Article: Meyer House (Galesburg, MI - 1948) restoration

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therman7g
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Post by therman7g »

painted the Honduras mahogany!

peterm
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Post by peterm »

The painting over of mahogany paneling is one of the most common problems that new Eichler owners face. An Eichler with unpainted mahogany is now the exception rather than the rule, and commands a much higher price...

therman7g
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Reflecting pool

Post by therman7g »

Does anyone have the plans with the reflecting pool?

He has accomplished much, but he isn't finished. He needs to add a new roof or modify the present one and would like to restore a reflecting pool on the east side of the house. Meanwhile, he continues the gardening he enjoys.

LaBrecque was ecstatic with his purchase, but much work would be required to restore the home to its original integrity. One former owner had installed wall-to-wall carpeting, painted the Honduras mahogany woodwork, removed the banquette and installed another roof on top of the original. Radiant heat in the floor had been dismantled because of corroded pipes.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

The balcony wood looks great. It was painted or stained chocolate brown in 1999 when my wife and I were given an impromptu tour by the then owner who had it on the market.
It was a great house. The CMU was painted white then, which seemed a bit stark...I can't tell from the article pics if a warmer tone has been substituted. From the article, it sounds as if the new owner has been able to add modern conveniences in inobtrusive ways.

Craig
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Post by Craig »

replacing counter tops with granite
Not sure that was necessary but he seems like a great caretaker.

I was in the house and I especially liked the circular office tower at the top of the stairs. It's my understanding that Curtis Meyer made the decision to use ordinary cinder block instead of what Wright had wanted and then ended up painting it because, well, it looked like ordinary cinder block.
ch

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I thought the same thing, Craig, when I read about the granite.

To my knowledge, Wright never used stone for countertops (in a Usonian house, at least).

I find it interesting that Wright used plastic only in the workspace or the bathroom. Nowadays, with the spa/ zen aesthetic, the kitchen and bath are places where natural materials are preferred.

For Wright, is it perhaps that slabs of stone (granite, marble, etc.) had too many European associations? Or was it simply economy?

jim
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Post by jim »

Granite kitchen counters did not become popular until the 1980s; today it could not be more "out" in architect-designed kitchens.
Jim

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Oh, I realize that; granite and marble were for grave headstones... But Wright did not always do what was trendy or popular...

Schindler used poured concrete in the 20s, and 4" by 4" square ceramic tile later. Did Wright ever experiment with these approaches?

It seems to me that in this one area, (formica and linoleum countertops) Wright was in tune with or possibly anticipating the trends of the mass market by using inexpensive man made and plastic materials as opposed to the materials of nature (stone, wood, metal, brick).

ozwrightfan
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Post by ozwrightfan »

It might simply come down to the fact that the Formica and linoleum came in the cheroke red colour he preferred to use. I would also imagine that in the 40's and 50's granite might have been viewed as an old fashioned or a"traditional" type of product which would have looked out of place in a modern Usonian home, whereas Formica and linoleum didn't.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

From the beginning FLW was not into expensive kitchens. This reflected the aspirations of the period. The precious budget dollars were needed elsewhere to produce the architecture of the house. His kitchens met the expectations of the client in a minimal manner that they would find acceptable. In the Prairie houses even upper middle class families had servants because the labor was incredibly cheap.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Craig
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Post by Craig »

So do we all believe that granite counters do not belong in a Wright designed home?

True linoleum is an organic material (made of linseed oils, pigments, pine rosin, pine flour and jute) so it certainly belongs in a "natural house." (It has nothing in common with today's hideous vinyl). I do think the Cherokee red color was a factor in the use of formica as well as the fact it was the new wonder material of its time. I think it works perfectly in Usonians as the "natural" companion to the plywood.

I wonder why Wright didn't experiment with solid surface materials of his day - soapstone or concrete for countertops?

Granite countertops / basin sinks were all the rage but already are dated. Nothing screams pre-mortgage meltdown louder than this pair.
ch

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Linoleum is a "Green" Product. The original counter-tops for the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, by FLW's former employee, the great Richard Neutra, are cork. Which is also "Green".

The kitchen has evolved from a work space staffed by servants and rarely used by the homeowner to an expensive trophy room. Today the higher the income of the occupants the less likely it is that the kitchen is to be used by the homeowners.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Lamberson drawings show two details of wood edge banding, one for linoleum, and the other for Formica (in surf-glow red, which I haven't been able to find a photo or sample of) and gave the owners and contractor the choice.

Do you think that Formica was a more expensive material than linoleum in 1950?

pharding- didn't you use granite or marble in your restoration-addition of the Glore house?

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Granite on Glore and Davenport. Some decisions are market driven. On Davenport we used honed granite. My wonderful wife, who has been very supportive and flexible on the restoration, wanted granite largely because that is what her friends have and for reasons of marketability. At some point, hopefully 30 years from now, the house will be sold, and the granite counter-tops contribute to the marketability of the house. I much preferred wood. We ended up with honed granite which has a matte finish.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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