N 37° 51.796 W 122° 10.122
10S E 573121 N 4190970
Quick Description: A twin carport Usonian in the East Bay Community of Orinda, the two wings of this 4,000 sq ft house sit on a gentle rise on 3.5 acres of land traversed by a small stream.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 9/30/2008 6:11:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM4V90
The main wing consists of three bedrooms, den, dining room, living room and kitchen. The smaller wing is a machine shop, Mr. Buehler, a tool engineer, used according to Storrer to produce gun accessories, including scopes, screws, and the Buehler safety. Wright designed a number of pieces of furniture for the house. They include a dining room set with the backs of the chairs that do not intentionally rise above the tabletop so as not to impede the view of the garden. Manuel Sandoval, who made the cabinetry and furniture for VC Morris Gift Shop (visit link
) , also crafted the Buehler pieces.
Wright recommended Walter Olds, who was moving to California from Taliesin to supervise construction of the VC Morris Gift Shop, do so here as well. In 1957, Olds also designed a guest house to the southwest of the original residence along the stream.
In 1994, according to the NY Times (visit link
) the electric heater in Mrs. Buehler's dressing room overheated, setting a fire that destroyed the entire bedroom wing, carport and main kitchen wall. It charred the octagonal living room, with its gold leaf panel and redwood gravity-defying tilted ceiling, and destroyed the handsome coffered dining room ceiling.
The day of the fire, Mr. Buehler, called Olds, who was still living in Berkeley. "Well, Walter," he said. "You figured this all out in '49. I don't see why you can't figure it out now." The fire gave the Buehlers an opportunity to address some deterioration that had occurred over the years, including a sag in the carport and the radiant heating system that had become detached from the heating coils below. The fire also gave the Buehlers a chance to rethink how the house had been working for them day today. Reconstructing the house after the fire, enabled putting the back wall in Wright's original designed location and allowed Olds to "reassign" space throughout the house. "Mr. Wright didn't give diddly about bedrooms," Mrs. Buehler said. The kitchen, the hallway, the study and the Buehlers' bedroom and dressing room were enlarged slightly. Ringlike Buehler gun mounts replaced drawer pulls on the kitchen cabinets. The coffers in the redwood ceiling in the dining room had been covered with gold leaf several years earlier to soften the glare. Mr. Buehler fashioned adjustable spotlights out of old radiant-heat piping. The blackened living room ceiling was scraped to the original redwood and the gold-leaf panel was restored. Finally, in an attempt to halt the leaking, the roof was covered in copper shingles.
Update: As of June 2011, the Buehler house is for sale. As the Buehler house is particularly difficult to read from the street side, this is a unique opportunity to virtually and physically view this house before it comes into the hands of new owners (visit link