Fawcett House of Los Banos - Page 2

FLWright's design on valley farmland gets first-hand expertise in awarded restoration
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Fawcett House owners Ken and Carrie Cox.

The home's slab foundation is brown instead of Wright's usual iron-oxide red to complement the earthy hues of the 80-acre H. G. Fawcett ranch. The floor plan follows an equilateral triangular form with the walls of two wings extending at 60- and 120-degree angles (like the Hanna House at Stanford) from the living room/kitchen core to bedrooms on one side and the dining room and playroom on the other.

Consequently, says Whiting, "Spaces merge together instead of being defined by doorways. Walking through the house, one does not encounter a wall head on, but is gently directed along the 120-degree angle."

When current owners Ken and Carrie Cox bought the home, Dyson said, "The house was neglected as far as the maintenance." A sizable team of professionals undertook extensive restoration, including the enchanting Japanese garden added in the 1980s by Fawcett and landscaper Jim Kamimoto and restored by landscape architect Robert Boro.

Although Wright's supervising contractor and protégé Bob Beharka has passed, his son Eric is an architect and was reportedly on site at times during the original build. Dyson and contractor Steve Mitchell of BMY Construction were able to consult with the son, original interior designer Cornelia Brierly, and numerous photos and plans for the award-winning restoration.

"So, we had a lot of people to rely on as far as accuracy," Dyson acknowledged. "I asked Cornelia about a number of things…We tried to be as true to the original design as possible."

"There was a lot of work on this—there was a lot of forensic study done."

Obviously, experts are impressed with the results.

For information about the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Wright Spirit Award gala October 5 at the DoubleTree Hilton Los Angeles, click here.

For information about and tickets to the California Preservation Foundation Awards on October 18 at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, click here.