Over the last few years, the Midwest has gained great acclaim for its low-cost housing. If you haven’t already migrated from a big coastal city back to your hometown or somewhere near it, you probably know a few people who have. Shitbox studio apartments are fine when you’re in your 20s and figuring stuff out, but once your career hits its stride and/or you meet someone worth holding onto, there’s a natural urge to seek a little more room for your expanding lifestyle.
If that’s where you find yourself, and you’re doing reasonably well, may we suggest the scenic neighborhood of Okemos, Michigan? Along with having a dense concentration of wooded areas and bodies of water, an adjacent university with its accompanying progressive scene, and the city of Detroit just a short drive away, the township is home to what has to be the most affordable Frank Lloyd Wright home in existence. And it’s for sale, right now.
The Goetsch-Winckler Home was built in 1940, one of just a handful of Wright-designed houses located in the state of Michigan. It bears the distinction of being the most elegant exemplar of Wright’s “Usonian” design suite, a term the legendary architect made up as a play on the abbreviation “U.S.” The Usonian suite was designed to be affordable, livable, and simple, all words that perfectly describe this mid-century gem. Its modest 1,400-square-foot size is enhanced by a classic Wright-style open floor plan, not to mention the three beautifully wooded acres that surround the property. It’s perfect for an individual, couple, or small family who aim for a lifestyle that combines a small footprint with exceptional taste.
The two-bedroom, one-bath house features signature Wright touches like in-line layout (the entire home lies in a straight line), built-in shelves and furniture (including a dining room table, a bar, and a hearthside couch), and expansive windows that flood the home with natural light. At one end, the living room occupies the majority of the square footage, featuring a chimney at one end in front of a workspace adorned with clerestory windows on one side and an adjacent bank of full-length casement windows. At the other end of the house, two bedrooms, separated by a bathroom, eachopen via glass doors out on to a patio overlooking the woods. The red brick and concrete interior soften the home’s modernist lines with a warm natural patina, while variable ceiling heights give the cozy space a lofty vibe.
The current owners, who purchased the home in 2007, spent the last 13 years bringing the infrastructure up to date. Drainage on the property has been improved along with the heating and electrical systems, while maintaining the home’s one-of-a-kind historical features.
And now for the best part: The price tag. This one-of-a-kind residence, designed by America’s most legendary architect and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can be yours for just $479,000. That won’t even get you a closet in San Francisco or New York City. But you know that already.
Wright called the home his favorite small house — pretty big praise from the designer of Taliesin, the Ennis House, and the Biltmore hotel. But if you need more recommendation than that, consider these words from the home’s current owner: “With a house you get a house. With this house you get a house and a story to tell.”
The listing for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Goetsch-Winckler House can be found on the home’s official website.