Tracking the restoration and preservation of a 103-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright house

So as not to lose track, we keep a list of projects completed at the Elizabeth Murphy House since late 2016.

  1. Removed faux brick from kitchen alcove and re-plastered and painted
  2. Leveled concrete walk slabs and replaced front steps
  3. Removed secondary walk and steps and planted grass
  4. Removed and replaced wrought iron with red cedar railing
  5. Removed carpet and parquet floor from sleeping porch, repaired, conducted forensics on materials and paints, and repainted in original color
  6. Removed carpet from bedroom floors and refinished
  7. Removed linoleum from kitchen floor, hallway floor and basement steps and refinished
  8. Replaced kitchen appliances (stove, fridge, dishwasher)
  9. Repainted basement room floor, doors and walls
  10. Removed out-of-code wiring on walls and in closets and removed ceiling fans in bedrooms
  11. Removed two window air conditioners, repaired window frames and replaced glass
  12. Removed 1970s front door and screen and replaced with restored original (interior) door and new wood screen
  13. Removed window air condition from entry way ceiling and converted to glass/screen window
  14. Repaired Pebble-Dash damaged by air conditioner installation (1990s)
  15. Removed and replaced warped kitchen and breakfast-nook cabinet shelves
  16. Removed all galvanized supply plumbing in the house and re-plumbed with copper
  17. Patched and repainted every interior wall
  18. Repaired cracked basement floor
  19. Removed over-sized radiator in kitchen
  20. Gutted bathroom to the studs and joists, completed period-appropriate renovation including re-framing, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, plaster, fixtures, trim, finishes, medicine cabinet, lights, tile, and heated floor
  21. Replicated interior finishing technique to refinished
  22. Reversed WC door
  23. Repaired, restored and replaced shoe trim as required
  24. Added floor drain, shower stall, toilet and exhaust fan in basement utility room
  25. Added hanging cabinets in basement utility room
  26. Removed faux eyebrow roof over garage, replaced trim and parged concrete
  27. Ground off ornate white stucco decoration on foundation and parged in unpainted concrete all around 
  28. Removed exterior electric outlets
  29. Replaced driveway lights
  30. Replaced damaged garage door
  31. Added accent lighting for sleeping room ceiling
  32. Replaced all ungrounded outlets with grounded devices
  33. Add ground-fault protection as required by code and best practices
  34. Replaced breakfast nook light fixture
  35. Replaced kitchen light fixtures
  36. Added drain tile, repaired foundation and improved grading around crawl-space
  37. Removed overgrown vegetation and invasive weeks and trees and replanted front and back gardens
  38. Repaired and replaced exterior trim in cypress
  39. Added flower-box cantilevers 
  40. Added light grid American System-Built ornamentation on front facade
  41. Repaired glazing in all exterior windows
  42. Replaced missing lead work on front windows
  43. Reroofed (tore off and replaced.)
  44. Built replica breakfast nook table
  45. Removed aluminum soffit and fascia covers, restored, replaced and repainted 1930s wood bead-board and trim
  46. Removed warped gutters and downspouts and replaced with period-appropriate, Wright-specified hanging gutters
  47. Added drain tiles and grading to protect sleeping porch foundation
  48. Repainted and re-stained exterior: from gray with white trim to goldenrod with brown trim
  49. Removed weathered cedar shake from chimney and replaced with new and re-stained
  50. Removed all foundational shrubbery and reseeded
  51. Added exterior lighting
  52. Added accent and interior lighting to breakfast-nook cabinets
  53. Returned breakfast nook light fixture to original (specified and constructed) position
  54. Replaced missing lead work on breakfast nook windows
  55. Designed and installed built-in for under counter refrigeration to replace the improperly placed free standing appliance, returning the kitchen to intended layout/duty.

Here is a before-and-after picture from 2016 to September 5th, 2019.

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And this year (2021/22) is all about the windows. Here is what we have learned so far.

What would you do next?

5 thoughts on “Tracking the restoration and preservation of a 103-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright house

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