When Dale Morgan and Norman Silk spotted a “For Sale” sign in front of a contemporary home in the Palmer Woods neighborhood of Detroit it was just what they were looking for, so they snatched it up. Little did they know that they had just stumbled into buying a true Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, known as the Turkel House. To answer the question you are all asking yourselves, how could they not have known, it turns out that 25 years of disrepair, long periods of vacancy and changing owners hands combined with years of deferred maintenance and overgrown vegetation can hide a FLW design quite well. More following the break.
Commissioned in 1955 by Dorothy Turkel the 4,300 sqf home is the only two-story Usonian home that Wright designed (even more of a steal for Morgan and Silk!) Replicated throughout the design is a square block shape noticeably seen in the music room, a full two story space that allows light to penetrate the space through blocks on two sides at 16 inches – two thirds of the 24 inch grid. Continuing in the exterior details a special fascia block and corner block are also used to implement the necessary repetition and preservation of proper scale that Wright desired.
“The house was very forward thinking. Wright was the man that understood that American lifestyle was going to be changing,” shared Morgan. Once they realized what they just bought, Morgan and Silk decided to leave their aesthetic behind and restore the house to the greatness that it once was inside and out. They began by carefully reviewing the blueprints, sifting through archives, and locating every picture that they could, some original photographs of the interior where provided by one of Ms. Turkel’s granddaughter whom Morgan and Silk contacted. They pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle what they believe was Wright’s intention, and then incorporated some artwork and a few accessories of their own.
It took them four years to completely restore the home, which appeared initially as a lost cause, but their investment of both time and money clearly has payed off. They are the proud owners of a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright home, complete with a few sidewalk sightseers.
Morgan sums up his feelings about living in the home and its designer stating, “You know how Americans think they can do everything? They just think their own taste is exquisite. But we are in a style/taste business and we know that we don’t know everything. Once you live in a house like this and experience it you realize there is some logic to it, there is flow, the repitition really does work, and you want it to be simple. This was spot on. So there is no need for me to make changes. My philosophy is that it is a world-renown architect: don’t help.”