We bought Frank Lloyd Wright's Elizabeth Murphy House with a plan to restore and care for her, but quickly discovered a curious and unexpected form of stewardship. Like nuns in a 19th century orphanage, we find ourselves caring for the forsaken.
Imagine a couple of kids - one hundred years ago - sitting at the table, back to the warm morning sun, sipping milk while one parent flipped breakfast eggs and the other buttered toast and they all planned the weekend. It's not only about seeing things, but about living and being together in an American System-Built House.
You don't see many pictures of the kitchen in our gallery because we've not yet solved an aesthetically-complex issue: a sight-line destroyed by a modern appliance. We have a fix.
The level of Wright's brilliance and forethought contained on this one page seems stunning - out of this world - to us amateurs.
As we assembled the proper tools and processes to make Frank Lloyd Wright's window sashes as Arthur Richard’s factory might have made them, we uncovered evidence of a decision to slow production in order to ensure quality, made a century ago.
Our goal is to mix historic-appropriateness with modern energy efficiency. We're going back to Wright's framed casement design, but will allow for double-paned glass and proper weatherstripping. We will make the stiles, rails and beads in Cypress and have organized a shop in which to mill, fit and assemble the windows in batches.
To make the main living space behave much larger, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open and flexible floor plan that could be reconfigured for a special occasion, like a holiday party.
With every plan to repair something on this old house comes an urgency to study and document what is learned in the process.
The restoration and preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Elizabeth Murphy House.
Wright took special care in specifying the gutters on American System-Built Homes as:
"...galvanized iron gutters and down spouts wherever and as indicated on drawings."
We're doing as he directed.