The attention to such details in the reconstruction underscores the desire of Eccleston’s team to realize Wright’s original intention—no easy feat given the circumstances. As he puts it, “This was about saving a house.” Bachman-Wilson’s most recent owners, Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, professionally restored the home after they bought it in 1988, but put it on the market in 2012 after enduring repeated flooding that sometimes rose all the way up to the second story. Its location next to the Millstone River was sure to be its downfall, and, putting its preservation first, the couple stipulated in the terms of sale that the house had to be moved.
Crystal Bridges bought it in 2013. Just months later, it was fully deconstructed, each piece wrapped, labelled, and put in two trucks that carried them 1,235 miles to Arkansas. The components arrived in April of 2014, and Eccleston and his team have spent the past 18 months giving them new life. “A lot of people ask about how difficult is it to take apart a house, and then think about putting it back together? Very difficult,” laughs Eccleston. “Now I know why they pick up houses and they move them all together.”
The effects of this process are evident in the building’s new concrete foundation and concrete brick walls, which had to be made from scratch. “We actually had to make concrete block the way it was made in the ’50s,” says Eccleston. His team sought out an original employee of the same company that produced the home’s brick and asked him to reproduce its formula. “[Our builders] said, okay, here’s the computer. He said, I don’t want the computer, I don’t even know how to work the computer. Here’s the mix. So he mixed it, and then they copied the mix.”