When other Frank Lloyd Wright-designed properties pop up on the market, we can’t help but peer over the proverbial fence and compare notes. Mind you, this is more easily done with other Wright-designed Prairie houses, like our own. Recently, some Usonian houses have come up for sale. Each has been beautifully and thoroughly designed; one must feel as though one is actually living in a work of art, even more so than we do in our gorgeous house. A recent listing showed stunning interiors covered in wood – ceilings, walls, built-in shelves and furniture. We wonder, however, how much a completely designed house pushes out the homeowners’ ability to be co-creative with the space? If there are no walls to paint and little furniture needed to add, what more is there to do than fill up the built-in shelves and perhaps change out curtains and floor rugs?
Our house is somewhat of a blank canvas, held within a Wright-designed frame. The frame does dictate to some degree how we fill in the canvas, but for the most part it’s ours with which to play. We are certainly choosing to restore some interior elements to the house that were altered or removed years ago, like the original built-in cabinets, woodwork, and fireplace. We also hope to eventually “Wright” some alterations made to the exterior of the house, and frame it with more organic landscaping. But that said, we have little interest in making the house a museum. We would rather it be a space in which we can live in harmony with what it once was and was meant to be, but also with what it is now and can be. It’s a heady task, this balancing act between preserving the form of the house while updating its function, but we think we’re on the right (if not completely “Wright”) track.
Image: This American House
I don’t know how it was where you live, but here at the dream house we experienced one of the worst winters in the history of ever. We’re talking 50 below zero wind chills and snow piled as high as mountains. Seeing the leaves return to the trees feels like some sort of reward for surviving the worst that Mother Nature can dole out. Every time I look out the window and see the lush green vines covering the carriage house, I breathe a sigh of relief. Winter is but a distant memory to me now. We’re living the lush life.
Image: Mr. and Mr. Blandings
Just as we reclaimed the original dining room doors in our American System-Built home, we also hope to reuse the original kitchen cabinets. That’s right, we still have the original cabinetry from our American System-Built home! Sitting in a corner by the garage door, covered in years of dust, cobwebs and peeling paint, these cabinets are just begging to be refinished and reclaimed.
The last time I was talking about the dining room doors here on the blog they were leaning against the dining room wall. We had brought the doors in from the rafters above the garage and cleaned them of the layers and layers of dust and bird’s nests but I wanted more seasoned hands than my own to help install them. Fortunately, just a week later, my parents came to the Dream House with a wood router in tow and, working together like a happy DIY family, we got the doors re-installed!
One of the exciting extras that came with the Dream House was the original blueprint. The framed blueprint has been hanging on a wall near the front door when we first viewed the house and we (quite wisely, I think) stipulated that it had to stay with the house as a condition of the sale. I mean, if you’re going to buy a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, you sure as hell want the blueprint for it! We recently decided to have the blueprint re-framed, affording us the opportunity to photograph it while it was out from under the glass.