The Anderson and Dorothy Dow Arbury Residence

The unit block home Alden B. Dow designed for his younger sister Dorothy and her husband Anderson Arbury in 1939 was grand in scale and unique in appearance. The design follows that of a pinwheel, with the center on the entrance that lies at the intersection of four wings. One of the four wings accommodates the four family bedrooms. The opposite wing contains the kitchen, dining room, and screened porch. The dining room is particularly noteworthy for its tall mirrored walls that rise up to meet a grid of 36 square mirrors on the ceiling, with small lights set into each corner.

The third wing is composed entirely of the spacious 24 by 24 foot living room that is split into two levels. The lower one has built-in seating in an arc around the fireplace; the higher level has windows on two sides. A three-car garage, unusual for 1939, is reached by an 80-foot long covered walkway, forming the fourth wing of the home.

The lower level is dominated by the 29 by 52 foot game room. Plain wall surfaces of white unit blocks are counterbalanced by a playful palette of colors and shapes that cover not only walls but the ceiling and linoleum floor as well.
Mr. Dow designed one other unit block home in the same year – his own similarly expansive residence.

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