After receiving numerous links to a Gingerbread Fallingwater, I decided that it was high time for me to build a Wright from gingerbread. Before scoffing at the simplicity of my endeavor, you should note that I had zero experience with gingerbread houses prior to this project.
STEP #1 Select the Structure
After thoroughly researching the designs of a couple of Usonians, I had a moment of brilliance. I remembered seeing Eddie’s House while it was on display at the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, IL last year. It looked simple and most importantly for a first time gingerbread project, it had no elevation changes. As it turns out, it wasn’t as simple as it looked. I was thrilled to read that Jim Berger, who requested the design from FLW and has now retired from teaching woodshop, thought it was complicated, too.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the dog house in response to a letter from a young Jim Berger whose family lived in a home that FLW designed for them. The story of the dog house was recently included in a documentary on Wright’s work. Jim Berger built the reproduction that I saw at Dana Thomas and is still touring. Eddie’s House is currently on display at Wright on the Park in Mason City, Iowa through the end of the year.
STEP #2 Build a Model and Transfer to a Pattern
I pulled photos and plans using the help of my very good friend, Google. Even with the so-called building plan, getting the pieces sized and scaled properly was frustrating and time consuming. I dusted off my 9th grade geometry skills and about an hour later had a cardboard model that somewhat resembled Eddie’s House. The roof was a compound angle nightmare, but I persevered. I converted the cardboard to a paper pattern with a few necessary adjustments and was ready to bake!
STEP #3 Make Dough, Cut, Bake and Construct
I researched gingerbread recipes. I decided on what serious gingerbread circles refer to as “Construction Grade Gingerbread Dough.” While the pieces were baking I mixed up my Royal Icing. I tinted it brown because I know I am sloppy and thought that mistakes might be less noticeable. Wrong.
STEP #4 Decorate
The pieces went together fairly easily. The Royal Icing is made from egg whites and powdered sugar, and it’s so sticky, it might hold a real house together. The decorating required some creative thinking to choose pieces of proper scale. I was pretty excited about the cereal shingles.
I saved the pattern to turn this into a more reasonable project in terms of the time requirement. With the template you can skip directly to STEP #3. The file can be downloaded or printed using the link below.
Eddie’s House Gingerbread Template