American System-Built Home, Frank Lloyd Wright, history

A Peek Inside a Renovated American System-Built Home


Milwaukee American System Built Home by Frank Lloyd Wright

As we’re renovating our big old Dream House, we’re also looking around at the other remaining American System-Built Homes for inspiration. While most ASB homes are private residences, there’s a beautifully restored house in Milwaukee that’s offered as a vacation rental. Scrolling through the photos of the house, it’s both exciting and daunting to see how our house could look…

American System Built Home by Frank Lloyd Wright vintage style bathroom

A row of six American System Built Homes sit along a stretch of Burnham Street in Milwaukee.¬†Arthur L. Richards, Wright’s partner in the ASB venture, built these six homes in 1914 as demonstrator models. Now, these homes are considerably different than our house. While our house is a fairly humble two story single-family home, most of the ASB houses in Milwaukee are duplexes. According to the Wikipedia page on ASB homes, the houses on Burnham street are made up of “four model 7a duplexes, a model B1 bungalow, the only example of its kind, and a model C3 bungalow.” It is one of these duplexes that has been lovingly restored to its original glory.

American System Built Home by Frank Lloyd Wright on Burnham Street in Milwaukee Wisconsin

There are a few features in this restored house that have us wondering how our own ASB home would have looked when it was built in 1917. For example, the ceiling trim that’s shown in the master bedroom photo above is noted in the original floor plans for our house. Was this trim installed in our home when it was built? Or did the original owners of our house forego the trim?

Bedroom of American System Built Home in Milwaukee

Another feature of this restored home that has us booh absolutely swooning is the wardrobe in the bedroom. As I mentioned in the before and after post of our master bedroom, we are totally flummoxed about what to do with our ugly louvered closet doors. Our house would have originally had the same built-in wardrobes as the rehabbed ASB duplex in Milwaukee. We’re dreaming of having wardrobes built in again … but of course that’s a big expense that we’re not quite ready to take on.

American System Built Home in Milwaukee Wisconsin, designed by Frank Llloyd Wright and built by Arthur L. Richards

And then there are the windows. We’ve been under the impression that the windows in our Dream House are original. But now, looking at the gorgeous windows in this renovated house, we’re wondering whether ours were switched out. While some of our windows contain leaded glass details, most are plain glass. We don’t know whether the couple who built our house chose plain windows when they built it or whether our house originally had fancy windows that were subsequently replaced.

Although our Dream House is our vacation house, we may have to book this ASB home in Milwaukee, even if only for research purposes!

Check out the full tour of the house and look at the calendar for renting it at Vacation Home Rentals.

Images: Vacation Home Rentals

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