Long Nose Creek empties into Lake Hartwell. A few years ago when the water was very high, someone rode their jet ski all the way from the lake to the falls! Here’s the short video.
By the way, we never saw a soul for the three days we at the property.
Have questions? Let me know in the comments below. Hope you get to enjoy this place as much as we did. If you go, tell Gina (and/or Bill) that Wendy and David sent you. 🙂