E. Arthur Davenport House Restoration Update

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pharding
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E. Arthur Davenport House Restoration Update

Post by pharding »

The restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's is moving full speed ahead once again after a major delay. This was triggered by a car, going 55 mph, hitting me on my triathlon bicycle on July 5, 2009. The impact launched me 25 feet down the side of the road breaking my back and numerous bones and ligaments. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital, had an operation in December, and missed 7 months of work. Everything in my life was on hold including the Davenport restoration. The project is back on track once again.

During the first week of March, the kitchen, butler's pantry, and powder room cabinetry will start installation. This will take approximately 3 weeks, followed by granite countertop fabrication and installation, followed by subway tile installation. Concurrent with this, the master bathroom will be tiled; FLW light fixtures will be fabricated out of brass using a CNC milling machine; some remaining bathroom faucets will be refinsihed in a satin nickel finish; the initial four interior storm windows will be fabricated. We ordered reproduction FLW furniture for the living room. This will be installed out of sequence so that on May 15 when the house is opened up for Wright Plus 2010, the living room will be furnished. For Wright Plus the restored plaster walls will be complete except for the paint finsih system. Participants will be able to view the mock-up of the final paint finishes. The floors will be unfinished. Doors will not be complete or hung. That was discussed with the Wright Plus folks before we agreed to open up Davenport for wright Plus this year.

We anticipate moving in sometime in July following the completion of painting and floor finihes. In August 2010 the goal is to start the garage possibly with an attached skylit fitness room. In 2011 the restoration of the house will achieve final completion including a stained wood shingle roof and exterior plaster stucco restoration.
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 »

When do we get our first glimpse of the work? (photos, please...)

pharding
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Post by pharding »

I'll post photos on May 16 right after Wright Plus 2010.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »

Glad to hear of your recovery and thanks for the update.


Are you planning on recreating the historic wall that surrounded the front veranda? If so, when might work on that begin?


David

pharding
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Post by pharding »

It is an extremely important part of the project. Other than that I cannot comment publicly because it may require a zoning variance and it may become political.
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
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Post by dkottum »

I am thankful for your recovery and hope all is well. We ride about 15 miles per day on Bacchetta Giro recumbents here in Arizona and at home, often concerned about being struck by an auto.

May the best of luck be with you enclosing that veranda. Your comfortable living space will be greatly expanded, as well as the opportunity to greet neighbors who may pass by. (Maybe even some who you would like to greet with more than a handshake if they oppose your project.) We look forward to a photo of you sitting in your enclosed veranda reading a good book.

doug k

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »

Understood, Paul. I hope all goes well on that part of the restoration.


David

Tim
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:52 pm

Welcome back

Post by Tim »

Paul -

Glad to have you back. This is my first post. However, I have been reading this chat for some time. I particularly like your posts. I drive by your house whenever I take my kids to the Brookfield Zoo. I love the house and the neighborhood. You will be very happy.

I just signed up for Wright Plus based on your participation.

Regarding the kitchen cabinets, what can you tell us about them? Did you design them? Who is making them - a local shop?

The reason I ask about the fabricator... I am adding a small addition to my house and we are re-doing the kitchen too.

Thank you.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Thank you for the kind thoughts. Timberland Cabinetry in Joliet has fabricated the kitchen cabinets. They are superb to work with and their pricing is reasonable. Here is their contact information:

Rick Stull
Timberland Custom Cabinetry and Tops
1923 Cherry Hill Road
Joliet, Illinois 60433
815.722.0825
stull1@comcast.net

Please feel free to mention my name.

Our cabinets are a custom design that I developed to replicate Frank Lloyd Wright Cabinetry of the period. They are made of poplar to match the other built-in cabinetry in the house. The cabinetry hardware, lighting, wall finishes, faucets, also replicate what Wright used in the Davenport House and other houses of that period. We have the usual upscale appliances and honed granite counter-tops.

PM me after July 1 and I'll give you a tour of the completely restored interior, including the second floor which will not be part of the Wright Plus tour.

Good luck with your project. Now is great time to build anything. The numbers will be very competitive.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Tim
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:52 pm

Post by Tim »

Paul –

Thank you. You will definitely hear from me. A tour of the house would be very exciting.

Thank you for the cabinet maker’s information. I will be reaching out in the next few weeks.

I was surprised that you mentioned poplar. From what I have read on-line, high quality poplar is good for painting, but does not accept stain well. Are you installing painted cabinets? One site did mention that poplar could be stained – by a talented hand – to replicate other high quality woods and finishes. Are you doing this?

For our cabinets, we are planning on using quarter sawn oak, with a dark stain. We do not have a design yet, but we prefer simpler lines. A shaker style cabinet will probably compliment the more modern style of our house and planned addition.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The wood trim and doors throughout the Davenport House are stained poplar. The recessed panels in the doors are either plain sliced pine or curly pine on major doors. Poplar takes stain reasonably well. The issue with it is dark streaks and boards. The wood board and batten Prairie Houses like Davenport, Glassner and others used a more economical kit of parts which generally included stained pine. If done properly with well selected wood stained pine looks fine.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

Paul-

You are correct that poplar can be stained and turn out very nicely. It is harder than pine, but not as hard as oak, which helps with durability. But in order to get a high quality finished project with poplar, you must have a very reliable supplier, and a very patient and competent person or crew doing the staining.

Even if you order and pay top dollar for "clear" poplar, someone will still need to very carefully inspect and sort through the delivered product, looking for those pesky green and/or black streaks that can show up even in "clear" product. Once those have been found and set aside, the staining crew will need to take great care, as the pore structure of most poplar can be rather random, causing the absorption rate of the stain to vary considerably if special attention is not paid during the process.

And finally, the carpenter and the stainer must work together to try to match up the individually stained pieces as closely as possible to get the finished results that everyone wants. But you know all of this already, I'm sure, and you certainly have top-notch suppliers and craftspeople working on your project. No doubt the finished outcome will be splendid, and you will be very pleased.

Can't wait to see the progress you have made since my last visit when I come over for the Wrightplus Housewalk in May.

Tim
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Post by Tim »

Is poplar - with a high grade wood and top level care - more or less expensive than woods - like cherry or more exotic woods - used in higher end kitchens today?

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

Poplar is definitely less expensive than cherry in my experience. It is actually pretty reasonable in price, although you will pay a bit more for "clear" or stain-grade" material. The majority of poplar that is used for interior carpentry is used where the material will end up being painted. This is due to the inconsistent color variations in most poplar, being green, dark brown or even black splotches or streaks in the material that make it unattractive for uses which require staining.

It is a good alternative to pine, being generally similar in price, but not as soft as pine, which dents, dings and nicks easily when used for interior applications. But it is not anywhere near as hard as oak, ash, maple, cherry, etc., and it is not considered exotic by any means. It is actually a fairly common material, one which is widely used by mass-market homebuilders.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

We used a poplar for the cabinetry at the Davenport House because it was used throughout the house for wood trim, doors, and built-in furniture. The grain of the wood is much like the delicate grain in rift cut cherry. Although the poplar had been hand sorted, there is inconsistent color variation in the original wood of the house. For that reason FLW did not use it after the Davenport House and instead went with stained pine on other moderate budget houses.

Upstairs the wood trim and doors had been painted white. Throughout the first floor the previous owner had the wood re-stained. The wood had so much pigment in the stain that it came out looking like a warm black Ebony finish with no transparency. All of the wood on the interior and exterior of the house had to have the finish chemically stripped.

Although we achieved fine results after an enormous and costly effort, poplar is not a wood that I would use given other options. There are other fine options available which are too numerous to mention. In addition to the species of the wood, in my opinion the cut of the wood is absolutely critical to achieving high quality results.

For the furniture we are using quarter sawn white oak stained to match the finished poplar. This will yield more durability and ease of staining and finishing. Plus as we add more furniture over time the results will be more controllable.
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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