Historic Houses & Campus Tours
Cranbrook House, the centerpiece of the National Historic Landmark Cranbrook Educational Community, was designed by noted Detroit architect Albert Kahn in 1908 for Cranbrook founders George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps. The house, in the English Arts and Crafts-style, is the oldest surviving manor home in metro Detroit. The Booths commissioned the finest artisans, craftsmen and studios of the period to furnish the house with handcrafted furniture, tapestries, tiles, stained and leaded glass, and other works of fine and decorative art.
The House and adjoining 40 acres of Gardens are open for tours from May through October. Special events allow for access at other times during the year.
Saarinen House is Eliel Saarinen's Art Deco masterwork and the jewel of Cranbrook's architectural treasures. Designed in the late 1920s and located at the heart of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Saarinen House served as the home and studio of the Finnish-American designer Eliel Saarinen (Cranbrook's first resident architect and the Academy's first president and head of the Architecture Department) and Loja Saarinen (the Academy's first head of the Weaving Department) from 1930 through 1950. The extraordinary interior, now impeccably restored, features the Saarinens' original furnishings, including Eliel's delicately-veneered furniture and Loja's sumptuous textiles, as well as early furniture designs by their son Eero Saarinen.
Saarinen House is open for tours May through October.
School teachers Sara Stein Smith and Melvyn Maxwell Smith, undeterred by their modest salaries and guided by a shared love of architecture, met Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin in 1941 and commissioned a custom home. The Smith House in Bloomfield Hills is an excellent example of Wright’s Usonian ideal which aimed to build quality houses for the American middle class. The lovingly restored home, which Wright called “My Little Gem” during a 1951 visit, features an L-shaped floor plan and horizontal, cantilevered roof planes. This tour offers a unique view of this special home, its landscape, and the story of a couple whose vision and determination allowed them to achieve their dream.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Smith House is open for tours May through October.