Gridley House

To control SPAM, you must now be a registered user to post to this Message Board.

EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4385
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Gridley House

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

We were able to visit the Gridley House last weekend. It is a wonderful house that is very light and airy due to the many windows, none of which has art glass. The floor plan resembles the Willits House, with the living room centrally located to the front and dining room to the left. Central fireplace with kitchen behind. The flat roofed extension to the rear is an extension of the original kitchen that was done by a previous owner. The present owner has completely gutted the kitchen and installed new craftsman-style cabinets, etc. The basement has been excavated to a greater depth and a family room has been constructed by the present owners. One of the bedrooms on the second floor has been converted to a master bath.

Note: The original deck wall in the front of the house had deteriorated and rotted away. The current owners have removed the overgrown evergreens and rebuilt the deck and wall, but have inserted a break in the original wall and added the central stairs, planters and blue-stone patio and the bottom of the stairs all of their own design. Notice also that the new wall lacks the same water-table detail that is present on the rest of the house (and can be seen at the base of the porch).

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45747476@N ... 145195245/

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10537
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

That break in the front wall is disastrous.

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

Are the windows original?
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4385
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Are you referring to the placement of the windows? I was there about six years ago and everything, except the wall, appears to be the same.

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

The glass looks like Low-E Glass which is more reflective than glass of the period. I wonder about the proptions of the the lites in each window.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10537
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul, the lights are the original proportion. Since Gridley is set back from the street, the need for the privacy afforded by art glass windows with dense patterns was not necessary. The only alteration I see is the break in the wall.

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

The break in the wall would have driven Mr. Wright nuts. It is something he would have hated as contrary to the design principles of his Prairie Houses and just about every house for the rest of his career beyond 1900.
Last edited by pharding on Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

RJH
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Contact:

Post by RJH »

I agree with the break in the wall being terrible. Something is just not right with the glass either. It must be low-e. I never realized how important it is not to upgrade the original glass windows if these are the results.

I met with Roland Reisley at his house a few years ago. He told me he replaced all his single pane glass with double pane. He said "he didn't see one change in his heating bill and if he knew he would never have changed them." I trust his judgment since he is a Physicist.

SDR
Posts: 20086
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

A labratory scientist is not necessarily a mechanic. There had to have been something wrong with Mr Reisley's furnace -- or perhaps he used it more freely after changing the windows !

Old glass certainly has its own look. And modern sash always sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it. I've seen double-hungs with different profiles for the upper and lower sash. . . :roll:

Oak Park Jogger
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:21 pm

Post by Oak Park Jogger »

We saw the Gridley house when it was for sale two owners ago. It had apparently been a rental for an extended period of time, and was a house with lovely bones that needed a good deal of attention. The current and previous owners need to be commended for an enormous investment in restoring and updating this home, which is one of our favorite Wright homes of all time.

Many years ago it had a sag in one corner of the living room and corresponding upstairs bedroom. This seems to have been corrected. The kitchen and baths were probably original but REALLY tired. The replacement of the wall really sets the house off nicely. While the steps to the bluestone patio may not be pure Wright, those who use such strong language to denigrate it can fix that after they purchase the house next time it's for sale. Now, it's a lovely home.

We guessed that a big landscaping plan is in the works because of areas that were cleared of underbrush and mulched, seeming to await the arrival of more trees and shrubs. We're looking forward to driving past again to see the continued progress.

We still have daydreams about living in this home. . . . And we can't say that about all the Wright homes we've seen over the years.

SDR
Posts: 20086
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Looks good to me. Those windows appear in just one or two of Wright's houses around this time, don't they ? They give it a hint of Vienna -- Hoffman and Moser, maybe ? One is surprised that Wright didn't produce perfectly square lites. . .maybe he was just "over" the art glass ?

SDR

dkottum
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:52 pm
Location: Battle Lake, MN

Gridley House

Post by dkottum »

There must be a way to convey to FLLW homeowners that ownership of these works of art carries a responsibility to preserve the original design as closely as possible. Suppose the owners of the Mona Lisa thought is was a lovely portrait, but the smile was a bit subtle, so they had it updated for their comfort. And perhaps a tatoo would set her off nicely.

Wright was one of America's greatest artists. Owners have found that living in his houses, as designed, offers a lifetime of discovery and pleasure. The houses are his organic architecture, completely integrated with all elements dependent on each other. Every alteration, no matter how well intentioned, is a loss to the overall design, and ultimately to the homeowner's enjoyment. It should never be done.

Doug Kottum, Battle Lake

RJH
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Contact:

Post by RJH »

Doug, Well said! Lets not forget those tattoos cost 3x as much to remove as they originally cost to put on. In most cases, it can never be put back to original. The Glore House is a perfect example if this.

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

There are well established Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation Standards that actually work quite well. Using the Davenport House as a case study, I and two architects from our office, will give a presentation on using those in a cost efficient manner at the upcoming FLWBC Conference. One of the architects working on Davenport worked for the federal department writing and interpreting those standards. In addition to discussing the application of those standards, we will present some exciting, new technical research that we did to reverse engineer Mr. Wright's Prairie School finishes. We will be discussing issues that are especially relevant to the interesting discussion and points being raised in this thread.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

dkottum
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:52 pm
Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

Paul, it is good to hear that the issue of renovation will be discussed at the upcoming conference. I hope that alterations to original designs may also receive attention. Although unfortunate, the Glore house alteration appears to be justified by a "do it or lose it" decision, and was done well. Not so with Gridley, and others.

Maybe the Conservancy can further recognize that design alterations are partial destruction of these treasures, and encourage preservation of the original design. There are millions of homes in this country that can benefit from family room additions and palace entrances. But the organic nature of FLLW houses by the master himself is unique. It consists of spatial, scale, and proportional relationships as well as the textures, materials, and colors. There are also patterns of movement through the house, carefully calculated by the artist to reveal its spaces in an interesting and emotional way. Landscape modifications or additions may be just as tragic. These things are not always immediately evident and may require years of living in the house to fully understand.

Jackless, your argument has some merit in millions of old houses. But I would maintain that some houses, especially those by Wright, are first and foremost works of art, and are perfect and wonderful places to live for those with a sense of culture.

Doug Kottum, Battle Lake

Post Reply