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Famous House Gets Facelift

July 2, 1986

OHIOPYLE, Pa. (AP) _ Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright home that was recently voted the best example of architectural design in America, is undergoing a facelift.

A team of four art conservators is restoring the woodwork and 182 pieces of furniture in the home, located in a remote wooded area of Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

″We’re ... restoring the coatings and stain to their original color and some structural repairs where the walnut veneer became loose,″ said Thom Gentle, acting director of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory in Williamstown, Mass., and supervisor of the work.

The home’s North Carolina walnut has been damaged by water leaks and exposure to sunlight, which stem in part from the home’s flat roof and abundant windows, said Gentle, one of three people from the center who have been working on the restoration project since June 1.

Michael Holubar, a restoration specialist from the Allen Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio, is also on the team.

″It’s quite an honor to be here,″ Gentle said of the house, which was chosen last month by the American Institute of Architects as the most successful example of architectural design in America.

The work, made possible by a grant of $20,600 National Endowment for the Arts and a matching grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust, should be completed by mid-August, Gentle said.

Fallingwater annually attracts about 70,000 visitors, but attendance is up this year because the home is celebrating its 50th anniversary, said Sharon Grimm of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which maintains the home.

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