New member with New (to me) Usonian Style Home!

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WiscoUsonIan
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New member with New (to me) Usonian Style Home!

Postby WiscoUsonIan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:39 am

Hello everyone!

I've been lurking here for just over a year looking at all the great information and useful tips. Reading other member blogs like Baz's Atomic Indy and Stephen's Cliff May Restovation, just to name a few, inspired me to stary my own documentation blog. I picked usonianautomatic.com for the domain although my house is not a true "usonian automatic" as Frank Lloyd Wright defines it, it is made of block.

Lots of good information here and being a first time owner of a new home I'm sure I'll be asking my fare share of questions.

Anyway my name is Ian and i live in Wisconsin. I just purchased a Usonian home designed by a FLLW apprentice from Switzerland Ernst E. Anderegg in roughly 1958. The house is in basically original condition. About 15 years ago an addition was added to the house creating a bedroom and bathroom and also enclosing the 4 season porch into a living space.

At any rate I'll post some questions soon. Below are some photos and more are available at my blog here: www.usonianautomatic.com


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jesgord
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Postby jesgord » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:45 am

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WiscoUsonIan
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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:08 am

View my documentation blog:

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WiscoUsonIan
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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:06 am

View my documentation blog:

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Postby jakabedy » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:23 am

1920s Bungalow Gal turned MCM Maven

My Blog: http://magiccitymodern.blogspot.com/

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Postby ch » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:08 pm

Delicious! It looks like a bit of work will make the place shine. I spot a few choices left over from the 1980s that don't look too hard to send back to the Reagan years! Please keep us posted with your progress.

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Postby dilettante » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:37 pm

Exceptionally appealing! I note, in the first two pictures, a white vertical material that covers the joints of the corner glass. Is that original or is it covering up something special? It may be that you have the classic mitered-glass corner windows that are so desirable in Wrightian homes. Worth checking out!

Just a wonderful looking place....

WiscoUsonIan
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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:25 pm

thanks for the reply all...

Just finished shoveling off the roof of 20+ inches of snow...

The windows are a mitered corner with a metal ribbing to hold the corners. total of 5 corners like this in the house.

I've got all the original plans for the house and all the details down to the custom mahogany cabinets, built-ins, benches, footings, radiant heating plans, footings, etc...

The plans for the house are an updated kitchen (current house does not have working range or oven) and possible renovation of old addition bathroom. Other updates include new master bath and sink, refinished cement floors, relocated laundry while keeping style and feel of the house intact.
View my documentation blog:

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Postby dilettante » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:01 am

Normally, mitered-glass corner windows stand alone, without any additional material at the corner. Have you checked your plans to see if the metal is original?

Mitered-glass corner windows sure look good in the buff!

Image

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Postby Pal George » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:15 am

Really stunning house Ian, congratulations on scoring such a beauty in such nice condition, is all of Wisconsin so pretty?

One not of caution with removing mastic with solvents, they turn the the mastic into a hideous goopy mess that STAINS or dyes the concrete you are trying to clean, I highly recommend removal via dry means, there are professionals who do this, don't make my mistake. It will be more expensive but it is worth the cost to achieve the right look.

The difference in the version contributed is a butte joined mitered glass application, two pieces of glass cut at 45 degree angles to form a 90 degree corner, or frameless corner. If there is a frame (wood or metal in the corner), but also cut at 45 degree angles to form a 90 degree corner, that still qualifies as a mitered corner :)

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Postby classic form » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:23 am

Sounds like you have things under control but I have one suggestion...if you are thinking of replacing the curtains on the windows with something else don't throw them away. Store them safely so you can bring them back out of storage to put back up when you come to the realization that nothing beats curtains on windows. Especially when you live up north and need to keep the winter winds at bay.

I can answer the question of whether all of Wisconsin is that pretty, yes, all of Wisconsin is that pretty. I've pretty much traveled Wisconsin from one end to the other up and down/back and forth and it's almost as nice as Michigan :wink: I made a run from the southern border up to Minneapolis on the river road not too long ago and it ranks up there with PCH and A1A.

What city are you in?

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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:29 am

well in the case of a true-glass corner I'd agree that that is not what they are. The metal ribbing is in the plans of the house. The two corners in the living area have these. the other 3 have a wood miter corner.


I believe that Wisconsin is beautiful, others may have a differing thought.

I thought that the solvents may have that effect...many of the custom cabinets and built-ins run to the floor... I'll have to meticulously remove the old linoleum and carpet pads around them.

The curtains that were there were hideous...although they will be replaced with custom made panel curtains at a later date.
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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:31 am

ohh forgot to add the general location....

The property is located in the beautiful rolling hills west of Madison in a small town that I'll not mention at this time.
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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:19 am

So question for you all.... What can i do to refinish the floors? they are stained cement and some areas have been painted over, other rooms have nailed tack strips into the cement, bathrooms have painted linoleum that will be removed, and the kitchen had linoleum installed under the carpet.

We've removed the carpet in both bathrooms and the kitchen. and started scraping the linoleum in the remaining rooms.

what do i dill the nail holes with? how should i remove the paint in areas?

My plan is to remove everything and keep the stained cement throughout. what are my options short of re-painting the floor? any help of links are greatly appreciated.

worst comes to worst I'll just paint them but i think it's nicer to have a refinished cement.
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Postby rockland » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:59 am

A stunning home!
And in good hands retaining its intended form.

If you can, post some detail pics.
I can only guess at the damage from carpet tacks.

Top-n-bond is a good concrete filler. It only comes in large bags.
But cheap. It is a re-surfacer. Much finer than concrete. Easy to mix
small batches even in a paper cup. It can be tinted any color or will
stain easy after cure. It contains a bonding agent but i usually add a
bit of pro-bond. If it is a chipped small hole, Weld Crete is a thin glue
like product that helps bond the new material to the old concrete.
Visit a good pro-builder supply store with a picture and my info.
Home depot has most of what you would need but without the
knowledge. I'm not sure if they have cement tinting powders.
Make some tests on any old scrap plywood or old cinderblock. Color
changes dramatically when dry and cured.

I agree it would be nice to avoid painting.

You've got a big job ahead but oh so worth it. It looks to be in fantastic
shape! Congrats.

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Postby modernmecca » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:08 am

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Postby dilettante » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:58 pm

"The floors were stained red when installed...."

Standard practice for concrete floors in homes designed by most Wrightian architects is to have "integral color" mixed into the wet concrete. I'd guess yours might have been similarly created. I mention this only because such floors are not technically "stained," but rather the color is the same throughout the floor.

Just mentioning this because one might treat stained floors differently than those with integral color.

Best of luck with your stunning home!

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Postby rockland » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:02 am

I noticed you posted on the Wright site. Smart.
And yes, the stained floors were most likely tinted with concrete powder
when originally poured. Mixed in with the concrete before pouring.
The discoloration in areas seem to be wearing off of the finish. The
sealer. Could be wax? I'm sure you could get a few opinions with a floor
contractor or two. Removing and re-sealing. That should correct the
pinkish areas?
Must be someone in your area that will understand the importance of
renovation vs/ paint it, cover it mentality.

(I'm painstakingly fixing my cork entry this morning. I doubt anyone in my
area would understand why)

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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:20 am

ok thanks for the details on the floor coloring....

The floor was painted the same color by the previous owner and he was lazy so it looks like some furniture items were simply painted around...that's why some areas are fated or dull (these are the original floors i believe)

I'll try and fine a contractor to provide some insight to renovate/re-polish/whatever the term to the floors.

I've added some plans to the blog to help digest the space with the photos. These are images of the original plans. Check it out!

http://usonianautomatic.blogspot.com/
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Postby Pal George » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:08 pm

I restored a Rodney Walker designed house in Silver Lake (Los Angeles), I discovered with the help of Julius Shulman's original 1953 photos of the house when it was completed had dyed concrete floors, the dye was applied to the surface only, while the cement was curing, in the process of removing the mastic (black glue) if the contractor was too heavy handed too much of the color would be subtracted. When I removed walls I discovered the concrete was free of color which confirmed the manner in which the dye was applied. I have visited Frank Lloyd Wright homes and found painted red floors. If your floors are dyed through then you might be able to use solvents to remove the paint and not damage any of the dye, if your lucky the previous owner used latex based floor paint :)

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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:27 am

I've got plans for the kitchen reno posted at the blog.... check it out!

View my documentation blog:

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Postby kandersen » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:42 am

Ian, for the floors I would consult with someone in your area that does marble and terrazzo polishing. Our yellow pages in Indy has a terrazzo section, so maybe Madison does as well. They may be able to help you on figuring out whether the concrete color is on the surface or throughout and the best way of achieving your goal for the floor.

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Postby WiscoUsonIan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:45 am

Thanks kandersen...

I've had a few people out to look at the status. it appears that it's just a top layer on the cement that is colored it's about 1/8" thick but it's not colored in all areas.

At this time I'm leaning to the overlay option and keeping the original colors. This will create a new seamless floor and fill all the holes, cracks, and patches. I'll also replace the wood trim with a seamless cement trim.

the overlay option is about $2 a Sqft Less than a grind and polish because there are so many corners and areas that need to be done by hand.
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