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How I learned to live in a national treasure with a toddler
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 3688
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:25 pm    Post subject: How I learned to live in a national treasure with a toddler Reply with quote

Article about the Robert G. Emmond House, 109 S 8th St, LaGrange, IL 60525

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/05/11/how-i-learned-to-live-in-a-national-treasure-with-a-toddler/?utm_term=.d1b5ce9b8b28
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Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://chicago.curbed.com/2014/6/18/10086110/frank-lloyd-wrights-robert-emmond-house-now-just-799k
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun article.
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The foundation of the high is low
Tzu
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disturbing, somehow. Of course, I'm more of a preservationist than a family man, myself . . .

SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5502
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A ding in some wood, some dirty paint, a broken mirror? None of that alters a footprint, creates an unnecessary addition, or muddies history. The house can be lived in (just look at photos of Wright's own houses, filled with signs of life and even schmutz and clutter). If she would have described how they converted a bedroom into that extra bathroom that they just couldn't survive without, or did an expansion for that dream kitchen.. now that would disturb me. Does being a preservationist mean that patina and signs of life should be suppressed?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

. . . Sure -- but I imagine you treat your house better than that ?

S
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5502
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every ding and scratch has its story, and there are already so many little stories that we've added. And one of the biggest was contributed by a friend and guest who ironically happens to be an art history professor. Carefully handling important paintings out of their frames while wearing gloves doesn't mean that one is immune to a careless or accidental move here and there.

Our son is grown, but I remember those days well. Is the perfect, spotless house more important than a healthy, normal childhood?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, of course not. But the perfectionist -- and the guy who paid for all that perfection -- must wince, now and then ?

The only available response is to shrug, and to adopt a philosophical attitude. On the other hand, dents in the softer woods, and in maple, are often removable with the use of steam . . .

S
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3128
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it weren't for the scorch on a shelf at the slatted divider between the kitchen and dining room, how would we know at least one previous occupant smoked? If it weren't written in ball point pen on the same shelf, how would we know Susie's phone number in the 1950's? If it weren't for the gouges clear through the outer redwood veneer, how would we know the Clark's dog(s) pawed at a master bedroom closet door, an entry area closet door, or that they liked to try to open the front door? If it weren't for the 3/4" gouge down most of the baseboard in the hallway, how would we know the edge tool of an old Electrolux vacuum was made of metal.....AND if it weren't for the GlassPlus bottle shaped pink spot on the dining area floor or countless other small spots in the kitchen, how would I have learned that A.C. Horn Colorundum is not impervious to damage by seemingly innocuous chemicals.

Houses tell their stories. I'm trying my best to limit my storytelling at Sweeton to restovation...but other stories are inevitable.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You property owners have my respect and sympathy. I don't know if I could handle the burden; the fact that I've never even come close is testimony to that, I guess. My interaction with the built environment has been limited (other than in my own humble quarters) to caring for the properties of others, as provider and installer of interior fitments and furnishings. What the owners do after I leave is, happily, out of my sight.

S
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
Disturbing, somehow. Of course, I'm more of a preservationist than a family man, myself . . .

SDR


You crack me up.
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SpringGreen



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 461

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Living in a Wright home with a toddler Reply with quote

I wish I could remember where I heard this (I think it was from Tom Casey), but I was told one time that FLW visited one of his homes, & one of the owners (a housewife) told him how perfectly they'd kept everything. Then FLW took a pencil out, gouged the kitchen table, & advised the owner to start *living* in the house.

Of course, I write that while I have to stifle the need to go "yelp!" if someone moves an artifact on a shelf & who declines to move any of the really valuable artifacts b/c I'm so anxious that my anxiety about touching them will make me drop & shatter them, so . . . .
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"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. That's just . . . ugly, if true. Still, and as two owners here have implied, I think, there's something to be said for "taking the curse off of" something perfect, bringing it down to the earthly plane we're more familiar with . . . ?

S
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5502
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George Nakashima was with Wright on this matter, at least in the case of solid wood. He talked often about "Kevinizing":

"...Good solid wood, with a penetrating oil finish, on the other hand, is a very different material—it is an actual surface, and not merely a protective skin.
The philosophy of solid wood is hard usage. Naturally, wood can be destroyed, especially if it is pressed beyond what it is meant to do;
but in a sense, the harder a piece is used, the better the surface becomes. Furniture should be lived with and not considered something overly precious. A certain amount of scratching and denting adds character
to a piece—in the trade called “distressing” (in our family, “Kevinizing”, after the personal treatment by our son when young).There is nothing
so quite uninteresting as a shining unmarred surface that looks as if
it were never used."

http://nakashimawoodworker.com/media/files/251fb9ae7f8211264b5f90013d74fbb2.pdf

The veneers on plywood from the 30s through the 50s were thick. They could handle some abuse. In our house there isn't a spot where a dent or scratch (and there are many) has penetrated the veneer layer and gone through to the ply underneath...
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds right; most plywood substrate is no harder than the veneer -- not much harder than redwood -- so a good dent will tear or fold the veneer (depending on direction of the edges of the blow) and depress the substrate at the same time. Best left alone, I suppose, though various remedies, almost none of them producing an invisible repair, are available. A friend, who happened to be a Christian Scientist, would exclaim "Good !" when confronted with injury or accident -- something like claiming that black is really white -- or making "a molehill out of a mountain" ?

It needn't be distressing to have it pointed out, that philosophies designed to make us feel better about the inevitable are various and no doubt universal. One wonders what the animals do, to reconcile themselves to the realities of life . . .

SDR
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