Welcome to Architecture Grand Rapids where you will find guided architectural tours, stories about homes and buildings, interesting neighborhoods, classic and modern architectural styles, and a growing list of architects and contractors who created the built environment in Greater Grand Rapids and neighboring cities between 1850-1980.
One of the best-restored Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the nation can be found in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Keep scrolling down for details on touring the house.
BUILDING DETAILS: The Meyer May House is notable for its rare Prairie style and its low horizontal profile and cantilevered balconies and porches. They are style is a contrast to the tall Victorian, large Colonial Revival and quaint English cottage style homes of the historic neighborhood. The oversized planters are also classic Wright features. During the restoration, a new tile roof was installed by the home's original roofing firm that still had the early plans on file. The home is distinguished by the abundance of stunning patterned art glass that gives the home's interior a stunning luminescence.
The unique fireplace is ribboned with mortar speckled with golden glass. During the restoration patterns for the original carpets and furniture were used to recreate Wright's original interiors.
A lovely restored mural covers the dining room partition wall, but as yet the artist's identity has not been confirmed. The dining table is said to be modeled on the dining room of Wright's Oak Park Home and has four piers featuring electrified lamps with glass shades. Obviously, these are just a few of the home's highlights. There are far too many features in this amazing home to list here. The Meyer May House is open for free tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Informative docents lead the tours. Check the website for information on hours.
HISTORY: The Prairie style Meyer May House, 450 Madison SE in Heritage Hill, was commission by Meyer and Sophie May and completed in 1909. Sophie died not long after the home was built and Meyer's second marriage began an era of home modifications and including an addition that became apartments. The home fell into disrepair along with much of what is today a Historic District. Luckily, just like so many Heritage Hill properties, with the Historic District status came stability and the Meyer May House was saved. It was purchased in 1985 by the Steelcase Corporation at the urging of David Hunting. What followed was an amazing and meticulously restoration that took two years and brought the house back to its original Wright vision with the full support and financial backing of Steelcase. The Meyer May House opened to the public in 1987 and has offered tours continuously since then. Some say it is the most complete Frank Lloyd Wright restoration in the nation.