Wright's statement chimney was meant to welcome a visitor like a smoke signal emerging from the heart of the house and saying, "we're home, it's warm in here, and you're invited." But in 1918, it leaked.
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.
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.
With every plan to repair something on this old house comes an urgency to study and document what is learned in the process.
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.
Flower box cantilevers have been missing from the house. We decided to rebuild them and found another Wrightian surprise.
By specifying Byrkit Lath in this and other American System-Built Houses, Frank Lloyd Wright may have secured this home's legacy.
Then, we poured new concrete, parged walls, and painted matching trim. Today, the Elizabeth Murphy House stands tall and straight, and ready for tour-goers.