The Jesse Kreger Residence by Alden B. Dow

Most of the usual documentation that tells the story of the design of an Alden B. Dow home does not exist for the Jesse Kreger residence on Grosse Ile, a picturesque island south of Detroit. There are specifications, just a few working drawings, and a color pencil presentation drawing, but no contract, no correspondence, and no cost information. There are no photographs in the Archives of the home at the time it was built; the photographs for this post are later snapshots.

The presentation drawing is dated 1944, and the working drawings and specifications are dated 1946. The one-story home has a brick exterior with a flat roof over the garage and extended front terrace, and a low-pitched roof over the living area. The roofline projects three feet over the walls around three sides of the home. The gables under the peak of the roof are covered with vertical panels of Weldwood, an exterior grade Douglas fir plywood.

A three-step platform runs the length of the brick terrace. The bricks continue past the four-foot wide door into the entrance hallway. Straight ahead is a large living room with a bank of seven floor-to-ceiling windows framing a view of the river at the back of the house. The dining area occupies the right side of the living room with an adjacent kitchen. Wood shelves, a fireplace, and built-in sofa with linoleum-topped end table define the focus of the left side. Overall, the room is 36 feet wide with a lower deck or ceiling height where one enters the space, followed by a higher ceiling to draw one toward the expanse of windows.

Bedrooms are located to the left of the living room and, as drawn, consist only of a master bedroom and one other bedroom separated by a bathroom. Floorplans show a laundry/furnace room as well as a lavatory off the main entrance hall. Fir plywood is used for the built-in casework and straight edge Douglas fir for the other woodwork. At the back of the garage are a small shower and toilet, suggesting there may have been plans for a dock leading from that point back to the river for swimming and boating.

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