Although a genius at design, Frank Lloyd Wright was not known for caring too much about the engineering side of his projects. We undertook an overhaul of a Wright home that included all of the things you can't see but still matter. All plumbing was replaced and upgraded, all wiring (some original from the early 1900s) torn out and brought to modern code, the boiler was replaced (but the original radiators were kept) and for the first time, the house had central air. The crawl space under the dining and living room was originally dirt, and showed signs of animal infestation, so it was sealed with spray insulation and a membrane. The second floor was reconfigured to add a guest suite, an office, a primary bath and walk in closet.
After extensive reviews by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Village Historical authorities we received permission to make a few more changes. The kitchen (originally tiny and with an attached porch that had been enclosed in the 1970s which made for a strange U shape) was torn off. We poured a new foundation using the same footprint and built the kitchen space from the ground up, with a vaulted ceiling mirroring the design of the living room. All new custom-built Amish cabinetry was installed in the kitchen and the bands of new windows reflected the original design vision. All millwork was milled from birch to match the original and painstakingly stained and varnished by the owner for a seamless installation.
In the adjoining basement, about four steps down from the kitchen, we removed a dividing wall, installed a steel beam to create an open space for a spacious bright family room, taking advantage of the original leaded glass windows that lined the entirety of the south wall.
Along the way there were lots of other small projects, like ridding the garage of a raccoon infestation, building a custom wall for the stairs, installing birch wainscoting and much more. The new owners are to be commended for taking on the restoration of this long neglected landmark home, and making it livable for their family. The owners have requested privacy for photos of the end product.
The photos above show the U-shaped 1970s kitchen with low ceilings and outdated function and design.
The old kitchen was removed completely and rebuilt with taller ceilings, an open plan, ribbons of windows and, of course, modern electrical, plumbing, insulation and finishes.
The architect designed a unique spindled wall between the second, first and lower level spaces to join them together and match an existing detail in the entry.
The character of the house shines through, even mid construction.
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