Article: Tour of Hollyhock House

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DavidC
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Article: Tour of Hollyhock House

Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

What has been done is very encouraging (aside from that dish cloth hanging from the dining room light fixture). But it is only a beginning. There's so much more that needs work before it can truly qualify as a restoration.

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

Roderick Grant wrote:What has been done is very encouraging (aside from that dish cloth hanging from the dining room light fixture). But it is only a beginning. There's so much more that needs work before it can truly qualify as a restoration.
So if they made you curator and gave you infinite budget, what would be your punch list of things to do to make it qualify?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

While I know some of my "restoration" ideas are not considered Kosher, I would do the following:

Living Room: Add all 10 brass'n'glass light fixtures and fireplace screen. Finish gold highlights in relief over fireplace. Add the art glass to doors. Eliminate small window in north wall (added in 1946). Research wall colors; new paint job doesn't look right, but I may be wrong. Restore skylight curtain, with portieres, a necessary design element, and so 1920s!

Loggia: Replace wood floor with concrete all the way through, past the library to conservatory. Build loggia chairs designed for the room (which Don Lovness created for Lovness Cottage). Finish west wall in same manner as exterior walls. Correct newly restored folding doors. Remove door to passage behind colonnade and 'restore' original built-in desk between dining room steps and pier, with fixed window and slats above. Delete the stairs to the basement and restore the powder room originally in that area. Add the L-shaped carpet leading up the dining room steps. Replace the solid concrete doors with FLW's original design.

Music Room: Delete Lloyd's cabinets, restore cabinetry at north end. Review various designs for divider between music and entry (though probably the existing one is best).

Library: Convert ceiling light into skylight as designed.

Dining Room: Replace ceiling light with FLW scheme. Replace south doors with windows, as planned.

Gallery: Remove gallery; restore bedrooms.

Pergola: Finish south wall in same manner as exterior walls. Fill north 2/3 of space with potted plants. Get rid of fluorescent lights in ceiling. Restore clerestories between pergola and bedroom wing.

Lobby: Remove closet between Sugar Top's room and guest wing, add glass door to south lawn.

Sugar Top's Room: Add mural over fireplace and built-in bench next to it.

Aline's Day Room: The main bedroom was intended to be a day room, with the bedroom at the north end of the upstairs to serve as Aline's bedroom. Finish day room with built-in bed in bay and enclosing screen, per plan. Add mural over fireplace.

North Bedroom: Add concrete-framed opening in north wall, glass walled porch at end of room, with headboard of double bed built in.

Car Court: Remove 6" of Macadam, replace with decomposed granite, revealing first step up to entry gallery. Place statue in recess (repro, of course). Reconstruct gallery west wall to match east, per plan. Replace wood screen in east wall with wood 'frames,' per plan, to frame views of garden outside dining room.

Garden Court: Add 3' walk from stair to 3' beyond cross walk, for statue. Restore stream, lily pond and appropriate verdure in north 1/3. Eliminate base planting along south edge. Restore eucalyptus in SW corner for afternoon shade. Restore perimeter of circular pool. Reduce height of inner circular pool to below water level. Add water lilies to pool.

Completely restore Residence A, and demolish all non-FLW buildings on the hill.

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

Somehow, I knew you'd have a list ... :-)

As someone new to the house - and, frankly, to the whole architectural game - the biggest challenge I see ... beyond funding ... is determining the nature of the restored spaces. In the gallery, for example, it would be easy enough to replace what's their with a pair of guest suites that match the original floorpan, but is that sufficient to qualify, when we have no idea what the FLW rooms looked like? Even today, we have to cop to the fact that, nicely restored though they may be, the library, music room and kitchen are really the 1946 FLWjr versions.

Restoring the original floorplan would certainly help visitors experience the proper flow to the house, but without even one photo to help guide the finishing, I can't imagine the budget ever being allocated for it.

That said, if even one magic photo were to pop up from the period of architectural significance for any of those areas - such as the Viroque Baker shot of the dining room with your favorite lamp - it could completely change the game.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Some bedtime reading, found while searching for Viroque Baker . . .

http://ens.lacity.org/restore/ph_house/ ... 242009.pdf

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

SDR wrote:Some bedtime reading, found while searching for Viroque Baker . . .

http://ens.lacity.org/restore/ph_house/ ... 242009.pdf
I'm a geek, so I find these fascinating. I've found quite a few documents on Hollyhock online, from the HABS reports to newer ones like this. Unfortunately, the one I _haven't_ found yet is the original 1989 Historical Structure Report referenced in the one above.

For other similarly geek-minded individuals with an interest in Hollyhock, the Project Restore website where the linked report came from includes a number of reports along with a ton of photos from all phases of the restoration effort.

Project Restore - Hollyhock House

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There's enough information on the guest rooms to reconstruct them, except for colors; color photography came after the rooms were gutted. But behind the paneling in the gallery there are original walls of the bedrooms with painted plaster that could work as an accurate guide. The bathrooms, which have been totally obliterated, could be decorated in the style of existing baths, like Sugar Top's. None of it would be difficult. Money is the only problem.

Drawings and photos exist of the music room as built. There is even information on the west wall treatment and the rug. The library is close enough as Jr. did it, except for the skylight, which I'm sure was constructed and which should be restored. The kitchen was originally divided into 2/3 cooking area and 1/3 pantry. But if it were not altered, it wouldn't matter that much, any more than the servants' rooms.

Iowegian63
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Post by Iowegian63 »

The later additions and renovations to Hollyhock House do not bother me, because the story of the house isn't just about Frank Lloyd Wright; it is also about Aline Barnsdall, Rudolf Schindler, Lloyd Wright, The California Arts Club, the Olive Hill Foundation, and the City of Los Angeles. Any historic house has gone through changes, which complicate and enrich the story, and part of the story of this house includes the disagreements between Wright and Barnsdall and how that affected the design and the project.

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

The former guest-bedroom space, as remodeled, makes a useful gallery and assembly space. It would be nearly useless as a pair of bedrooms and bathrooms, and passage between the pergola and south lawn would be awkward.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The problem is, Iowegian63, that when people go through the house, they assume that everything they see was designed by FLW, unless the docent goes detail by detail explaining what is and what is not Wright. (Many visitors assume FLW designed the art gallery, as well.) There is an argument to be made for allowing alterations to a design made by the original client during construction, even when they are egregious, but beyond the original construction, it becomes a serious problem. The only way to accept all the changes that have been done to Barnsdall is to stop calling it a restoration. The only restoration that can be done to the gallery, for instance, is to get rid of it and put the bedrooms back in. As long as the gallery exists, it is not restored. If a mélange of everything that has happened to it in its 90+ years is what is desired, stop referring to it as a Frank Lloyd Wright design, because that is only partially true. Give every other person, institution and vandal who has had input credit. Remove the living room furniture and rug, and replace it with what was there before; see Mono 4/158. The fact of the matter is that nothing and no one that had anything to do with the use of the house matters in the context of architectural history, even Aline and Mrs. Murray. If they had not had the FLW connection, no one outside their families would have any idea who they were. As Esther McCoy put it about Aline, "She wouldn't have made a ripple in a pond." All of it is interesting history, but it need not be manifest in the look of the place. Just stories told about the history.

Two examples of how FLW houses should be restored are the Oak Park Home & Studio and the Meyer May House. Both became apartment buildings for the bulk of their existence, but were restored to pristine condition according to FLW's plans. Unless the same is done to Barnsdall, it cannot reasonably be said that the design was realized. Another instance, the D. D. Martin House. Mrs. Martin had failing sight, and wanted more daylight to come into the house, so she had FLW move the upstairs windows above the entrance and reception room moved to the outer edge of the eave. During restoration, there were advocates of leaving them where they were and some who insisted on moving them back where they were originally, and where FLW wanted them. The latter was done, and without damage to the legacy of Isabelle.

I call the Dept. of Interior standards restoration by bureaucracy. Not having to make hard decisions is the bureaucratic way, the easy way out.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Reidy, while that may be true (actually, not so much), returning the bedrooms would be a restoration of the house, not a re-invention. There's a big gallery just a few feet from the house to accommodate whatever displays are needed.

Even more important than ridding the house of the gallery is closing the gaping maw from the gallery into the pergola. That is truly an affront and a violation of FLW's principles.

CEP
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Post by CEP »

I'm in agreement on virtually all of Roderick's wish list, were there no budgetary issues. Having said that, there could be a argument made to leave the loggia west wall gold since it appears that's how it was originally finished (ironically, it was at Rod's urging that we removed the planter pan at the music room entrance and found the only untouched sample of the original gold paint back in the 80s). And I'd love to have another go at the center panel living room ceiling to add back in the gold wash that's now completely oxidized to virtual nonexistence. It sourly needs to be light nile green AND bronze again.

I'd also like to hear the decision for making the dining room ceiling monochromatic - there were clearly two different versions of the green/gold paint used in that room found in the light soffits.

And while I'm dreaming, I'd also like to definitively find out if the Alcove south wall ever really had a fresco done by Barse Miller of the California Art Club.

Regarding the guest bedroom/gallery space - if nothing else, I'd wholeheartedly support at least closing the Pergola wall and restoring the clerestory windows.

CEP
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Post by CEP »

make that sorely...

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

As a relative neophyte, I find the pergola appalling - it reminds me of a worn-out redwood patio structure I pulled out of my back yard years ago. Has anyone ever seen any sort of photographic evidence of what existed pre-FLWjr's 1946 demolition of the structure?

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