Not too long after I started working on a Frank Lloyd Wright home here in Connecticut I was asked to fix the front storm door because it was badly warped and one of the screws holding the handle in place had stripped out, leaving the handle a bit loose.
After altering the door in my shop I brought it back to the residence and set it outside. I left it leaning there against the stone wall in the carport while I worked on the jamb and passive side. I replaced the passive side and left for the night.
The next morning at 5:30am the garbageman stopped to collect the trash and for some reason, took the door as well.
When I showed up at the job site, just a few hours later, and couldn’t find the door, panic set in. We raced to phone the sanitation company. They said the door had been taken, dumped at the transfer station and had by now been driven over by large debris moving caterpillars. The original Frank Lloyd Wright front storm door was destroyed!
While working on this home, I removed some large boards of mahogany from the deck area. Every piece of this Frank Lloyd Wright original that I removed, I labelled and stored neatly in one of the out-buildings. I brought a few pieces to my shop and reconstructed the door using that material from the site.
Having the opportunity to affect repairs on what I consider to be an important structure, at times, holds more meaning to me than to the client. The work I do, in a way, can be a personal interaction between myself and the original Architect, Builder and/or carpenters. I have my hands on things that homeowners never see; the guts of a house. In a forensic sort of way, I can get a feeling for the job as it might have been for the crew putting it together.
Using wood that came from the house was important to me but furthermore I wanted to use wood that Frank Lloyd Wright likely had set his own hand upon. So, from handrail to front door handle here you have it:
The photograph above shows the new screen door installed.
Frank Lloyd Wright began using the red square symbol as his signature mark around 1904. This home was built in 1952. In this image we can see the original signature block on the left hand side.
Thank the lucky stars we didn’t leave that door off too!
This entry is backdated to the date this job was completed in May of 2001. WoodDance Studio