The Winn House

We are very pleased to be assisting the new owners of the Winn House in Kalamazoo, Michigan with the restoration of their Frank Lloyd Wright House designed in 1950. Similar to the Laurent House in Rockford, the Winn House is a more basic version, comprised of custom-designed concrete blocks and a screened-in porch.
The first phase of the work will be the reroofing of the house. Original drawings show a dramatic steel-reinforced cantilevered carport that was modified during construction to use wood and two small pipe columns. We are planning on using the steel as Wright had intended and eliminate the columns. Later phases include the cleaning and restoration of the concrete block, refinishing of the exterior and interior wood, and returning the now-enclosed porch back to screens. Stay tuned!

More Balch Photos

the front of the house was in far worse shape than we initially thought. The front terrace had been rebuilt once already and was failing due to bad foundations. The stucco had been coated with paint and an additional coat of high cement white quartz stucco. All of the stucco had to be removed in order to repair structural problems.
The balconies were sagging as well. Wright used the floor joists to cantilever over the exterior wall but over time the weight of the balconies was too much for the floor joists. Usually we “sister” new steel on to the floor joists to make them level, but we instead used steel “brackets” that were applied on the outside and less invasive to interior finishes.

A previous owner decided to use the planter at the front entry to support the sagging enclosed porch above. We elected to use steel beams, installed from the front of the house, over the study to eliminate the column.

The Dining Room and Living Room have been restored.

The front of the house appears as it did when first completed.

The Balch (Pearson) House

The Oscar Balch House was one of the first homes designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright upon his return from an extended trip to Europe, during which he designed no houses. Wright had traveled to Europe with Mamah Borthwick, a client’s wife. This flaunting of public morality lost him friends, clients and his family. Amongst those who by contrast stood by Wright was the interior decorator Oscar Balch.

The owners of the house came to realize that the interior plan was not in keeping with contemporary lifestyles. Although the house displayed a grand Living, Dining Room and Study arranged axially across the front of the house, the kitchen was extremely small, and the house lacked an informal family room. Eifler & Associates was retained to restore the exterior of the house, and design an addition to accommodate the owner’s desire for a larger kitchen and family room.

This is a photo of the house before restoration. We discovered that the failing front porch was a rebuild of the original porch, and the house lacked a trellis that once existed on the roof parapet.

The addition was built along the north property line to provide as much outdoor space as possible and allow for ample natural light.

Door County Retreat

A weekend cottage in Door County caught fire unexpectedly and burned to the ground. Memories of the cottage will always remain, but the family decided to build anew. The clients requested a large living area, where guests could mingle, cook, dine and socialize inside and out, maintaining views of Lake Michigan. Bedrooms were designed to be private and flexible, allowing for single or multiple/family use. The house is built from native Wisconsin stone, cedar and glass. Floors are made from polished concrete and heated for comfort during the cold winter months.

The Mary Adams House

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905, The Mary Adams House has been largely overlooked by Architectural Historians, probably because the house is lacking typical “prairie school” decorative features such as art glass, wright-designed furniture and similar ornament. The house is modest in size (2200 s.f.), but has a monumental presence. These photos show the transformation of the exterior from a white and brown painted stucco house to a stained wood trim and integral color stucco exterior finish. The roof is comprised of recycled aluminum shingles placed on top of 4 inches of rigid insulation for improved energy performance. All original sash has been saved and refinished, and a new interior storm window with insulating glass will improve the energy efficiency of the house. Finally, geothermal heating and cooling will greatly reduce energy consumption while making the house quite comfortable. More to follow.