Dorothy G. Turkel House
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect
USONIAN AUTOMATIC DESIGN 1955
The music room is the spacious central living area of the house, a period photograph provided by a member of the Turkel family guided Morgan and Silk in their efforts. The soaring space with 15-foot ceilings features hundreds of pierced blocks with glass set in. Original Philippine mahogany built-ins have been refinished and reupholstered. Coffee tables and hassocks sold by the second owner have been reproduced from the original Wright plans. The floor is polished concrete
Mr. Wright declared the garden was the most important room of the house.
When the house was purchased in June 2006 there was no garden. Only 4 original mature trees and an overgrown lot with grapevines and wild trees surrounded the house. Wright situated the house in the far corner of a double lot, creating a large expansive setting. Working with landscape architect, Richard Haas, a plan was created. A large gravel courtyard was created near the street to display sculpture, eliminating the need to cut grass. The sculpture garden is all green and white, very subtle with wide beds of ground cover such as myrtle and liriope, bordering a yew hedge. Annabelle hydrangeas were used on the street side which can be viewed from the house. A gravel drive was added to facilitate ease of access and winds through a naturalized, seasonally changing perennial garden. The terrace was designed by Wright but never built. Current owners expanded it slightly and added a rectangular water feature. The gardens are an important part of the Usonian Automatic concept integrating inside and outside together emphasizing his organic principles.
Turkel house in total disrepair June 2006
Turkel House had been in decline for a number of years. Little maintenance was provided by previous owners, many of which were absentee. By 2006 when we purchased the house all systems had failed. No heat, bad plumbing, sparking electrical and a very leaky roof. Lack of maintenance on the carport roof had caused it to sag creating a structural problem. The concrete block was absorbing water like a sponge causing cracks and broken block. All interior wood was faded and stained and needed to be refinished. Concrete floors which had been covered with carpeting were cleaned and polished. A restoration architect Lawrence Brink of Ann Arbor a former Wright apprentice, was consulted and hired to oversee the restoration. Work began in early 2007