Art glass during art class

Fourth graders from nearby Atwater School have been visiting this week. Mrs. Hayes, their Art Teacher, is collaborating with The Madison Children’s Museum and experts from Taliesin to create an expeditionary curriculum that includes field trips to the museum and into Shorewood neighborhoods to study organic architecture and compare it with other traditions. After their trips, the kids will fashion facades from clay. Their work will be displayed in the school and some may be featured in the district ‘art night’ later this school year.

So most afternoons this week, students, teachers and parent chaperones have taken a winding path through Shorewood to find and catalog architectural details like spires and gables, to see nearby houses by Wright’s apprentice Russell Barr-Williamson, and finally, to tour and learn about this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed American System Built House. It’s a privilege to have them visit.

We’ve heard many comments:

“It feels modern in here.”

“It smells like Lasagna.”

“Where’s the door?”

“The windows look like roses.”


“Where is the door?”

Most posts have been about interior spaces in the Elizabeth Murphy House. The days are warming, so soon we’ll turn our attention to the outside. What are we planning?

This is the original marketing drawing of Frank Lloyd Wright’s American System-Built House A203 design:


Notable features include long lines, fine trim, and an intentional tension: “where is the door?” 

Here is how we found the home last fall.


Come Spring, we’ll be making investments in walks, rails, paint, lighting, and glass. We can imagine something like this:


Some of the keys:

  • We are exploring period colors and looking to other homes for cues. We’ve not decided yet.
  • We will remake the lines: the trim, proportions and details where they were lost.
  • We will deemphasize the garage, which was added in the 70s.
  • We’ll minimize entry confusion by removing the west steps. The door is on the east side.

Many decisions. Much anticipation. Appreciate your feedback.

Details, details.

A gallery of the little things in the Elizabeth Murphy House. Angles, lines, layers, light. We will continue to add images as time and opportunity allow.

Many more images at our Instagram! Hope you’ll follow and share.


The Southwest in the Midwest

Decades ago, Uncle John found a Two Grey Hills rug while on a visit to New Mexico. He generously passed it to us, and it fits, perfectly, on the olive pine floor in the sleeping porch, in both color and spirit.

At night, shadows thrown from Prairie art glass mix with Navaho patterns in a way we think Frank might approve of.