Carpentry & Woodwork

Restoration Of The Darwin Martin House


The Darwin Martin house has often been called a masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was commissioned by Darwin D. Martin in the early 1900s. The wood trim of the house was created according to Wright’s design by a team of carpenters from Milwaukee’s Mathew Brothers Manufacturing Co. If this wood trim is laid down end to tend, it would measure to an astonishing length of 8½ miles. This wood work was done in an age when power tools did not exist.

After more than a hundred years since the original house was completed, a new team of carpenters and workers have moved in to restore the house and its magnificent woodwork to its previous glory. The workers have been wonderstruck at how the wood pieces have been joined together using tongue and grooves.

This team has been put together by John Hulley, a woodworker by trade. Wright had made elaborate drawings of each part of the wood trim before the work started. While comparing the drawings to the actual woodwork Hulley and his team discovered that they often seemed to mismatch. It seems alterations and modifications had been done when it was installed.

Theodore Lownie, a specialist in historic preservation has never seen anything as detailed as and Wright’s design. He said it has passed the test of time as well. The Martin House tours have been halted till the restoration work is completed.

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