considering purchasing a wright designed home...

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FLCHI
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:26 am

considering purchasing a wright designed home...

Post by FLCHI »

Hello,



I'm considering purchasing a Wright designed home and would like your input on a few things, as experts/preservationists.



The home is an American Sytems-Built, 2 story, from 1917 or so. It's in OK condition, with kitchen and baths in need of renovation (do not look original).



What are people's experience with such homes? Are they well built? I've heard innumerable times about Wright's notorious leaky roofs and such. Since it was built by someone else maybe this does not suffer from such construction deficits?



It's exciting to think of living in a such a special home. But, while I admire Wright's work and appreciate their unique details, I'm not an expert and not interested in restoring it to its original condition. We would respect the property and definitely would not make major changes to the layout or original details that remain in the property. But clearly, the home needs work and at some point we'll run into a dilemma of deciding between a repair/replacement of something that is not authentic, versus something more modern, efficent or that we simply like better. So my question to you folks is, would we be worthy stewards of this property? What do you as preservationists ask of Wright owners?



Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Reidy
Posts: 1573
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

I don't speak from experience as a homeowner, but I'd encourage you to work with a restoration architect, who knows the methods and materials of the period and who will leave as much original fabric in place as possible, rather than simply with a contractor who'll rip out and replace. The Conservancy could give you leads if you contact them directly.

dkottum
Posts: 425
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:52 pm
Location: Battle Lake, MN

Ownership of a Wright designed home

Post by dkottum »

Unlike many historic homes, a Wright design is special because of who designed it rather than who lived in it. It is a masterwork of art.



Think of it this way. If you were to come into possession of a painting by Rembrandt, what changes would you make to improve it? Its beauty and value are in restoring and keeping its fabric as original as possible. Do this, and you will be rewarded by having a masterpiece of art that you can not only share with others, but live in every day.



This may not be an inexpensive project, and the bath(s) and closets will be small by today's bloated standards. Wrightian homeowners have often found great satisfaction in allowing their FLLW homes to shape their lifestyles, rather than the other way.



Doug Kottom, Battle Lake, MN

JimM
Posts: 1509
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:44 pm
Location: Austin,Texas

Re: Ownership of a Wright designed home

Post by JimM »

dkottum wrote:Wrightian homeowners have often found great satisfaction in allowing their FLLW homes to shape their lifestyles, rather than the other way.Doug Kottom, Battle Lake, MN


How nicely put. The ideal client for a Wright home is one who, first, understands its importance beyond any perceived $value$, and second, does nothing to alter the original fabric structurally beyond life safety and upgrades appropriate but sympathetic to the context it was designed, if restoration is not possible.



I don't believe only those with deep pockets should enter the fray of Wright home ownership, and he would be aghast if his middle income homes were redesign projects for the uninformed with means (Lloyd Wright's Snowden House comes to mind). Those who at least patch and place rain buckets until turning it over to someone with the resources and committment to restoration are heros.



Another good reason to buy a Wright home is to simply save it.



If the intent is to respect the house, the risks may be rewarding assuming the "down sides" are well understood; sometimes doing very little is appropriate if only to keep it out of the hands of someone who might destroy it. Regardless, keep the "contractorarchitects" away!

Ed Jarolin
Posts: 277
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:06 pm
Location: Wyoming

Post by Ed Jarolin »

You might try contacting Wright homeowners directly. The obvious

place to start would be those that have their homes in the "Wright on the

Market" listings. I suspect most would be happy to share their experiences,

both good and bad. At worst you'll just get a polite brush off.

FLCHI
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:26 am

Post by FLCHI »

Thanks to all for your very thoughtful replies. This information and feedback is helpful and it is wonderful to know that this resource exists. I'll definitely be back on line if we do decide to move forward on this house.

karnut
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:45 pm

Your Home

Post by karnut »

I would talk to his grandson ERIC LLOYD WRIGHT, He knows more about his grandfathers work than anyone. He is a very down to earth fellow and I am sure he would love to talk to you about your project. Good luck on your project

SpringGreen
Posts: 536
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:00 am

Post by SpringGreen »

I'm considering purchasing a Wright designed home and would like your input on a few things, as experts/preservationists.



The home is an American Sytems-Built, 2 story, from 1917 or so. It's in OK condition, with kitchen and baths in need of renovation (do not look original).



What are people's experience with such homes?


I met the owner of an American Systems Built home, in Milwaukee. They made some changes to the interior, but the spaces were really wonderful. I got the impression from the current owners that they really do love the house. Now, what they went through to get it in that condition, I can't tell you. However, you may be able to locate these owners by looking for information from Wright in Wisconsin.



WIW recently purchased an American Systems Built home on the same block as this couple. There is basic information on the home that WIW purchased here. They have an e-mail address for touring information, info@WrightInWisconsin.org, but I think that's also a general e-mail. I regret that I cannot remember the name of the owners, but you may be able to contact the current owner of the 2-story American Systems Built home down the block from WIW's through that address.



Wright in Wisconsin may also be able to give you information on their building, as well (depending on where they are in the fact finding process). The home they purchased home is not a 2-story, but I believe there were construction standards used in these buildings. Good luck. Sounds like you purchased a wonderful little home.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

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