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Two Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes in Michigan are now available to rent on Airbnb and HomeAway. 

For $340 a night, you can rent the three-bedroom two-bath Samuel Eppstein House in Galesburg near Kalamazoo or the three-bedroom William Palmer House in Ann Arbor for $350 a night. 

Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 532 completed structures in the United States. In his 1935 book "Fallingwater," he explains his philosophy of organic architecture, a method of designing structures in harmony with humanity and its environment. 

There are many Wright sites in Michigan, including the Melvyn Maxwell Smith and Sara Stein Smith House and the Gregor S. and Elizabeth B. Affleck House, both in Bloomfield Hills, and the Dorothy H. Turkel House in Detroit. 

Robert Fishman, professor of architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture at the University of Michigan, said Wright started designing in 1890 and developed a style that showed Wright's ideals on how he believed Americans should live.

"What makes them special is each house is different and each is a response to its unique setting," said Fishman. "Each owner also thinks they have the best Wright house, but they all have something special, a piece of his organic touch."

 

The Eppstein House

The newly restored house available on Airbnb is situated on a private acre within The Acres development in Galesburg, a few miles east of Kalamazoo. The area hosts a number of Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

The Eppstein house was built in 1949 and sits on 11098 Hawthorne Drive in Galesburg. For $340 a night, the home can house up to six guests with three beds, two baths. 

 

The house was obtained by Marika Broere and Tony Hillebrandt who began restoring it in the fall of 2016. The house was completed in December and the two kept an online journal called Project Eppstein

Broere told The Detroit News after 20 years of neglect, the house is now returned to its former glory with original Wright furniture and other rare pieces. She said restoring the house was a "dream come true" but installing a split level air conditioning and heating system was a difficult project. 

"To us, the house is a piece of art. We researched and investigated Wright's buildings and designs, the time period, and the materials and took great care to apply this knowledge to the restoration," says Broere. "The whole process which took 18 months and a crew of craftspeople was educational as well as great fun."

 

The house features two living rooms, a new wood stove in the family room, and three terraces with garden furniture overlooking forest and greenery. Broere said they tried to preserve the home's Usonian textile blocks and provide documentation on the history for their guests to appreciate. 

The Eppstein house does not allow smoking, pets, parties or events. The listing also says it's not "safe or suitable for children ages 2-12." Check-in is after 3 p.m. through a digital keypad. 

 

The Palmer House

The Palmer House, built for Bill and Mary Palmer in Ann Arbor in 1950, is one of Wright's last residential masterpieces. It sits on 227 Orchard Hills Drive in Ann Arbor and can be rented on HomeAway for $350 a night. with a minimum of a two-night stay. 

Fishman describes the Palmer House as one of the few houses left where people can understand what it's like to live in a Wright house.

 

"You feel as if you are submerged in the woods even though you're in Ann Arbor," said Fishman. 

The 2,000 square-foot home is a multilevel brick and red cypress structure and the design is based on the equilateral triangle. It has a hipped roof with deep overhangs and the listing says the cantilever extending over the terrace is the most dramatic feature of the house. 

 

The open interior is fitted with Wright-designed furniture and built-in cabinetry. Along with the main house, there is a tea house located on the two acres of woodlands surrounding the home. The tea house has a small kitchen and a bathroom with a shower-over-the-toilet. Keep in mind the tea house is closed during the winter. 

 

The home isn't air-conditioned, instead the concrete floors, overhanging roof and surrounding large trees keep the house cool in the warmer months.

In March 2009, Jeffrey and Kathryn Schox purchased the Palmer House. Both graduated from the University of Michigan, Jeffrey with a law degree and Kathryn with a teaching degree. The couple first took notice to the Palmer House on their frequent visits to the Ann Arbor Arboretum, which sits adjacent to the property, and became infatuated by the cantilevered roof, according to the website

Joe Drummond, of Chicago, says he and his wife Sara stayed at the Palmer House in June and celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a toast in the tea house at the estate. 

 

"What a rich and rewarding experience to wake up to the birds, have coffee sitting in the great room looking out at nature and then moving out to the patio to watch the wildlife," said Drummond. "Touring one of FLW's designed homes in the past was enlightening but spending many hours just being and sleeping in the house was a once in a lifetime experience."

srahal@detroitnews.com

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