Meyer May House (1908)
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect
450 Madison Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI
Photos taken July 7, 2012
I have visited the Meyer May House several times over many years. I remember seeing presentations by Steelcase during the extensive restoration. As Wright’s houses are aging, changing hands as original owners pass, and with the cost of maintaining these unique structures, the current condition of many of them are unfortunate and in many cases sad. The Meyer May House restoration’s attention to minute detail, with what seemed to be no expense spared, has resulted in an amazing step back in time to when the house was newly constructed and lived in by the May family.
Less streamlined than the earlier 1906 Robie House in Chicago, this Prairie House still has plenty of details, drama, and amazing art glass in the unique living room window arrangement to make it well worth a visit. If you take the tour, check out the living room fireplace brickwork with the horizontal mortar joints accented with special reflective tiles.
The house is in the Heritage Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids which is still mostly residential. This is an opportunity to see the house in context with the surroundings when it was built. Look at the neighboring houses along the street and you can appreciate how “new” and different Wright’s designs were at the time.
The most impressive bit of information on the house: the tours are free of charge