Watch CBS News

Dream Drives: Wharton Esherick Museum's Creative Curves

MALVERN, Pa. (CBS) -- The Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, Chester County lets you go inside one man's dream. This painter, sculptor, and woodworker became famous for his unusual shapes, and he used them at home.

Right off Horse Shoe Trail (also known as Horseshoe Trail) is the Wharton Esherick Museum, open by appointment only. To get in, you have to call Julie Gannaway, executive director.

"Esherick was an artist who worked primarily in wood," Julie explained. "He eventually becomes known as the leader of the studio furniture movement, as much as being a sculptor of wood as well."

So it's no wonder Esherick's own home is like living inside a sculpture. Curator and program director Laura Heemer explained Esherick started with a studio and house in 1926.

"You'll notice a lot of curved lines," Laura said. "He didn't like straight lines because he didn't think straight lines involved thinking. But once you start making a curve, then you start thinking about your design."

"Just looking around this room, from the table to the ceiling beams, everything that catches your eye is detailed in a very cool artistic way," CBS3's Meisha Johnson said.


In 1940, Esherick added an attic bedroom, filled it with art and books, and built the bed up high to take advantage of the southern view. There is even a trapdoor that was designed to keep the sawdust from the studio down below from getting into his living space.

In 1966, Esherick crafted a kitchen inside a curved silo.

"So did he make everything himself?" Meisha asked.

"Oh yeah, pretty much," Laura said. "If he didn't have to buy something, he didn't."

Over at a twisting double set of stairs, Laura explained, "The staircase is pretty phenomenal. It was built in 1930. It can be disassembled, so it's left the building three times to go on exhibit, most notably to the 1940s World's Fair up in New York City."

"Everywhere our eyes are going, there's different things to be absorbed in these spaces," Meisha said.

"It's true. You have to come here," Laura said. "Everyone that comes in here immediately feels at home."

To schedule a tour of the Wharton Esherick Musuem, contact them at 610-644-5822, or go to

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.