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1908 Westcott House photographs & link to video
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:28 pm    Post subject: 1908 Westcott House photographs & link to video Reply with quote

We took a trip to the Westcott House in Springfield OH for Father's Day and this was our first visit since they changed policy to allow inside photography. My daughter brought her 35 mm camera and took the following photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/161557458@N08/albums/72157670260963918

Here is a link to a local PBS video on the 1908 house: https://www.pbs.org/video/thinktv-originals-westcott-house/
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SREcklund



Joined: 26 Feb 2013
Posts: 732
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 1908 Westcott House photographs & link to video Reply with quote

Modmom1 wrote:
... this was our first visit since they changed policy to allow inside photography ...


Darn ... one more house I shall be forced to revisit ... Razz
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"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Maren and Mod Mom ! It's great to see important interior and exterior views for the first time. Those fine photos are important evidence
(and would be publishable at a higher resolution ?). Thanks again !

So, we see a late version of Wright's symmetrical tripartite domestic core, in all its nearly empty glory, with broad boards and polychrome plaster
treatments. Is that some Secessionist-inspired plain-gridded sash, bringing a whiff of Germany -- or Glasgow -- into the mix ?

I don't know who took the job of final finisher on these walls, and I don't intend to pursue the question; I'll only say that I think Ohio's only Prairie
House deserves better.

But that can be corrected in a later re-restoration; the important thing is that this treasure was saved, and is ours to enjoy. That abstracted half-
timber exterior treatment is so heart-warming, bridging several genres at once and taking us away from Oak Park and closer to Europe. Hurrah . . .

SDR
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR..That final finish replicated the "encaustic" (hot wax and pigment) process that was originally used when the house was built.

I did ask about the kitchen, which was designed to be used by 2 live-in servants. The original countertop specified was butcher block and the house had a built in icebox. It is a large kitchen.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I guess a question would be, how well does the treatment replicate the original ? No wonder to me that the proprietors wished to limit photography.

But, we live and learn. Any unique work, in any medium, is a gamble. One way to avoid disappointment is to take the trouble to submit the unknown to tests, before the work is approved ?

Again, thanks for the images, and keep touring ! The community appreciates these reports, which are a good way to spread the joy, and publicize progress where and when it appears.

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8457

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not so late, SDR. Westcott was built in 1904, the year of DD and Cheney. It also predates FLW's trips to Europe, so any influence from Wagner et alia would have been secondhand through publication.

The encaustic method was also used at Dana to good effect. I cannot compare them, since I guess I have to sigh up for Flickr to see the photos. A former apprentice and his friend used the system themselves on their tiny house. It is a laborious task. Wax tends to cool off very fast.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops -- I had my decades mixed up. Interesting . . .

I was able to see Modmom's flickr album without being signed up. Wonder what's going on there. A bright green bedroom looks like it came from Tammy Faye Baker's make-up case.

SDR
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, SDR is correct, anyone can access the photos without an account.

The green bedroom is a teal. I would think the color was researched for the period. The house is dark by our standards and in person the ceiling texture is less apparent to the eye.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8457

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This time I had no trouble getting in. Perhaps it's Yahoo! The exclamation mark after its name is appropriate, as is the lexical definition.

The photos make the paint job look blotchier than at Dana. I wonder if that is the nature of the painting or of the photographs? At Dana, the paint is just NOT flat. That was what FLW always tried to avoid. The darkness of the interiors, which bothers so many people, was natural to FLW, who was 12 when the light bulb was patented. All interiors were dark, and electric light bothered a lot of people. I like my interiors on the dark side, soft general lighting with adequate task lighting.

This restoration is a great success. At its lowest point, Westcott could easily have been lost, and that would have been a shame. As much like other Prairie houses as it is, it is also significantly different, especially in the detailing.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I understand the Wright did, or did not, prefer a flat (non-glossy) surface ?

One doesn't expect a reflection from, for instance, a sand-plaster ceiling. With a wax-based finish, I suppose some gloss would be inevitable ?
Portions of ceiling and wall planes in the photos presented here show reflection of bright daylight coming through the windows.

The garish nature of some of the surfaces in photos I've seen of the restored Westcott interior, both here and earlier, do not look to me like
something Wright would have approved of. At the least, an exaggerated version of the subtle variations of color intensity across a single panel, that
one sees in photos of original surfaces and convincing reproductions, is what I see in photos of Westcott. The line between some visual texture, and too
much, is doubtless an easy one to cross, for the inexperienced or overly-enthusiastic specialist. Experimental finishes -- those whose original
methods and materials must be re-discovered -- should be experimented with on practice panels, not on the work site itself. And finally, sufficient
authority must be exercised in assessing and approving of the work when it is finished, not simply accepting whatever happens.

And those interested in the quality of the result, whether connected to the project or not, must feel free to express both praise and criticism of the project,
whichever is merited, without fear or favor. As we are seeing around us every day, now, failure to speak out can result in further lowering of standards of
behavior, in any realm of endeavor -- it seems to me.

I am happy that the Westcott residence was saved from ruin, that time and money were expended on its restoration, that the result is available for
viewing, and that we have been shown some photos of the house. No criticism should prevent those involved from feeling satisfaction, nor others
from pursuing the same goal in other Wright properties. We are here to celebrate Wright, and to encourage the preservation and revival of Wright properties.
Discrimination and appraisal are the natural responses to any work of art and craft, no less here than in any other specialist forum. By encouraging the good,
and critiquing the occasional perceived slip-up, we do our duty to those who came before, whose work we profess to revere.

SDR
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modmom1, thanks so much for the photos! It's great to see the house still looking so good. Back when I was at Kent State, I interned at Chambers, Murphy & Burge for about a year and a half and got to work on the restoration of the Westcott, so I'm going to chime in and reminisce here for a bit. Please excuse me if I'm a bit vague in places. It was close to 15 years ago, I was only present for a portion of the process, and as an intern I wasn't privy to all the goings on.

I'm not sure if you're all aware of what the house was like before the restoration, but it was in very dire straights. Back in the 1940s it had been converted into one room apartments and ever since the house had been beat up. Many of the rooms had kitchenettes installed. The art glass bookcases in the living room were gone, as was the built in buffet in the dining room. The roof (not original) was in bad shape, and there were many missing elements, including the reflecting pool and much of the pergola. It was getting so bad the house was in danger of collapsing. The long beams in the front bedrooms had sagged at least two inches. It was a disaster.

When I worked on the house, the structure had been stabilized (they got those beams to bend back into place) and the roof had been restored. The alterations to the house had been removed (such as the subdivision of the first floor living/dining space) but very little else had actually been restored. It's no exaggeration to say that there were cracks in almost every wall and ceiling. Part of my job was, in fact, to draw those cracks on the working drawings to record them.

In terms of documentation for the house, we had copies of everything that the Foundation had, but it wasn't as much as you'd hope. There were some gaps that had to be filled in. We had two or three interior photos of the house, but they were before it was 100% complete, so that added to our problems as well. One of our biggest issues was we didn't know what the light fixtures on the main floor looked like. In the historic photos they hadn't been installed yet, and we had no drawings. However, we did have an original shade and we were able to come up with a design that was appropriate to Wright at this period. Perhaps someday we'll find photos and can get it 100% accurate, but it at least has some original elements to it in the meantime.

The lack of documentation is why the furniture is so sparse. We had good drawings for the dining room table with the built in lamps, but not much else. We know the table existed at one time because it was specifically mentioned in a newspaper article regarding the wedding of, I believe, one of the Westcotts' daughters. It's probably out there somewhere, probably in Springfield still. Wouldn't that be a find!

Regarding the unusual color of the bedroom, I can verify that it's accurate. Whether it was chosen by Wright or Mrs. Westcott (I believe it was in her bedroom) I don't know. But in one area of the wall we had all the many layers of paint chipped away and that was the lowest color. What I saw was covered in layers of dirt, but that's what it was. One of the partner's at CMB had been certified by the Smithsonian in paint analysis and got it matched perfectly. While the texture as it was hand applied could perhaps be argued, the color is what was there.

Incidentally, Mr. and Mrs. Westcott had matching his and hers bedrooms. They had a good marriage I'm told, but we learned that at one point she had surgery for some kind of respiratory issue and it seems that she would have snored. We speculated that that was the reason for the two bedrooms.

I could easily keep going, but I don't want to overstay my welcome with my memories. I hope this was enlightening!
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some photos of the house during restoration. You can see what a disaster it was.

http://www.peterbeers.net/interests/flw_rt/Ohio/Wescott_House/wescott_house.htm
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm particularly pleased to see this photo:





That is because, when studying the drawings of the house as published in Monograph 3, where it is dated 1907, I found this unusual board wall construction depicted, and
wondered if it had been constructed as drawn. The answer appears to be "yes."


Second-floor plan and elevation of the garage, and successive enlargements of the detail drawing in question:













© 1987 A.D.A EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd. and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2298
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bradley House in Kankakee uses a similar interior color finish for walls as well.
The effect of the walls at Bradley is a nice soft glow of color.
I found that when I took shots with borrowed iPhones that the flash
completely negated the depth and atmosphere.
Very, very hard to photograph and capture that.

... will be in South Bend this Saturday
plan to walk around Mossberg and DeRhodes
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The camera can capture only what the lens sees, depending on camera placement relative to the subject. Lighting -- the direction and intensity of
natural light, the presence or absence of artificial light, including flash -- will have the largest effect on what the lens sees. After that, it is camera settings,
and post-shoot manipulation if any, that will affect the final image. And then, the data file -- the size of the image -- as transmitted will determine how large
the image can be displayed without loss of resolution.

SDR
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