Project: 9A Myrtle Ave.

Frank Lloyd Wright Ben Rebhuhn House.jpg

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Ben Rebhuhn house, located in Great Neck, NY. It was constructed  in 1937 at a cost of $35,000. To put that into perspective, it would be the equivalent of about $600,000 in 2018 dollars. The original owner was a magazine publisher and his wife was a dress designer.

Wright contrived some 400 buildings across the United States. The Rebhuhn house was one of the earliest Usonian homes built in the northeast. The concept behind the Usonian home, which he named for the United States, was to provide shelter for ordinary people. The homes were a single story, constructed on a concrete slab and adjoined to a car port, but never a garage.

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This particular home has a cruciform design, and features a 2 story living room and library, with floor to ceiling windows on either side. A 28’ long couch was built into the living room wall. Another interesting design feature was that the house was built around a tree situated in the middle of the dining area. Constructed of brick with red roofing tiles, it also featured red cypress board and battens inside and out.

In the 1970s, there was a fire in the house . It was restored and the kitchen and dining area were modernized. However, the tree perished in the blaze. It was never replaced.

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When the eighty year old custom crafted windows and doors were in need of restoration,  Right Path Windows and Restoration restored all of the windows and doors throughout the home. There were five sets of French doors and three entry doors, all made of cypress, in which the glass had come loose in the rabbetts. The rails and stiles were all very narrow, as was typical of Wright's designs. This feature made the already meticulous restoration process a bit more intricate.

The windows and doors were all uninstalled, clamped up and reinforced to make them square again, along with resetting all of the original glazing. One of the greatest challenges was to match the stain on the existing woodwork. However, before the new work could begin, a good deal of time and effort went into removing the numerous makeshift fixes that had been cobbled together over the years. Usually, the fastest way to make a repair is to do it right in the first place.

The original bronze interlock weather stripping was refurbished and now properly engages, and it works just was efficiently as it did when it was installed nearly a hundred years ago. The original window furniture was also restored, including the sliding bolts, strikes, and locks. Thus the original doors and windows were returned to their former glory.

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