|Photo From Hour Detroit|
After years of disrepair, the 4,300-square-foot home that Dorothy Turkel commissioned in 1955 is shiny, new, and begging for a Mad Men party. It’s the only two-story Usonian automatic home that Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed and therefore attracts photo-snapping architecture enthusiasts to its lawn with a bit more regularity than its current residents, Norman Silk and Dale Morgan, would like. Curbed reporter (and friend of Positive Detroit) Sarah F. Cox sat down with the couple, who are partners in life and a local floral business, to talk about what it’s like to live behind all that glass.
Curbed National: When you saw this house for sale in a state of disrepair, what made you want to take that on?
Dale Morgan: We’ve lived in Palmer Woods [the Turkel House’s neighborhood] for 25 years. Most of the houses aren’t modern at all and we’d always lived in a traditional home; we had a beautiful Mediterranean villa. We wanted to do something contemporary because we had redone that house three times so we were looking around for options; at first we didn’t even realize that that this was truly a Frank Lloyd Wright home.
Norman Silk: I was driving by one day and saw the “For Sale” sign in the yard and stopped. It was a really sunny day and the light was streaming in; the whole house was empty and everything we have now was here, but badly faded, like the benches and shelves. There was old white upholstery and water-stained wood and the color of everything was butter yellow. You could see the red floors, which are polished concrete, but they still had carpet glue on them and they were dirty. But I saw the bones of the house and I thought that is really an interesting, cool house.
CN: It's pretty amazing that you just stumbled upon a Frank Lloyd Wright home. How was its history so unknown?
NS: This house had been in decline for the 25 years we’d lived here; it had never been a vibrant house. It was unkempt and overgrown, no one had ever done much with it, and there wasn’t much conversation in the neighborhood about it being truly a Frank Lloyd Wright. In our minds, we thought it was a student of Wright or just in the style of Wright; once we knew what it really was that piqued our interest.
DM: After we bought it everyone said, “Oh I was going to buy that house.” It had been on the market a lot of times over the years and so a lot of people had looked at it.
CN: How did you bring your design aesthetic into the home?
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