Don and Mary Lou Schaberg Residence (1950)

Okemos, Michigan
HW #48

The owner was very friendly and welcomed us into their home. The 50’s design, shows signs of Wright’s later Usonian homes, but is also reminiscent of his earlier works. Apparently it was after Wright’s passing that the first owners contacted Taliesin to make additions. They had added doors and extra rooms, and when the second owners underwent renovations restoring the house to the original, they tore down most of the added doors to open up the plan but kept the extra master suite. New heating/cooling system had to be installed. The original owners had carpeted the whole area so they stripped them off. The tiles have still maintained their integrity despite its treatment, but the occasional cracks and slight browning of the cherokee red tiles gave the floor character.

The kitchen features a double storey core, enclosed with brick walls on all four sides with a skylight illuminating the space. (b) The brick supports the cantilevered roof, allowing for non-structural window frames. After mastering the corner glass windows, Wright seems to have taken a step farther, by meeting the glass with the ceiling. The tops of the horizontal windows, rather than the frames, meet the ceiling and the sloping cantilevered roof, making it appear as if it is magically supported by the transparent wall. The use of the rounded pitched ceiling was similar to that of Greycliff, but here, felt much more open with the double storey living space and open floorplan.

Oddly enough, the tower (c) was a part of the original design. Apparently the owner went to the World Exhibition and saw his friend acquire a tower at his home. This tower was used as his office. It’s not being used anymore, but populated with corpses of dead bugs. You can see the whole roofscape of the house, but despite the 360 windows, still feels somewhat claustrophobic.

The hallway (d) leading to the suit consists of a three layers of brick wall stepping back towards the bottom. The brick wall was originally the exterior wall of the house, but was made into an interior hallway with an opposing glazed wall.