1997 Life Dream house

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FTA
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:56 pm

Gustad Irani

Post by FTA »

Jim Giles ... congratulations on your Dream House and for sharing information about your project.



Mike ... in my reply I had recommended John R. to you and made mention of contact with Taliesin re. Wright's Legacy Program. At that time, Gustad Irani and John Rattenbury were the team I worked with. Gustad is a capable and engaging person whom I've intentionally maintained contact with. I, too, would be interested to know why Jim Giles was in contact with Gustad. Meanwhile, you might learn more about Gustad at www.organicdesignworkshop.com and, perhaps, he could be an option in helping you ensure your Dream House becomes the reality you want it to be.



FTA
Former Taliesin Apprentice

jimgiles
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Gambier, Ohio

life dream house

Post by jimgiles »

Mike, I'll get some photos together and email to you in the next few days.



We dealt with Gustad simply because when we emailed Taliesin he was the one who responded. After exchanging a few emails with him we decided to go it alone since we didn't, in our opinion, make major modifications to the plan. Because we had to adapt to a hillside site and were using concrete we did enlist the services of a structural engineer.



A few comments on the plans:



The house on the website is NOT the same as the plans. For instance the house depicted has larger rectangular clerestory windows---the windows in the plans are smaller and square and the plans are not clear here at all--no one could figure out how many the plans called for---so decide how you want it to look and be prepared to modify the truss plan. My builder, who was generally impressed with how detailed the plans were, did complain that they did not consistently use inside/outside dimension measurements (he said something about damn architects). I would also look for ways to expand the glass---we used bigger dining area windows to get them lower--so you could easily see out from the seated position--we did the same in the master suite (our tub is in the window seat area) and wished we had in the guest room. We took out the small desk in the great room and put a tall window in the corner on the same wall as the entertainment center, and are glad we did. We would like to have used a corner window as Mr. Wright would have but you have to draw the lines on cost somewhere. For instance, we wanted plaster (we are moving from a 1913 stucco with plaster) and everyone laughed at us. To save $20 k we used 1/2 inch drywall and skim coated the entire house. The skim coating was well worth it: face it, drywall sucks. Besides, the plaster guys said they'd give us a bid for grins but no way would they do it.
Jim Giles

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

Post by RJH »

Mr Giles,



I admire your courage to build the LDH. However, I am also in shock when you mention the modifications that you made.



I haven

John
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

LDH House

Post by John »

Is an LDH house a Wright house?

Can one "mess with" the plans of a house if the architect isn't involved in the construction?

NickSpellman
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:53 am

1997 Dream House Windows

Post by NickSpellman »

Misters Schuck & Giles,



I have the Hawthorne Dream House plans (but have yet to build). There is a discrepancy in the window schedule listed on page A2.1: The window heights in the schedule are listed as 4'0". But if you actually measure the window heights on the Elevations on pages A2.1 & A2.2 and Sections on pages A3.1 & A3.2 the window heights are actually 4'6". So you would be correct in using taller windows based on the elevations and sections to achieve the intended scale. You may wish to check your plans (?Linden) to see if this is true in your cases.



I would be very interested in any information/insights or photographs of your progress as we hope to build in the near future (Connecticut). You can e-mail me at nicholas.spellman@bhs.org



Best of luck!

Nick Spellman

flwright
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:32 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Post by flwright »

Nick:



I would caution you on actually scaling the drawings. In our architectural office, the top of all our sheets are emblazoned with the note "Do not scale drawings. Use figured dimensions only." There are a number of reasons for this:



1) reproduction of the drawings can result in stretching and shrinkage, thereby changing the scaled dimension from the figured dimension,

2) finer details generally override general sections and elevations, therefore a window detail might provide you with a better idea of how the installation is detailed and how a particular window size might fit in there (or not),

3) a 4'-0" window may have been specified for one reason but this change was not necessarily reflected in all drawings

4) One or all of the drawings may be showing only a graphic representation and not a true scaled version,

5) certain drawings (although probably noted) may not necessarily be drawn to scale



It may also be that this is just a typo. In any case, there are a number of reasons why drawings should not be scaled and the best person to resolve any discrepancies is your architect or Rattenbury himself. Perhaps there is a datum line that the window sill or head is to align with; or perhaps there are structural, mechanical, or electrical issues that dictate the location of the head or sill; or there may be code reasons to keep a sill at a certain height without requiring guards.



Best get it checked out by the person who designed it before making broad-brush decisions to change things without fully knowing the consequences. This happens way more often that you probably think it does and far more often than it should. And, depending on the change, these changes can have dire consequences -- I've seen it more than once. Then again, with your particular project, it may be just as simple as dropping the sill 6".



With respect to the earlier comment by Jim Giles' contractor about "those damn architects," I would pay close attention. My experience is that many contractors often use this line -- and many others -- to help their bottom line. Because they are on site everyday and therefore have your ear more than the architect, they often try to pit you against the architect and make them look like the "bad guy" to make changes that, more often than not, are easier for them and better for their pocket books. "I can save you money if you do this...," "it would be better if we changed this for that..." are all common coming from the contractor. Most clients are motivated by saving money, but are often making uninformed decision and may be sacrificing quality of materials or quality of design. Your architect is your advocate and that is what you are paying him for so best get his opinion first. Remember that a contractor is also motivated by money, but by doing so, he must provide you with less for more, whereas the architect gets paid to be on your side.



The above comments about contractors are, obviously, not indicative of all contractors. In fact, there are many excellent contractors out there who are generally interested in doing a good quality job. I only caution the general public because, in my experience, there are seemingly more and more agressive contractors out there (particularly in the residential sector) who are using many of these tactics. Has anybody else in the industry come across these same conclusions?
Morgan

jimgiles
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Gambier, Ohio

LDH

Post by jimgiles »

I feel compelled to respond to come to my contrator's defense. My line was meant to be tongue in cheek but as usual my attempt at humor was a failure. Our guy's ONLY complaint was about the inconsistent use of outside/inside dimensions on the plans which made his job a little more difficult. More of a drafting thing. He was otherwise impressed by them, suggested and initiated only one change to take advantage of a particular view on our site. Other changes were our idea. He welcomed the challenge and obviously enjoyed the project. His craftsmanship has been exquisite and our experience has been great. My earlier comment was misconstruedand any criticism of him misplaced. End of discussion.



However, I do acknowledge RJH may have a valid criticism of us for changing the plans at all and not hiring an architect to design a home from scratch. I would expect such comments on a "Wright Preservation chatboard.' But... we weren't building or restoring a Wright design--we were looking for a Wright influenced design and found one---modifying it ourselves is in keeping with the LDH concept of making good design available to the masses--we don't think our changes destroyed the integrity of the design--though others might disagree and screwing it up is certainly a risk when you "become your own untrained architct"----we just adapted the design to our site and our needs-----could a trained architect have done better with changes? perhaps. Would Rattenbury approve? Only he can speak for himself. Would a unique design have been better??probably--we would love to have done that --but you use the LDH design because you like it and want to spend the architects fees on something else, like real stone v. cultured as we did. The bottom line is we're happy. Maybe not pure. but happy.







John asked if one can mess with plans---if you have the legal right to use them and change them, sure , subject to local codes that may require an architect to sign off and of course stuctural soundness.



I will get together a portfolio and email to those who have requested

photos.
Jim Giles

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

Post by RJH »

I am glad that you are happy with the outcome of your house. All I can say is that I

NickSpellman
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:53 am

Dream House

Post by NickSpellman »

Morgan,



I agree with your comments. Using the datum lines the window heights still come out as 4'6''. But, I agree that it would be wise to confirm this with Taliesin before proceeding.



Nick

therman7g
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:14 am
Location: Illinois

Trust your architect....

Post by therman7g »

Here's and interesting article about a John "Jack" Howe design:



In fact, both Carol and Larry now admit that they should have trusted Howe more from the beginning, but it wasn't until the house literally started shaping up that the Klapmeiers really understood what Howe was trying to achieve. "Every day we questioned it," Larry says, "and it was late in construction when we really started to feel it. We should have tried earlier to understand."



Madison Magazine

http://www.madisonmagazine.com/article. ... _id=209892

robinlarry
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:23 pm

LDH in Ohio

Post by robinlarry »

My wife and I built the LDH last year in Yellow Springs, Ohio. We worked with an architect in Columbus who I believe appreciated the spirit of the design. We made a few minor changes in opening up the dining area and used the two master bedroom option. Exterior is cypress and brick. Anyone who is interested in seeing the house is welcome to contact me at larry.weinstein@wright.edu. Not many pics of the finished product yet however. We're only a half hour from the newly renovated Wescott House in Springfield, so well worth the trip. And as has been already said...building the house is outrageously expensive.

Michael Shuck
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:31 pm
Location: Wichita, KS

LDH House

Post by Michael Shuck »

There was some discussion a while back about the exact number of clerestory windows in this house. A close look at the plans DOES leave that at question. I went back through my photographs, but, as things go, I THINK I can get the exact numbers, but it will be a deductive answer only. So, I emailed Ms. Garner, who still owns the first LDH, and this was her reply:
I will take a photo of the windows for you and email you a pdf file as the front of the house has six rectangular windows and the two end ones have the lower outside corner cut off. The back of the house has seven rectangular windows framed on each end by two triangle windows, each cut in half diagonally.
She is such a kind person to even go to the trouble to help me out. This is what people who are passionate about FLW and his apprentices' work do...they help carry the ball for others even when their own project has long been done. Great folks are in the FLW ilk. That's why I love this place...smart folks who know what they're talking about and always willing to help. Thanks, all. Mike

Michael Shuck
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:31 pm
Location: Wichita, KS

Life Dream House Update

Post by Michael Shuck »

Two weeks ago I and Quinn Shipper (known also here as

moderns-r-us
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:52 am
Location: Kansas City
Contact:

Post by moderns-r-us »

Michael



I too will be watching for updates on your progress.



Have you considered a doing blog about your house building process?
"Better Living Through Modernism"

gdf
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:18 am

Post by gdf »

Reading about the LDH entry door reminded me of what we went through with our FLW rescue mission. When we moved in, the door and frame were rotten and we knew we had to do something (between the wind and rain blowing in it wasn't too pleasant). After researching like crazy, we found Jon Goldbaum who hand made both the doors and the art glass for us. Now, I know some of you will blow a gasket that we didn't replace the doors exactly as they were but I am a strong believer that if Mr. Wright had been able to use granite for kitchen countertops instead of the lime green linoleum that was there when we moved in (5 owners later), he would have and if he had seen Mr. Goldbaum's work which is amazing in this day and age, he would have done those doors too when the originals gave out. I think if you can wrap your brain around nature seamlessly flowing from outside to in, that's half the battle. Anyway, for those building the LDH, you may want to track Jon Goldbaum down and look at his work. He has relocated from Michigan to Tucson and his # is: (520)887-1060, I don't know his location. This is not an advertisement for him but I don't know how long he'll be doing this (those doors are heavy and I think he's in his 60's) and when I see amazing handcrafted work like his, I feel it's my duty to share.

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