The Philip Johnson Glass House

Part of the fun of driving grandma from New York to Florida in the fall and back in the spring is all the fun stuff we stop at. Sometimes we plan direct trips, while other times we forget the route and go wherever we want. This trip was that kind.

We started by going to Connecticut first. Not exactly between Buffalo and Tampa, but we wanted to see the famous architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House. It’s literally a house made of glass and steel beams in the countryside in the middle of New Canaan, CT. The whole house is 1,700 square feet of open area, save for the bathroom built in the chimney, behind the fireplace.

You start out at the visitor’s center and take a bus to the Glass House.

The hard-to-find entrance to the visitor’s center.
A map of the grounds inside the visitor’s center.


Inside the visitor’s center.
On the bus to the Glass House!

The Glass House is pretty spectacular from the moment you pull in the driveway. The gate is very unique: it’s a metal bar that rises up inside a structure on each side.

One of the first things you see after you go through the gate is the library/study. As a self-proclaimed nerd, booklover, and amateur writer, I generally love libraries. However, this particular one was one of the ugliest I’ve seen. Keep in mind, though, that we didn’t go inside. He built this library because he found his desk in the Glass House to be too distracting, with birds always flying by the window and deer walking around outside.

See that building? That’s the library.

Across from the Glass House is the Brick House. This house has only three little windows on one side and lots of privacy. There is a full master suite, with a huge bathroom. The basement houses the furnace, which heats the Brick House, the Glass House, and the walkway in between. The Brick House has some water and mold issues, so you can’t go inside. However, if you would like to make a donation toward the rehab, I’m sure they would be forever grateful.

The Brick House

The Glass House is really special. It fits just right in the location, and you can’t imagine it being anywhere else. It overlooks a pond, a pool, and a lot of art. It has a kitchen, a sitting area, a bathroom, and a bedroom area, just like any other house. However, there are no walls, just the glass and steel outer structure and the round chimney in the center. 

Isn’t she beautiful?
Grandma finally made it to the Glass House!
The distractible writing desk.
Look at that view!
The bedroom.
Living room/fireplace/bathroom.
Bathroom inside the chimney.


Some of the coolest parts of the Glass House are found inside. The giant painting that is set up next to the sitting area is from the 1400s and has an estimated value of nearly $20 million!

Now you know what $20 million looks like.

The furniture is also quite unique, specifically the ottoman. There is a burn hole in it, and it’s from Andy Warhol! He, among other artists, was friends with Philip Johnson and his partner, and would visit the Glass House for social events.

Andy Warhol’s cigarette burn.

The outside is also pretty awesome. Wouldn’t it be great to have this view?!


If you love architecture, you must visit the Glass House. When planning your trip, be sure to book tickets in advance, as they sell out fast.