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frank lloyd wright

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, decorating, garden, landscaping

Spring Awakening: Filling the Window Box with Prairie Grass

05/28/2014

American System Built home window flower box

I’ve been waiting all winter for this. Seriously, I sounded like a broken record all winter long. I can’t wait to get my hands on that window box, I would say over and over again. I’m going to plant some decorative grasses in there as soon as I’m able, I promised. Last weekend, I did just that. My next test in patience will be seeing if it grows!

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decorating, DIY

Before & After: Goodbye Mr. Big Light

02/05/2014

020114-light-01As I’ve been switching out lighting in the Dream House I’ve loved seeing what a difference a small change can make. As I posted previously, I’ve been replacing the existing light fixtures with porcelain lampholders and Edison bulbs. I started upstairs in the bedrooms and hallway and now I’m moving downstairs. Despite the fact that the rest of the dining room looks terrible (ugh, those sheers curtains!), I still want to post about saying goodbye to Mr. Big Light.

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dream house, Our Story

How We Met Mr. Wright & Fell in Love with a House

12/06/2013

1917 - Meier House 2

The dream house as it looked soon after it was built in 1917.

When we’ve told family, friends and colleagues about our purchase of the Dream House, the reaction has typically gone like this:

“Wow! Congratulations! Where is the house?”
“In Iowa.”
(Pause. Eyes widening and mouths falling somewhat open.) “Iowa? Isn’t that kind of…far?”
“Well, yes it is. But it’s a very special house. ”

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