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Pope Leighey cypress
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 700
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:08 pm    Post subject: Pope Leighey cypress Reply with quote

Last weekend I attended a wedding in the side yard of Woodlawn Plantation in Virginia. Using the Google Earth measuring tool, I determined that the location of the wedding tent was precisely 480 feet from the front door of the Pope Leighey House. What a pleasant coincidence !

Looking back at old photos in books and on the internet, I typically see a very weathered exterior resulting in a drab, gray appearance. DRN informs me that restorations of the wood occurred in 1964 (after 24 yrs); 1995 (after 31 yrs); and recently in 2017 (after 22 yrs). I feel fortunate to have seen its newly fresh state. The beauty of the wood, inside and out, is remarkable. I'm struck by the irony that these early Usonian houses, intending to be economical, now contain this luxuriously rare wood in virtually unobtainable sizes.

Here are some of my snapshots:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/140080283@N02/albums/72157683881065713

And, here is link to Peter Beers' ample collection of photos showing the state of things back in 2003.
http://www.peterbeers.net/interests/flw_rt/Virginia/Pope_Leighey_03/pope_leighey_03.htm
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 700
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

... and, here's a link to a good article about the Pope Leighey restoration, in particular dealing with the exterior wood. Included is some very nice photography.
https://savingplaces.org/stories/pope-leighey-house-prepares-for-frank-lloyd-wrights-150th-birthday#.WXFbQ-_D85s

In another recent thread (pertaining to the Lloyd Lewis wood restoration) there was some discussion regarding products and methods of restoring and treating the wood siding. This article explains the process and products used on Pope Leighey's restoration. So far so good.

Here's an excerpt from the article specifically discussing the refinishing process:

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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14291
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. And when you consider that these pieces of wood -- some of them, at least, where panels could not be moved intact -- have been separated from each other, twice . . . the appearance starts to resemble a miracle.

It's wonderful that we finally have a reliable recipe for this process. Now we'll see how long it is before the house once again needs work ? Perhaps I won't live that long . . .

SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5582
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.twp-stain.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpK6uiq2a1QIVk1p-Ch1s_gL7EAAYASAAEgICi_D_BwE

Thanks for those excellent photos on the Flickr site, James! I've never seen so many details of this house documented before.
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Unbrook



Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 689
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Pope Leighey Reply with quote

At the Weltzheimer/Johnson house we talk about how after WWII, cypress was not in ready supply. Redwood was located on the West Coast and brought to Ohio in logs and milled locally. Redwood now seems like an expensive wood, but in 1947 was comparable to other woods. I sometimes think that the weathered appearance of the walls was encouraged. In Oberlin, the exterior wall now are almost black in tone and they make the house blend into the landscape. The effect is what the Japanese refer to as Wabi Sabi.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5582
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the Weltzheimer wood have numerous coats of linseed oil? Because even redwood will turn silver over time if it dries out...
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jmcnally



Joined: 24 Apr 2010
Posts: 854

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I questioned the greying wood at Wingspread and was told in harsh terms that it was what was intended. I can accept green copper, but grey wood is unappealing.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14291
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not so far caught Mr Wright acknowledging the issue of weathering of (unfinished) wood. If he did not in fact ever address the subject -- in writing, or as heard or overheard by a reliable source -- we are left to guess. We only know (so far) that he once stated that "wood best preserves itself" -- a remarkably inadequate pronouncement, as it turns out . . .?

SDR
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2202
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We used the products on Lloyd Lewis and we are extremely happy with it. It came out more of a golden brown. We did test of this and Sikkens. This is more translucent and more golden. it is quite beautiful. Sikkens is more paint like.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14291
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter sends these images:





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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5582
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SDR for posting these pics. The Taliesin West photo is circa 1950s.

There are numerous occasions where Wright addresses the issue of preservation of wood in his writings. He talks about oil, and shellac is sometimes specified in the drawings, at least for interior finishes. We know that paint was verboten. Then there is the quote that SDR cites, "wood best preserves itself". Since his instructions are so vague and somewhat inconsistent, maybe we should look at the exterior wood at his own residences.

Both Taliesins feature dark brown almost black wood. (Taliesin West later sported an opaque stain, almost like paint, but I think this was introduced after 1959?) The Oak Park Home and Studio also features the brown-black wood (in this case cedar shingles?) http://flwright.org/visit/homeandstudio
It was common during the shingle style movement to have the cedar shakes dipped in buttermilk, dried and then installed, to leave a grayish tinge to the facade. I wonder if Wright did the same at Oak Park?

Redwood (and cypress?) when oiled with linseed oil and not meticulously cleaned or sanded in between treatments turns almost black. It appears that Wright went this route. People who spent time at Taliesin might know what Wright did, and what was done during the Olgivanna years?
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 700
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taliesin is such a beautiful composition of three colors. The stucco & limestone are ochre yellow, and the wood is alternately brown and red. I'm guessing the red is a solid stain rather than a paint, otherwise there would be chipped and peeling paint all around.







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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 700
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

... coincidentally, the Coonley House employs a similar ochre/red/brown palette.



So, they'll surely be employing a stain on this particular new wood:

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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5582
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knots and everything. Cedar? It doesn't look like cypress or redwood.. I'm surprised they're not able to spring for clear.

Doesn't Sweeton have the red-brown-ochre combo, too?

James- Do you think that the dark brown is also a pigmented stain, or merely oxidized oiled wood?

Taliesin residents/experts?
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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 700
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first visit to Taliesin was just a few months ago. It was difficult to absorb it all, but my big takeaway was a real appreciation for the textures & colors of the original built fabric as an enhancement to the masterful form and composition. I thought I might find the imperfections disappointing, but to the contrary I found the wear and patina to be visual enhancements. A palpable indicator of age and use and adventure.

Perhaps the place that exceeded my expectations most was the Hillside complex. The hand-hewn rawness of the materials was very powerful.
One of the powerful constituents was the wood, particularly on the interior. Its dark, almost black color was consistent with the exterior, leading me to believe that it was all stained, inside and out, as an intentional aesthetic preference for exactly that color, rather than a case of natural wood left to take care of itself.

outside:






and inside -- these three photos are among my favorite things.

this rough sawn texture, revealing the radial saw markings. and the Welsh symbol chiseled in. Nearby, a gaping joint and a partially protruding iron spike:




The studio, a piece of hallowed ground, has the same rough sawn power, (again red & brown), looking rugged in contrast to the shiny reflection of the probably too delicate laminated wood flooring that was swindled from Hib Johnson:




Then this, my most favorite thing, this brilliant conglomeration in black/brown & red:





Last edited by JChoate on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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