The Year of the Case Study

In this forum I have told the story of the process of Quartersawing and why its use creates beautiful and stable hardwoods for some of the world’s most iconic projects.  Frank Miller Lumber has been used in some very high profile buildings as well as beautiful homes around the world.  I have set a goal for myself in 2015 to obtain the rights to tell the stories of some of those projects.

One such project is 432 Park Avenue in New York City, the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.  All of the quartersawn white oak flooring in that building was fabricated from Frank Miller quartersawn lumber.  Some other projects are the Fogg Museum at Harvard, 56 Leonard in New York City, The Walker Tower in New York City and The Chancery Court Hotel in London.  One of the more unique projects is a replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello built in Connecticut featuring floors made from Frank Miller quartersawn white oak.  All of these projects would make excellent case studies but it is always a challenge to get all of the required approvals for the necessary photographs and interviews.

I will remain tenacious about obtaining those approvals in order to tell you the stories of those projects.  There is, in my opinion, no hardwood product in the United States more beautiful than quartersawn hardwoods.  In my AIA presentations I use photographs of amazing East Coast mansions from the late 1800’s.  These homes featured quartersawn white oak interiors.  The Garrett-Jacobs mansion in Mount Vernon, Maryland is a great example.  In the late 1800’s Robert and Mary Garrett hired Gilded Age architect Stanford White of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to help them realize their vision of a beautiful home that would compare with other Gilded Age homes in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Renovations of the original home would continue for thirty-two years.  Finally the house included over forty rooms, sixteen fireplaces, and one hundred windows.  In my presentations I show several pictures of the quartersawn white oak spiral staircase leading to a Tiffany dome.  It is truly spectacular and I point out to my audience that the house was built in the late 1800’s and the photographs were taken in 2010.  All of the joints are as tight as they were when the house was built.  These homes were built before there were “controlled environments” and in the case of the Newport, Rhode Island mansions, the windows were open to the ocean air during the summers.  These homes have stood the test of time, showing the lasting beauty of quartersawn hardwoods.

I am hopeful that I will get to tell the story of a large residential project in New York that is using Frank Miller Lumber quartersawn red oak for the floors.  New York City has been known for more than a century as a quartersawn white oak market.  The use of red oak is noteworthy and I have seen the floors in the sales offices.  They are beautiful and will last for generations, just as white oak would.

I am excited to be able to tell the story of these buildings and homes because each story is unique, even though they are all connected by the use of quartersawn hardwoods.