The Dr. Joe Morris Residence by Alden B. Dow

In June of 1962 Dr. Joe Morris, an Ann Arbor physician, wrote a letter to Alden B. Dow to ask if he would design a house for his family.  He was encouraged to write that letter by Dr. Harry Towsley, the architect’s brother-in-law and from whom he had received his first residential commission.  In August of 1963 Mr. Dow sent the Morrises a plan and exterior sketch of their house, along with a letter explaining the layout of the rooms and how the overall design fit into the site:

“The garage and living room area are on approximately the entrance grade.  The bedroom is approximately 3 feet below this, in general following the contours of the site.  When the door to the bedroom wing on the landing 3 feet below the living room level is opened and the master bedroom door opened, from the entrance you can look down through and out the bedroom window into the rear of your lot.  This is a view that is appealing.”

After describing the other rooms of this 3,500 square foot house, Mr. Dow concluded his letter by saying, “This would make a very pleasant and easy house to care for.  If you study the traffic patterns through the house you will see what I mean…I will be anxious to hear what you think of this house.  I’d like to live in it.  I hope you feel the same.”  Thirty-five years later, Dr. Morris and his wife were still living in their Dow home, calling it ‘magnificent simplicity.’

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