In 1988, Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino bought a run-down house in the Millstone borough of New Jersey. A house that was designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. Turns out, that Wright had been thinking of the environment back then. The home, along with about 100 others, was designed in his “Usonian” style– a style that utilized admirable green building principles, including smaller footprints, lower cost, passive solar and radiant heating. The couple, principals of architecture and design firm, Tarantino Studio, renovated it, which won an award from the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architecture.
The home was originally built by Wright in 1954 for Abraham Wilson and his first wife, Gloria Bachman. The home sits on the banks of the Millstone River and is constructed from concrete, wood and glass. As a single-level home, the house has a small footprint and is without a garage or a basement.
As typical of Wright’s homes, outdoor spaces were incorporated into the design of the house. The Tarantinos also bought a 250-year-old barn from Vermont and moved it to the property. Mr. Tarantino says, the barn, which is now their studio, “speaks to Frank Lloyd Wright’s theme of connecting indoor and outdoor space in a kind of ode to nature.”
The renovation of the home has taken a number of years, but in the process the couple have become something like experts on the restoration of Wright homes. In 1988, when the Tarantinos purchased the house, it had been badly ruined from flooding of the nearby Millstone River and was later inundated with water again from two hurricanes in 1999 and 2007. And after the flood in 2007, the Tarantino’s devised a “recoverable” kitchen– in order to minimize flood damage. The cabinets are wooden boxes that can slide out from underneath the countertops, which are independently connected to the walls. So when a flood threatens the home next, cabinets can be removed, stored at higher ground and reinstalled when the water recedes.
The Tarantino’s renovation recently won them a Merit Award in Preservation from the NJ AIA. The renovation included rebuilding the kitchen according to Wright’s original drawings, restoring and rebuilding original furniture and the use of upholstery fabrics appropriate for the house and the period.
via New York Times