Web tour: Old-House Journal: Repairing a Frank Lloyd Wright original

Every once in a while when I comb through my stacks of newly arrived shelter magazines, I think it’s time to reduce my subscriptions. I weigh which to eliminate, often zeroing in on the somewhat staid cover of Old-House Journal. Then I read the cover lines and find my curiosity piqued, and before I know it, I’m engrossed in a story.

The October issue (in print and online) has an interesting feature about a 1932 Frank Lloyd Wright house in Minnesota that’s being repaired by its private owners. As seems to be common with many of Wright’s houses, there were some practical failings from the get-go, mainly in the form of infiltrating water. When the original owner brought the moisture problem to Wright’s attention, he recommended the old standby solution: seal with goop. More specifically, OHJ reports Wright instructed, “The tops of the chimney and walls should be coated twice with rubberoid mastic. This will solve your problem.” OHJ notes “It didn’t.”

The article relays in some detail how the offending exterior components were recently addressed. I wish they had included floor plans and interior photos, but they understandably steered toward a more narrowly focused story. In the print edition there are some reproductions of original elevations and detail drawings for those who, like me, find such things intriguing. It’s enough to keep this subscriber coming back. See what you think.

by Katie Hutchison for the House Enthusiast