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american system built home

American System-Built Home, Frank Lloyd Wright, original elements

Who Built the Windows in Our American System-Built Home?

12/07/2020
The five windows on the south wall of the living room feature a zinc glass design seen in other American System-Built Homes

The Meier House contains a total of 38 windows, most of which still open and close, although some need a little encouragement from a rubber mallet. We can attribute the excellent condition of these 100-year-old wooden casement windows to the dedicated restoration efforts of Becky and Peter Olafsen. For our part, we have diligently been carrying on the care of the windows by tending to them each spring and fall. We oil the hinges and window stays, and carefully clean the glass twice each season.

Inner storm windows being stained and prepped for re-installation

Although inner “storm” windows and screens were not specified in the original plans for our Model M202 American System-Built Home, not long ago we discovered a few original interior screens in the attic of the new garage. We’ve seen a few variations on such screens in other ASBHs we have visited, although we have been unable to conclude whether a variety of screens was made available depending upon the model of ASBH a homeowner purchased, or if weatherproofing was left to individual owners to determine. Apart from the sun porch windows, newer protective inner glass windows are installed with each of the Meier House’s outer windows, along with a large selection of interior screens with numbered tags or handwritten notations indicating their placement throughout the house. We have not been able to verify which owner built these inner inserts, but given Delbert Meier’s penchant for woodworking, there is a strong possibility that he added some or all of the interior windows himself. In stripping paint from these windows, however, we have discovered that some storm windows and screens are newer than others, leading us to believe that some were rebuilt or replaced by succeeding owners as time and weather deteriorated the originals.

This post is an excerpt from our forthcoming book, This American House: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meier House and the American System-Built Homes, coming from Pomegranate Communications July 2021.

American System-Built Home, DIY, renovation

Ding Dong The Mantel’s Gone

07/30/2014

Ding Dong the Mantel's Gone

One night last winter, in what can only be described as a fit of exhaustion and after a long day of travel, I announced that it was time to remove the mantel.

“What?” The Mister asked. “Now?”

“If not now, when?” I implored.

And so armed with a flat head screwdriver and a hammer, we started prying the trim pieces from around the mantel.

“This will be easy,” I promised The Mister. “The mantel is a hollow box that is mounted on the fireplace. I’m sure it’ll just pop right off.”

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cleaning, decorating, garden, setting up home

Welcome to the Carriage House: An Artful Mess

05/29/2014

the original carriage house at the Delbert Meier House

Back in 1917, when Delbert and Grace Meier had their American System Built home constructed, they built what would have then been called a coach house. This is where the couple would have parked their Model T or Monroe Roadster or whatever they were driving at the time. A small boxy structure, the carriage house is covered in the same stucco as the house and topped with the original slate roof. It’s no longer used for housing an automobile but it’s very much a useful part of the house.

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American System-Built Home, DIY, dream house

The Dining Room Doors Are Officially Reclaimed!

05/06/2014

the original dining room doors are re-installed at the Delbert Meier House

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!

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