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Late Russell Barr Williamson houses

 
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Eric Saed



Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Posts: 104
Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:44 pm    Post subject: Late Russell Barr Williamson houses Reply with quote

I've noticed that several of RBW's last houses were incredibly similar (but goodly so) in design: the house in Beaver Dam, WI on this year's "Wright & Like" tour is a near twin of a recently demolished house on Lake Oconomowoc, WI and also a house in suburban Milwaukee.

Anyone know if RBW syndicated his designs as stock plans in the '50's?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/register/viewSummary.asp?refnum=04000108

http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/wisconsin/milwaukee/williamson/bours.html
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cottonwood



Joined: 11 Jun 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: RBW houses Reply with quote

I am the new owner of the RBW home in Beaver Dam, WI. From the research I have conducted, RBW homes have signature elements that appear in many of his homes, but to my knowledge, he did not have "stock" plans. Records are not available for all of his homes so it could be challenging to compare architectural plans. I'd be interested in information about the homes you state are similar to mine. If you could post specifics, I'll search through my research materials and see what similarities exist.
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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:56 pm    Post subject: Found Late Russell Barr Williamson design? Reply with quote

Hello Wright Chat,
For the last 3 years I have been on a tireless quest to determine the architect of my 1956 home (1801 Hillcrest Drive, Sleepy Hollow IL 60118). There are no County Records for this home other than the land sale in 1956 and 2 Bank Notes for $60,000, presumably to pay for the home's construction over a 2 year period), and no other plans on record... it was built before the Village's incorporation. The incredible similarities between my home, another RBW designed about 15 minutes away, and, after pouring through Wright Chat, also similarities to 2 RBW homes specifically discussed herein, are many.

Wondering who, within the collective braintrust here, would like to help me get pointed in a direction that feels more like "connecting the dots" than "falling down a rabbit hole!" Hillcrest is a spectacular structure, address provided so you can see the craftsmanship, and hopefully provide some guidance. Caring for this home is without question, honoring its past, and preserving it, my passion.

Thank you for your help.
Anne
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Anne. There's not a lot that can be seen via Google Street View or from the air; I hope other RBW owners will be able to help.

Do you have photos to share---or maybe there were realtor photos that might still be available ?

In the meantime, welcome to the site !

S
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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:33 pm    Post subject: Lost RBW? 1801 Hillcrest Photos Reply with quote

Hello SDR and thank you for the warm welcome, and encouragement! Yes, I have photos... hoping I'm uploading correctly?

If not, here's the MLSURL https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1801-Hillcrest-Dr-Sleepy-Hollow-IL-60118/4618085_zpid/

So appreciate your time, ideas...

Anne
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's lovely, and special. Among many other fine details, I especially like the planter-wrapped lower terrace, while the upper deck has a very nice built-in
seat of the sort which inspired my own little essay, a few years back:








Everything looks "done" in the photos of the house; do you have plans for changes or improvements ?


S
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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, gorgeous woodwork and deck (seat looks similar indeed!)... where in SFO are you?

Re: Hillcrest, looking to preserve, and keep relevant at the same time. We've made some changes, but keeping true to the house as much as possible/provided pictures from 35 to 40 years ago owners... desperately trying to find the brainchild of this structure. Between the hidden safes, the crazy copper pipes in the basement connecting the once-heated driveway/still heated all hard surface floors throughout, the tongue and groove walnut and maple walls, the handset glass tiles in the 3 baths, the hand scribed woodwork surrounding the windows, especially on the limestone structural walls, the heated skylights in the baths and entryway, the fountain that used to be in the entryway, the mahogany overhangs and pecky cypress exterior... there goes the rabbit hole again.


Last edited by 1801Hillcrest on Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm---pecky cypress; we don't see that anymore. Seems like a lot of love was put into this one, by the original owner and his/her architect !

I'm central; the little deck was built in the Castro. I haven't seen it since the owner moved on. A more glamorous deck I designed for a friend
has, I believe, been removed by a new owner. So has the mahogany bench I made, four years ago, on 18th St. Go figure . . .







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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful woodwork, and lines, your profession, or passion? I have very good friends/meomories at 18th and Sanchez in SFO, you’re speaking to my own history there!
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bench was the second I made for that site; the first was removed for sub-surface work. The client is the
Castro Country Club, a "clean and sober social space" for the recovering community. The name is a bit of a
joke; there used to be a miniature golf course in the rear patio, they tell me.

The first bench was made from discarded sauna flooring. The club wanted a place for its members to smoke,
away from the door. AA members are really into their coffee and cigarettes, some of them . . .


I finished the installation, turned around to get my camera, and when I turned back, the first two "customers"
had already taken up residence . . . !









The tree, possibly a primrose, has grown substantially over the dozen years that I was involved with it . . . as you can see.

S
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We clearly don't know enough about Williamson.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Russell+Barr+Williamson&client=opera&hs=R0m&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJ3Z3kju_gAhXCFjQIHeLwDyAQ_AUIDygC&biw=1795&bih=922

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9116

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne, this may be a stretch, but a member of the Conservancy, Barbara Elsner, who owns the Bogk House in Milwaukee, knows quite a lot about RBW, though probably mostly the earlier years. If you contact Barbara Gordon at the Conservancy, she might have her contact information.

If you enter RBW in Google, you can find a host of images of his work which might help with stylistic connections, even if your house is not included.
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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:08 am    Post subject: ISO knowledge RE Russell Barr Williamson in Milwaukee Reply with quote

I agree, this very significant Taliesin fellow, and colleague of FLW, does not seem to be widely studied. I am fortunate, however, as there is a treasure trove of information on this accomplished architect in the Milwaukee area. Here is one such link. The collection was curated, catalog, and made available by his son and granddaughter. Public eyes ears and hands are welcome

https://guides.library.uwm.edu/c.php?g=73170&p=2526762
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1801Hillcrest



Joined: 06 Mar 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:18 am    Post subject: Roderick, thank you. Reply with quote

Roderick, thank you. I so appreciate your suggestion, I will reach out to her. It was through my extensive online research that I found the interior images of so many RBW homes, and have also seen firsthand the home he designed not long after mine just a few minutes away from mine. The similarities are so numerous, down to subtle, original details.

I am in search of some tangible, documentable evidence of my homes origin. Unfortunately, all the paper records surrounding the homes beginnings were purged at the county in the last 25 years, and were never electronically scanned.

Nirvana in this quest of mine would be connecting with an RBW expert who can testify to the homes beginnings and pedigree. The five previous owners of this home and I all share this yearning... and hope to celebrate this in the coming years.
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