learning from frank lloyd wright : field trip

By: Cory Thompson

It's a bit cliche to admit that Frank Lloyd Wright might be one of your favorite architects these days. I know this.  But it's hard not to put him high on the list. The man produced so much original work. One can't deny his contributions to the architectural community and his avant-garde ideas towards connecting design to nature. 

Celebrating his 150th Birthday the Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented an exhibit called Frank Lloyd Wright at 150:Unpacking the Archive.  In September I had the opportunity to visit this exhibit along with his Fallingwater House near Pittsburgh PA.  I learned a lot....

The Fallingwater house is one of his best examples of his design philosophy 'organic architecture' which uses design to promote harmony between human habitation and the natural environment.  The way he related this house to the hill, rocks, waterfall and views is the mark of a master.  (I could go into many more amazing details but I wont for the sake of simplicity but you can learn more here: https://www.fallingwater.org/  Unfortunately there was no photography permitted inside but you can take my word for it... It was rich with custom detailing and inspiring space layouts!

The MOMA exhibit presented many of his archived drawings and blueprints. It was interesting to see how he drafted the details for his houses I especially liked seeing his drawings that were drawn to full size - actual scale.  We rarely do that these days (might have to try it soon). I also took note to a few of his working drawings and interesting notes about price and math problems being solved on paper. The penmanship and detail was amazing!

Enjoy these photos from the trip...



Fallingwater House:


MOMA Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright Archive:


Eames Lounge Chair restoration


Written by: Cory Thompson

Besides designing homes I also have an interest in the history of design and collecting vintage designer furniture. So naturally I keep my eyes on the furniture section of craigslist, often typing the words 'Eames Herman Miller' into the search bar.  It's more of a procrastination technique while I warm up to start work in the morning.  This has been been my method for several years so I have a sense of the rarity these types of finds locally.  This Authentic 1960's Eames Lounge Chair I picked up for a great deal and only minor structural repair and cushion restoration. 

This is my second Eames Lounge restoration, the first I also found on Craigslist it was broken with severe damage to the shell but came with an ottoman (2012).    These chairs are a pleasure to restore. During the process of disassembly and restoration you see the honesty of the design details.  It's a real lesson on craftsmanship and design.  

Historical Significance:
The design duo, husband and wife, Charles and Ray Eames designed the chair in the early 1950s along with many of their other famous chair designs.  Charles was an architect and Ray was a painter.  They pioneered the use of molded plywood in furniture design. Both are known for their significant contributions to modern architecture and furniture design. They're also known for their work in graphic designfine art and film.  The Eames lounge chair is one of their most historically significant projects.

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Chair Facts:

  • This chair was first debuted on the NBC Home Show in 1956 and has been in production since with very little alterations a true testimony to the quality and attention to detail of the Eames design process.
  • It was the first chair that the Eameses designed for a high-end market.  
  • A 1956 rosewood Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  
  • Produced by Herman Miller furniture company for North American and by Vitra for the European and Middle East markets.

Here's a video I shot of restoration process in my backyard Studio:

Links to restoration products/services I used:

Best Source I could find on history and how to date an Eames Lounge Chair:

Shock Mounts I recommend:

Cushion repair and zipper replacement:
Great job from these guys at:
Master Craftsman Services, Wilmington, NC

-Cory Thompson

House Foundations, Crawlspace vs Raised Slab

When determining the type of foundation your house will rest on it's important to understand the two most popular foundation types (Southeastern US).  Our non biased pros and cons are below:




  • Crawlspaces are notorious for moisture problems.  (If your project location is in a damp or high moisture climate it would be beneficial to have your crawlspace sealed and conditioned to prevent moisture build up, mold and wood rotting.)
  • Higher labor cost to install. 
  • Termites can be a problem.
  • Higher maintenance.
  • Can be a place for critters to live like varmints, bugs etc.


  • Wood floor framing provides some give when walking (easier on joints).
  • Provides access to underside of house for electrical, plumbing and ductwork.
  • Remodeling is much easier with crawlspace. 
  • Air vents can be located in floor.
  • Possible storage space.



Rasied Slab


  • Remodeling can be costly due to slab removal.
  • Harder on joints / body.
  • Duct work may need to be located in an unconditioned attic (less energy efficient).
  • May feel colder.


  • Lower maintenance.
  • Can give appearance of crawlspace with out added costs.
  • No moisture issues if installed properly.
  • Can be lower to ground for accessibility. 
  • Can contain radiant floor heating for warmth.
  • Wont harbor allergens.


If installed and graded properly, the crawlspace is a good option if you foresee possible remodeling projects especially moving plumbing fixtures.  It's also possible that your home will have a higher resale value. The best part of the crawlspace is the space under the house, but moisture issues should be considered.  If budget permits we suggest to have the crawlspace sealed and conditioned at an additional cost to prevent moisture problems. In general, a crawlspace will have more upfront costs but more flexibility for the future. 

A raised slab foundation is a good idea if you don't foresee a future remodel project and if you prefer to avoid any moisture and allergen issues typically associated with crawlspaces.   Since there are no under floor space requirements the floor can be lower to the ground if handicapped or accessibility requirements are needed.  If lower construction costs and eliminating moisture problems are a major goal, a raised slab is the way to go. •