Restoring a Wright Masterpiece
We all know the damage hurricanes can cause. While any devastation is tragic, it is especially disheartening when a historical site suffers extreme destruction. Such was the case with the Charnley-Norwood House in Mississippi, which sustained excessive damage during Hurricane Katrina. Chicago lumber-baron James Charnley commissioned two of America’s most famed architects, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, to design his prominent vacation residence. This iconic 1890s masterpiece is said to exemplify a watershed in residential design that re-shaped 20th century residential architecture.
Every effort needed to be taken to restore this important part of architectural and American history. Esteemed Architect Larry Albert of Hattiesburg, MS took on the challenge of reconstructing this Sullivan-Wright masterpiece. You can imagine the excitement and honor we felt when we discovered Mr. Albert specified Goodwin’s Curly Heart Pine Paneling (with a custom V-Joint profile) for this very important project. Recreating and restoring a masterpiece is quite challenging, and Goodwin worked hand-in-hand with the entire building design team from start to finish.
If you look closely in this photo, you can see the alternating sap and heart boards of curly in this cabinet. This is the nature of curly since it is often all sapwood, comprised of outer boards of only one (1) out of every 500 or so logs.
It was initially thought that the flooring in the home was not original because it had a back relief. We were able to demonstrate to the building design team that 125 years ago, they did kerf the backs to save on transportation cost. Wood flooring was simply very expensive to ship back then. There was also waxy paper under the original floor. We encouraged them to consider using Aquabar “B” by Fortifiber, one of several products with a bituminous layer between two layers of kraft paper. These products slow down the moisture movement from the crawl spaces where hot humid air cools off and introduces moisture into the flooring. Roofing felt does nothing to stop moisture movement and plastic traps it. Aquabar “B” has a permeance rating between the felt and the plastic. This prevents moisture from moving quickly and minimizes the possibility of cupping.
Greg Bingham of Ocean Springs Lumber visited the site with me. Ocean Springs Lumber also provided materials for this project.
Curly Heart Pine can be used in a variety of residential, historical and corporate settings. Call Goodwin today to discuss ways this beautiful wood can add distinction and character to your home, office or preservation project.
More about the Charnley-Norwood House: