Fawcett House Renovation

CompanyArthur Dyson Architect
Lead DesignerArthur Dyson
PrizeGold in Architectural Design / Heritage Architecture

Restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1955 Fawcett house in Los Banos, California began in July 2012. The restoration architect studied the original plans, historic and family photographs, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives to insure vital colors, finishes and details. The owner’s children, and original interior designer for the home, were also consulted throughout. Additionally, the restoration closely followed the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Guidelines and Standards for historic preservation. While preserving as much of the original structure as possible, the restoration involved structural stabilization, selective demolition of previous additions and alterations, updating of building systems, and complete interior and exterior restoration. The original design sketches showed several items such as a caldron in the main fireplace and a forecourt. None of these were built by the original owners, but were completed as part of the restoration. Although in dire need of refurbishing, the mahogany paneling, doors and cabinets remained otherwise unscathed. Original hardware was refinished and restored. After extensive research and countless color samples, the concrete block walls that had been painted pink were returned to their original color. A serious ridge failure was structurally corrected and the original ceiling finish was replicated in the repairs. Failing cement plaster soffits were removed and re- plastered using the original color and textures. Fractured and uplifted colored concrete walks were replaced and extensive grading and drainage was employed to correct flooding and water damage that the home had suffered from its beginning. The restoration of this home also included weather-stripping the multitude of exterior doors and windows, replacing incandescent fixtures with LED, replacing old water heaters with energy-efficient models, installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, adding additional insulation wherever possible, and replacing the old mechanical equipment. Today this iconic structure proudly stands as a testament to the later work of this important American architect.