Endangered Ravine Bluffs House to be Restored and Go Green

Extensive restoration is planned for the historic Ross House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915 and located in Glencoe, Illinois. The firm of Eifler and Associates of Chicago has been retained as restoration architect by the new owner of the house.

The house was originally built for Frank Lloyd Wright’s attorney, Sherman Booth, who planned to develop an entire community of homes designed by Wright called “The Ravine Bluffs” Development. Landscape Architect Jens Jensen was named as a contributor to the project. The Sherman Booth house was the first to be built, followed by five rental homes, including the Ross House, to provide income for Mr. Booth. To provide unity to the development, Frank Lloyd Wright also designed a bridge and three sculptural markers for the development.

The Ross House has been vacant for 3 years. Subsequent alterations and a general lack of maintenance have led to considerable deterioration of this landmark structure. Concerned with the condition of the house, Landmarks Illinois placed the house on its endangered landmarks list in 2009.

Eifler and Associates restoration program includes removal of a later entry vestibule and the restoration of the entry to its original 1915 appearance, replacement of the roof, reconstruction of the side porch, and restoration of the exterior stucco, trim and windows. Interior work includes restoration of woodwork and plaster finishes, light fixtures, and extensive kitchen and bathroom renovation designed to complement the original design of the building. The second floor of the plan of the house will be altered so that 3 of the original 4 bedrooms will remain intact, and the 4th bedroom converted to a master bathroom.

Plans drawn by Eifler & Associates call for the “greening” of the Ross House by adding extensive amounts of insulation, as well as interior insulating glass windows, geothermal heating, solar photovoltaic panels, grey water recycling and insulating curtains. It is the goal of the restoration team to establish a new standard in energy efficiency and sustainable design for similar restoration projects in the future. It is planned that the restoration will take approximately one year to complete.

>> close window