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Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:02 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
As noted above the pre-WWII Usonians came in on budget. Well Wright was able to stay on budget late in his career too. I just read an article in the February 1959 House and Home magazine by the builder (Jim DeReus) of the two Oskaloosa, IA Wright homes. He states that when he heard that Wright was designing a home for a local merchant he "went after" the contract and did not care if he "made a dime" on it, because of what he and his crew would learn. He stated, "Well, we got the contract, we didn't lose money, and we learned things no money could buy." He added, "I think what we learned from this house has given us a new perspective on our jobs and on every house we have built since. I think every one of us is a better workman today because of this house."

Now that is the kind of builder I want to build my house!

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:51 pm
by PNB
RJH - I like the simplicity of the Salerno house's exterior - it would be interesting to see interior photos or the floor plan. Here is a link to an architect I quite like - specifically the Strom house and his own personal home ... 93149.html

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:22 pm
by RJH
I am glad you were able to get a hold of that very important article. It should have received more attention over the years. DeReus (really his “team�) are a very important piece of the Architect, Client and Craftsman triangle. Always seems the Craftsmen never got proper recognition.. My father really enjoyed the article.

The fact of the matter is these craftsmen were absolutely sick of building the typical 1950s cardboard ranch house. They got their experience building the first Iowa Usonian. After that, they got to build the 2nd Iowa Usonian. It was second nature and moderate cost because they were now experienced with Wright’s techniques. Same as when it came to building the Reisley house – last of the 3 FLW in the neighborhood.

PNB, Glad you like Salerno. I don’t have inside pics. Other features he used were lining some interior walls with a type of sea grass wallpaper. I see it still used sometimes today. It really gives an organic feel. The current owner took down some plywood walls and replaced with sheetrock and you see in one of the pics. I think the only expensive feature to build this design today would be all the custom doors and windows. It is really a gem but will be torn down someday soon since it is a transitional neighborhood catering to the $2.5M McMasnion.

Kelly Davis is talented.

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:49 pm
by SDR
Kelly Davis's handsome work is well-sampled in the Susanka book. I recall seeing his own compact home when it was new, in Fine Homebuilding. The use of sandblasted concrete block has stayed with me. . .

Thanks for the link. SDR

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:17 am
by googieagog
Jacobs I came in "on budget" because workers borrowed bricks from Johnson Wax and Wright waived part of his fee. Note that Pope and Goetsch-Winckler use more plywood and less gingerbread than most -- part of what makes them attractive solutions.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:42 am
by Paul Ringstrom
On a somewhat related topic:

Sarah Susanka will be speaking, on the Not Too Big House, at Unity Temple on March 12, 7:30pm.


Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:48 am
by karnut
When I first looked at her book I had to laugh. Just another complete Wright Rip Off.Same game by another name!!!!!!!.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:44 pm
by PNB
I wouldn't agree with the comment about Susanka - I see nothing Wrightian in her work and I think her message was and is a very timely one. I like her interiors - I was in her Dream House with all the frills and I found it to be very warm and intimate - a beautiful space.


Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:58 pm
by karnut
To make it clear,Everything she says, Mr. Wright said it . Again nothing new. Good coffee table book I guess. :roll:

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:31 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
I am not sure I know enough about her to judge whether her ideas are a complete rip-off of Wright, but assuming that this is true and that the ideas were valid during Wright's time, doesn't each generation need a spokesperson to carry those ideas forward to a new audience?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:40 pm
by karnut
I wonder who could speak for Mr. Wright and carry his thoughts foward? I've got it . It is Mr. Wright. What is needed now to carry it foward is not a new spokeperson, But new P. R., and better Mgmt. Rember Mr. Wright is not dead, Only his body is!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:22 pm
by SDR
I suppose you could say that. The "art" lives on, of course. But do man's needs evolve faster than nature's ? If not, then the oak tree is a good metaphor, or even example, of the timelessness of building. If so, then we could ask "do painters paint like Breugel, or Monet, or Picasso, today ?" Why not ?


Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:40 pm
by Johnzerd1
What I got out of Susanka books is quality over quanity, and I see nothing affordable about her work :)

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:00 pm
by Johnzerd1
This is what has allways bothered with Taliesin, why dont they put out some plans for a updated unonian, sell it for around $1500.00 in some of the plan sites on the web.... just to get more of this type of house available on the market..... it will not be a Wright it will be a Taliesin........ and who knows maybe better ins some ways (heresy) than one of the Masters.... I have allways believed the student was supposed to surpass the Master...


Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:07 pm
by Deke
No, what Wright needs is a new PR person...he needed a PR person when he was alive and he still does. His volumes of archaic prose are difficult for most people to fathom. I've been tempted to dig through them and create some kind of Wright decoder book that translates his writings into plane English.

As for Taliesin creating some pre-made plans...why wait for them, just do it yourself. There's nothing to stop you.