Harold Turner

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vortrex
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:03 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Post by vortrex »

Here's a story about the Thornapple cottage with lots of pictures.

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-mich ... lloyd.html

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Very useful to have these additional photos. The vintage shots are particularly helpful. Plantings on the inside of the big window are a unique find . . . carrying out Turner's intention to introduce more humidity, according to the text ?

He has handled his roof in an admirable way, reducing all the complexities of the plan into just two uniform and well-sealed planes.

SDR

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

Let's take a poll: Which is superior, the original glazed south wall with the transoms (1), or the replacements without the transoms (2)?

When this house first came to our attention, I felt the bath was a bit of a mess. I'm glad to hear it is a remodel, not a Turner original.

It wouldn't take much to bring this gem back to mint condition, judging by the photos. At $269K, what do you think the odds are it will remain pure?

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The glazing isn't "bad" now -- but the frameless condition at the ceiling (throughout) has been lost. I'd return the single muntin (?) near the ceiling, and drop the other glazing bars, I think. (What's with the obsessive blinds -- even on the clerestories ??)

SDR

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

Perhaps the blinds are an attempt to keep the early morning light at bay since the main room includes the sleeping area? They do look bad. But worse is the fake wood-like cabinet in the kitchen. That's gotta go.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The original cabinetry as revealed in one kitchen photo was not the streamlined plywood work that typified Wright's houses (that recessed-flat-panel door is now called "Shaker" in the industry) but it was far more appropriate than the hideosity now in place. (I was making Formica doors like these in the first business I joined, in rural Massachusetts in the later 'sixties. Perhaps the former owner thought this style period-appropriate ?) I note that Turner bought into Wright's preference for piano hinges.

The random-width board texture seems a minor mistake when seen in plane with a brick wall as at the folding bedroom partition. Wright's use of a modular wood texture is so much better in contrast -- and I think we don't often see him placing brick and wood side-by-side in the same plane, in any event. Another lesson learned from an also-ran ?

Nevertheless the house is a treasure. Let's hope and pray for its ongoing existence.

SDR

DavidC
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: Harold Turner

Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
Posts: 10778
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Harold Turner

Post by Roderick Grant »

6325 is beautiful. There is an exterior photo (#59) which shows a circular staircase inside; that seems to be inconsistent with the overall geometry of the house. And I wonder what's beneath all that wall-to-wall carpeting? Just about anything is better than WTW. A lakeside 4,131 sf house for $499,900, in an excellent neighborhood? That's an unbelievably good buy. Michiganders, would its closeness to Flint be a negative? Isn't that one of the Rust Belt victims?

cmtalley
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:05 pm

Re: Harold Turner

Post by cmtalley »

Hello everyone! I am conducting a survey on all known Harold Turner-designed homes as my final project for my M.S. in Historic Preservation. I have reached out to all known homeowners via letter but I thought I would post here as this is one of the few online resources for information about Turner and his work. If you have any photographs or any other information about a Turner-designed home please let me know! I have a list of twenty houses that I believe are Turner-designed.

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Harold Turner

Post by SDR »

I hope you will receive one or more useful responses. Looking ahead, will the Wright community (and other interested parties, perhaps) be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors, in one form or another, when you are done and the need has passed ? I'm sure many Wrightians will be pleased to know what you found . . .

Best wishes in any event ! S

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Harold Turner

Post by SDR »

The story of how Mr Wright became acquainted with Harold Turner is told by the
Hannas in their book. The brief tale is found on pages 32 and 33:


Image
Image
© 1981 by the Architectural History Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; "FLLW's Hanna House, The Clients' Report"

There is very little else in the book about Turner; on page 49 we learn, in a letter sent to Mr Wright in January, 1937, of the Hannas' arrangement with the builder: "We agreed to pay Harold Turner $300 a month for five months. He agrees to finish the house no matter how long it takes. He gets no more than the $1500 for his entire services. We keep about $500 cash in his account so that he can pay for small items as needed. He gives us a statement each week to show the expenditures for that week. We work together on getting the subcontractors but they are written in my [Paul Hanna's] name. Turner personally hires and fires the day laborers and the carpenters. So far we have found him to be excellent."

Later we have him firing a mason who began the chimney but disappeared from the job, after his workmanship deteriorated. That's about it. No news is good news ?

S

cmtalley
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:05 pm

Re: Harold Turner

Post by cmtalley »

Thank you SDR! The Hanna's book was an important resource for me and one of the few resources that mentions Turner in any depth. I've had to do most of my research by gathering archival information as there is almost no secondary sources that cover Turner and his work (the Hanna's book and John Sergeant's "FLW's Usonian Houses" are about the extent of it).

Yes, I am more than willing to provide a copy of the survey to anyone who wishes to see it! For future reference, in case someone sees this many years from now (I am not active on this message board), the survey report will be archived at the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, the Eastern Michigan University Archives, with the Bloomfield Historical Society, and with me (my last name is included in my screen name here and I'm an architectural historian in Detroit so I should be easy to find via Google). Honestly, I have amassed a huge amount of archival information about Turner, his time with Wright, and the houses he designed so please do get a hold of me if you'd like more info!

Regarding HT designed houses: In total, I have found 20 confirmed houses in Michigan (well, 90-99% confirmed), 1 house that was built by Turner but not designed by him (but actually probably was largely designed by him), 3-4 unconfirmed or ambiguous houses, and another 2 houses in Canada that are definitely Turner's. I am convinced there are more but because there is no centralized archive of Turner's work, it is very tough to find his houses except by word of mouth. This chat thread was hugely helpful, so thanks to everyone over the past 10 years that have contributed to it!

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Harold Turner

Post by SDR »

And thanks to you. We'll take whatever you care to share with us. I have not found you yet via Google; any other hints before you go ?

(I regret that the management of the site is unable to restore the functionality of the automatic notification mechanism, whereby any activity on a thread here will prompt an e-mail notification to all persons who have contributed to that discussion . . .)

S

cmtalley
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:05 pm

Re: Harold Turner

Post by cmtalley »

My name is Cassandra Talley and I work in Detroit at an architectural firm, Kraemer Design Group. Although I have gathered a lot of information about Turner and the houses he designed, I know there is more to discover so if there is an intrepid historian who wants more information, I can readily supply it. The homes Turner designed are spectacular and (dare I say it here?) more "livable" in some respects than are Wright's in my opinion. I plan to put together a Wikipedia entry so people have more information about him.

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Harold Turner

Post by SDR »

That would be wonderful. Have you managed to find (or make) photographs of many of the houses ? Have you been able to visit some of them ? When a house is listed for sale, Zillow is usually good source of images. But when a house is not on the market, availability of images is usually restricted to street views . . .

S

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