Have you heard about the John Van Bergen-designed James Irving Residence? It’s a house on the move … literally! This architecturally significant house (Van Bergen worked in Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio) is being relocated from the Wilmette, Illinois site where it was built in 1928 to a new plot of land in nearby Evanston. They must’ve run out of milk on the way because the house is currently parked in the parking lot of a grocery store!
After a developer purchased the house and expressed intent to demolish it and build a new structure on the site, Christopher Enck purchased the Prairie Style structure and arranged its move. To make the move, which occurred over a three day period beginning last Friday, the house has been split into three sections.
Apparently the house’s new site isn’t quite ready and so in the meantime it’s hanging out in the parking lot of an empty grocery store. The three sections of the house, with the exposed ends covered in big plastic tarps, sit on massive trailers in the parking lot of the former Dominick’s store on Green Bay Road in Evanston.
Isn’t it amazing that you can uproot a house from its foundation and relocate it? I mean, we usually think of houses as these immovable structures (at least we HOPE they’re immovable) so it boggles the mind to see that one can be cut up, lifted and carried away.
Well of course The Mister just had to drive past the house and snap some photos. He was surprised to see that the house is really just sitting there in the parking lot, no fence surrounding it or guard protecting it.
Does this mean that we can pick up This American House and move it back to the city? Um, yeah, probably not.
More about the Irving House move:
- You can see a short video of the house being moved at the Chicago Tribune.
- Evanston Now has a great recap on the move and the house.
- Wright in Racine also has a nice recap and photos of the move.
- For a little more history, check out Saving and Moving the Irving House on PrairieMod
Images: This American House
Apparently the developer who rehabbed our condo building back in the early 2000s used some of the cheapest materials he could find. Over the past seven years everything that was new in the condo has failed. Take this faucet on the kitchen sink, for instance. Within a few months of moving into our condo the faucet started leaking. Not a slow drip kind of leak, mind you. That we could live with. No, this leak came out of a hole in the back of the faucet and would slowly flood the entire counter top.
Over the years I’ve found some little fixes for the faucet but the leak would always return. And then a month or so ago the leak became intolerable. If we didn’t tie a towel around the base of the faucet, water would shoot out of the back of it and flood the counter top. The towel would get soaked but at least it would absorb some of the water and also divert it into the sink instead of onto the counter. I lived with the towel wrapped around the faucet for a few weeks but I would groan every time I saw it.
And then one day I said to The Mister, “It can’t be that hard to replace a faucet. I think I can do it myself.”
I pulled up my old friend Google and searched around for faucet replacement tutorials. And you know what? Replacing a faucet is actually one of the easiest DIY plumbing projects in the history of ever!
I’ve learned my lesson from past hubris when it comes to DIY projects. Sometimes a project may seem easy at first glance but then when I’m elbow deep in grease and screwdrivers I realize that it’s not easy at all. With that in mind I watched a few tutorial videos before I finally accepted that this was a project I could tackle on my own. The video I found most helpful was this tutorial from Lowes. In fact, I was going to try to photograph my own faucet replacement so that I could write a tutorial but this video is so good that that didn’t seem necessary.
After watching that video a few times I was totally confident that this was a project I could handle on my own. And I was right! In fact, the only trouble I encountered with the project was disassembling the old faucet to remove it. Oh, and of course, it wasn’t exactly a picnic contorting my body under the kitchen sink. How do plumbers do that all day?
With the old faucet removed (and after I did a little happy dance because I wouldn’t have to deal with its leaks ever again) it was quite easy to install the new faucet. It’s really just a matter of slipping the faucet into place, securing it to the counter from underneath and then connecting the water lines. The new faucet I bought – the Cantara by Pfister – even came with a handy tool that made securing it to the counter super easy.
Oh, new faucet. You make me so happy! I never liked that old faucet to begin with. It was too short to be useful and the sprayer was always a bit wonky. This new faucet works like a charm and the arched spout makes it super useful.
Of course the best part of any DIY project (besides economics) is the satisfaction of knowing that I DID IT ALL ON MY OWN! Every time I walk past the kitchen sink I am filled with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, I never had to witness plumber butt during the installation of the faucet!
Images: This American House