The First Jacobs Residence
In 1936, journalist Herbert Jacobs and his wife Katherine commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house that would cost less then $5000 to build. The resulting design emerged as the first built example of Wright’s two-dozen-plus Usonian homes; moderately priced, energy-conscious dwellings intended for families from all walks of life.
The current occupant, art historian James Dennis, retained Eifler & Associates to restore the house to its original state. The Jacobs House required extensive roof restructuring, rebuilding of brick piers, installation of new radiant heating and electrical systems, restoration of interior and exterior pine and redwood cladding, extensive window replacement, and reproduction of period furniture designed by Wright. A careful approach was taken using original materials where possible, and substituting contemporary ones where practical necessity dictated.
The restoration of the Jacobs House has received a Distinguished Restoration Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1991, and a similar award from the Madison Historical Society in 1988. Most recently the First Jacobs House was voted by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important structures in the world.