After Walter died, Ise continued running the house like a museum. Though it was not officially open to the public, she frequently gave tours of the house to those interested in the ideals and aims of the Bauhaus movement. She also planned Grope Fest, which was in line with Walter’s final wishes:
“Cremate me, but ask not for the ashes. The piety for cinders is a half-way thing. Out with it. Wear no signs of mourning. It would be beautiful if all my friends of the present and of the past would get together in a little while for a fiesta—a la Bauhaus—drinking, laughing, loving. Then I shall surely join in, more than life. It is more fruitful than the graveyard oratory. Love is the essence of everything. Ise, you whom I have loved most, please put it order and manage my spiritual heritage, as to the property on hand, handle it as you see fit.”
Even in her grief, Ise was happy to oblige. She managed Walter’s estate ably. Ten years after his passing, Ise decided to donate the house, which she called her “small but perfect thing,” and all of their belongings to Historic New England, a nonprofit that preserves buildings and sites in the region for public use.
“They were part of this experimental group,” Hubbard said. “At the time, our society was an old and fuddy-duddy one that had very Colonial and Victorian properties. But Ise believed the house could be part of this modern movement, to be taught in the continuum of New England architecture.” She was right, and every year, thousands of visitors get to walk through the halls and marvel at their shared vision.
So many of the Bauhaus ideals have permeated our daily lives; we no longer notice a well-designed toaster or a simple yet elegant door handle. But if you look closely, you’ll see the genius of both Ise and Walter in every sleek hairbrush, every graceful armchair, and every black dinner plate. Ise was, to the end, a powerful force—a writer, an archivist, a supporter of the arts, and an artist in her own right.