Frederick C. Robie House Oak Park, Illinois

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Peter Beers*
Written By Peter Beers*

The Frederick C. Robie house designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908is in the middle of a 10 year renovation project.  At this point, the homeis partially dismantled, but they’re still giving tours of the house. We’ve visited the house every spring over the last 5 years and it has beeninteresting to see the progress done on the renovation.  This is by far themost dismantled that I’ve seen the home.  That made the tour even moreinteresting.  We really got to see the inside construction of thehouse.  Hopefully some of these photos will give you an idea of what wesaw.

This is the front of Robie.  It is completely fenced inwith dumpsters out front and a lot of scaffolding around. The gift shop, locatedin the garage, is still intact and open for business.

This is the back of the Robie house.  There aren’t asmany windows over here, but there is just as much constrution.

You can see that they’ve taken down the front wall that usedto separate the house from the sidewalk.  The wall provides great privacy,but it really needed to be removed to access the front of the house and so thatit could be rebuilt.  It had been sagging a bit at both ends.

This great view is of the main part of the house.  Thethird floor has the bedrooms.  I need to bribe someone to take us up therefor one trip.  It isn’t allowed since there isn’t a fireescape.

Look at the board and lathe that they’re replacing under thiseave.  It is amazing that the cantilevers haven’t sagged more noticeably. Unfortunately, there is a lot of water damage in the house.

Lovely dumpsters, but a good view of the mysterious thirdfloor.

The “prow” of the house is being braced as thestructure of the roof is rebuilt.  This is actually where the current tourentrance to the house is.  The door in use right now was originally awindow, but since the original entrance had been changed numerous times byprevious owners, it is going through some of the most intensive renovation.

This is another view along the front of the house.  Asmuch as anything, you can see how much work is going into the renovation. Donate money to these folks.  They can use it to finish this project.

They’ve obviously done a lot to try to pretty it up for theWright Plus 02 weekend.

The Robie living room is largely intact at this point. They lead the tour through it.  You get to see the original windows. You’ll also get a good view at the water damage in the house.

The ceiling is being braced up during structuralrepairs.

This is the entryway.  Now do you understand why weentered the house through the prow?

This is the view from under the prow.  You can see thatit is completely dismantled at this point.  It was fascinating to see thesteel “I” beams that go the length of the house to hold up thecantilevers.  The more I look at the structure, the more it it amazes methat this place never burned down.  The original wiring was done bystapling burlap covered wires to the wall boards and then plastering overthem.  The original wiring is still intact through much of the house.

Thanks for joining me on this little trip through the Robiehouse renovations.  We’ll go again next year to see the progress. Please take the time to visit the Robie house and the Frank Lloyd Wright homeand studio.  Both are wonderful examples of Wrights work.  The moneygenerated from tours and donations helps to fund the renovation.

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Written by Peter Beers*

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.