Photos and text (c) Mark Hertzberg
The Hardy House is a construction zone again after a two-year respite.
The east side of the house is sheathed in scaffolding, and scaffolding again fills the two-story living room as it did several years ago while plaster was repaired and the house was repainted.
The living room and the dining room are walled-off in construction workers’ heavy plastic, diminishing the view of Lake Michigan from the living room balcony:
The living room and dining room windows are being replaced, which may sound routine, but the work also entails rebuilding structural elements of the house above and below the windows. It will not be known how much needs to be rebuilt until workers begin the reconstruction. The center dining room windows lead to the dining room terrace, whose rubber membrane flooring (shown in a 2002 photo, below) needs to be replaced, as well.
The four square panels between the living room windows (above the panels) and the dining room windows (below the panels) were originally stucco, as shown in this 1906 photo taken as the house neared completion:
(Photo courtesy of, and (c) Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)
It is believed that the stucco had cracked because the dining room windows leaked, and the panels were replaced by wood panels when Wright’s leaded glass living room windows were replaced with plate glass windows in 1947, concurrent with the rebuilding of the dining room terrace to create for a recreation room below.
The dining room now serves as a construction office for the workers from Bane & Nelson contractors:
It is impossible to estimate how long the work will take, but Bane & Nelson has a deadline of finishing in time for tours during the 2015 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy meeting in Milwaukee and Racine in early October.