Preservation of Davison Apartment at Taliesin
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Mar 3, 2020
At Taliesin in Wisconsin, our preservation team is working to restore and update a historic communal living space in order to return it to a multi-person dwelling. Here we share the current progress of the project.
The Davison Apartment is one of many communal living spaces that are still in use at Taliesin. This apartment is named after Kay and Allen Lape “Davy” Davison and their two children, Tal and Celeste who lived at Taliesin in the 1950s. It is believed that Davy Davison did much of the built-in work throughout the apartment. Records indicate that the apartment has served as living quarters for individuals or couples since at least the 1930s.
The space contains three bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room, and a full bathroom. Our preservation team is working to return the space to its historical roots as a multi-person dwelling, that will allow for more people to experience life at Taliesin. Updates and rehabilitation of the space include cleaning and refinishing woodwork throughout, restoration of a built-in desk, and updates to the bathroom and kitchenette. This work is currently in progress and is anticipated to be completed by the end of March. Below, Director of Preservation at Taliesin, Ryan Hewson, shares photos showing the progress of the work that has been completed so far.
Refinishing Wood Elements
Much of this apartment had wooden paneling and wooden closet doors. This before and after shows the storage cupboards before and after work. In this very labor-intensive process, the crew gently cleaned and used a wax stripper to remove built up residue. Two new coats of shellac were applied, finally a coat of wax was applied over top to help protect the surfaces and make maintenance easier.
Bathroom and Plumbing Updates
All of the plumbing fixtures in this bathroom were replaced. The historic tub and hardware were retained and all of the finishes were restored.
This desk, built and designed by an apprentice, was restored and rebuilt where necessary, due to years of use. These photos show the desk in the process of being repaired.
This work was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kohler Trust for Preservation.