The Robert Myers Residence, Lapeer, Michigan by Alden B. Dow
Robert Myers was a successful dairy farmer turned editor and publisher of the Lapeer, Michigan, County Press. In May of 1950, he approached Alden B. Dow with an idea to build an unconventional farm house on his 400-acre farm. Myers used the words of Henry David Thoreau to describe his dream home:
“Home would be a place where you can see all the treasures of a house at one view…at once kitchen, pantry, parlor, chamber, storehouse…a house whose inside is as open and manifest as a bird’s nest.”
The Myers residence was completed in December 1951. The 2409 square foot white cinder block home is surrounded on three sides by a one and a half acre pond. A covered walkway leads to the front door and, off to the side, to a large screened porch that is built into the edge of the pond. Two of the walls facing the pond are 80% glass; the four-foot eaves all around the house provided sufficient shade to make draperies or blinds unnecessary.
The living room featured a built-in couch covered in woven plastic Saran along two walls and a raised brick hearth. The long wall opposite the couch was lined with low shelving and storage cabinets of vertical-grain fir, and terminated in a built-in dining table at the near end and in a built-in desk at the far end. An opening in the wall above the shelving connected the people and activities in the living room and the kitchen.
The galley-style kitchen and laundry separated the living area from the home’s two bedrooms, each of which had its own side porch. With the exception of carpeting in the bedrooms and bathroom, all of the floors were asphalt tile. There were only 10 pieces of movable furniture in the house; even the beds were built-in. Because of the configuration of the floorplan, the bedrooms had no hall doors, yet felt quite private. Throughout, the interior walls were exposed cinder block painted white.
Bob Myers summed up his feelings about his new house in a brief letter to Mr. Dow:
“After first meeting you we were enthusiastic and confident. Now that we’re moved in, the enthusiasm and the appreciation of your ability is even greater. It’s a home that’s fun to live in. That’s about the nicest thing I can say of anyone’s house.”