This original Frank Lloyd Wright Estate, was built in 1957 on 20 acres outside of Stillwater, Minnesota. The original design included four structures on the property but only two were built; the Studio and the Cottage. The original owner, Virginia Lovness; built and laid the stone on the two chimneys. The chimneys were a combination of Kasota Limestone mixed with wood. The original stone was set with the bedding planes the wrong way which caused extreme deterioration. The mortar joints on both structures were installed to give the appearance of the original recessed joint but will not hold water. Our craftsmen had the privilege of working off Wright’s original blue prints for the house.
- Remove the chimney stone to the roof deck
- Rebuild the interior with block
- Install new stone to the original design
- Install the original capstone
- Miscellaneous tuckpointing on the interior
- Removal of a past stain from the base of the interior
- Solid cut and tuckpoint the chimney from the roof level to the cap
- Replaced approximately 30 stones on the chimney
Questions asked about the Lovness Estate Project
1. What kind of project was the Lovness Estate project?
The estate has two main structures; the Studio and the Cottage. The current owner of the Estate wished to restore the two homes to their original condition. This involved repairing and rebuilding the chimneys on both the Studio and the Cottage caused by spalling stone.
- The Studio is the main house. The original owner, Virginia Lovness was an art teacher at Hamline University. She would bring her students to her home for Studio class, thus the name Studio.
- The Cottage is a smaller guest house built next to the Studio.
2. Were there specific masonry materials used for it and why?
The chimneys were Kasota Limestone set in a what I would consider a combination Ashlar pattern.
3. What kind of challenges did you face while working on the project
The spalling stone was caused by, incorrectly setting the stone with the bedding plains facing up and raked joints.
- Studio: The stone was in such poor condition that only the existing caps could be saved. Before removal of stone, the chimney was photographed at differing elevations and this snap shot was used as a blue print to attach new stone to replicate the original chimney.
- Cottage: This structure was in better condition but still had deteriorated stone. Approximately 30 stone were removed, replaced and all mortar joints from the roof line to the cap were tuck-pointed.
4. Did you use any special masonry techniques during the project? If so, can you elaborate?
On both structures, we used a weather joint. This allows water to run off the stone, while giving the structures the look of being raked back. Using this technique, allowed us to keep the raked joint look while shedding water properly.
- Studio: To keep the water from penetrating into the house we used a Grace flexible membrane at the base, with a weep system to drain water. We then laid a new block back up to help support the stone.
- Cottage: The large longitudinal stone were tipped back slightly, so water would drain towards the chimney instead of away. To rectify this, we shaved the stone approximately 1/16” from the chimney to the outside edge, this allowed drainage without changing the look of the stone.