John Randal McDonald home on the Market

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

One of McDonald's interests seems to have been the manipulation of space. This can be a little (!) difficult to judge from photos -- particularly in the absence of drawings. I wish I had saved photos of the first McDonald house I was shown. . .

SDR

Eric Saed
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Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

Post by Eric Saed »

Sure, some architectural pharisees will rip on this house (I rather like the lit stairs, actually), but would you rather live in this, or some faux-Georgian monstrosity that would undoubtedly be built if they were allowed to knock down this property? Lake Oconomowoc, WI just saw the destruction of a Russell Barr Williamson house of the same mid-century era that was beautiful, but would have been deemed "not Wright enough" by some.

I really don't want this website to become a place where real estate agents trying to market a decent house, or an "uninformed" architectural novice can't post an innocent question without fear of tongue-clucking from the purists.

Our Icon, Mr. Wright, didn't always produce perfection. Anyone who was at the 2000 FLLWBC conference who experienced the Bulbulian house in Rochester, MN can attest to how "interior desecration" can make an uninspired design by a master even further repulsive. Genius sometimes has an off day, Wright and McDonald included.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Having seen Russell Barr Williamson's work, I despair that anything he did would fall to the wrecking ball; he was brilliant. I don't know enough about McDonald to judge his work. But when realtors post houses on this site in hopes of positive feedback, they should include photos descriptive enough to reveal the architecture. This is not the case with what I see here. There were a lot of rather cheesy mansard style houses popular at one time that I cannot abide. And the glowing risers are beyond the pale. If photos could be posted that gave an indication of architecture as space, it would be easier to evaluate the house. I have no problem editing out furniture that I don't like, but there must be some expression of the spacial concepts inside and more revealing photos of the exterior.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Speaking of Russell Barr Williamson, I just noticed on the Historic Properties site that a house by him, "a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright," is on the market for $560K. Obviously a very late design, it looks like a 50s ranch. Located in Beaver Dam, WI. Looks very nice. Anyone with any information?

Windhaven
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Post by Windhaven »

Just to try and set the record straight on the John Randal McDonald and Frank Lloyd Wright issue...In my 5 years as apprentice to JRMcD, not once did he actually bring up the name FLW. No "comparisons", no"one-up-man-ship", no "anything with regard to FLW". JRMcD had his own design philosophy. He designed homes with as much achitectural flair as possible, given, for the most part, the often less than shoestring budgets of his clients.

The FLW comparisons are always tacked on by some third party in an uninformed attempt to bleed off some notoriety or in an effort to "catagorize" the architectural style. The styles do vary greatly if one only takes the time to compare. I believe that JRMcD's homes stand on their own design merit (disregarding, of course, the decorating sense of subsequent homeowners).

Finally, JRMcD would no more have designed a Mansard style roof than FLW would have looked with praise upon the work of Phillip Johnson and the back-lit stair does actually look good in the evening. :wink:

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Sorry, but have you seen the photo of JRM at the drafting table with all of his "apprentices" standing around him, looking at his drawing? He may have not discussed FLW, but his actions (like this photo) speak otherwise.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I haven't seen the photo you mention. That said, I am grateful for the input of Windhaven, whose words comport perfectly with what I have seen of the work. Insider bias aside, he should know whereof he speaks. Of course, no twentieth-century architect can have been ignorant of Wright's work, and some were more frank than others in demonstrating, if not acknowledging, that influence ?

Further matter on Mr McDonald can be found here: http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2293#2293 Some of the links are still active, and a former associate helpfully weighs in halfway down the first page.

SDR

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I was able to visit the Maloney House by John Randal McDonald this week and have posted some better photos from my visit at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45747476@N ... 280440874/

This house is a tri-level home with the lower level and upper level rectangle set to the front of the house and the ground level behind them to the rear. It was originally designed with 3 small bedrooms, but has been modified by the second/current owner. One bedroom was converted to the Laundry Room and the other two were combined to form the Master Bedroom (which is the only bedroom). Even though the home is fifty years old it has been immaculately maintained and needs NO restoration. The kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room all have new cabinetry. It has an extensive amount of masonry, which was not typical of JRM's homes, and an extensive amount of interior wood, which is typical. It is one of the best homes by JRM that I have seen. The home faces directly west (toward the lake) and experiences magnificent sunset views. It has a wonderful inside/outside/open feeling and is a wonderful house for a retired couple.

dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Maloney House

Post by dkottum »

This is not the crappy mansard roof we hated in the 60's. Overall, nice proportion and scale throughout. Stunning wood and stone interior, with very interesting spaces. On the lake. What more could you want? Wish we could see a floor plan.

Doug Kottom, Battle Lake, MN

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Now that's better! These photos really tell a lot about this beautiful house. I cabinet doors which seems to have incorporated a couple of panes from FLW's Lake Geneva Hotel. They fit right in. But I still hate the risers.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

No, it's not a Mansard at all, as it is canted out rather than in. Quite dramatic. I question only the continuation of Exterior Texture 3#, the shakes, on the edge of some adjacent slab roofs. Warm but disciplined stone, broad lapped board, and shake shingles. . . very nice! Of course it is beautiful inside, too -- if a tad richly furnished for my taste. (I hope that large framed art will not leave pale rectangles on the wooden walls. . .! But it can be corrected.)

Thanks for the slide show ! SDR

Eric Saed
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Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

Post by Eric Saed »

Nice shots, Paul.

Herb Fritz often adopted that shingle siding for his designs. It's not something I'd choose for my own home, but I like the rustic look.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Agreed, as its warmth accords with the romantic end of the Modern spectrum -- which is what we are drawn to, perhaps, as Wrightians ? It's great to see good work -- call it Organic if you will -- that is a cousin's to Wright's ?

SDR

Eric Saed
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Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:52 am
Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

Post by Eric Saed »

SDR wrote:... warmth accords with the romantic end of the Modern spectrum -- which is what we are drawn to, perhaps, as Wrightians ?

SDR
BINGO! I once heard a description of a Jack Howe house- "it is so relaxing, it's like the house is giving you a hug"

You nailed it!

PNB
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Post by PNB »

Wow! I thought it was nice enough from the first pictures but the new pictures put it in a whole different class. Thanks for posting these!

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