You can rent this Frank Lloyd Wright house for $300 per night
CHARLESTON TOWNSHIP, MI — A newly restored original Frank Lloyd Wright home near Galesburg is available for short-term stays through Airbnb.
The Eppstein House is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home designed by Wright, a renowned American architect who was instrumental in a forming a new style of architectural design in the mid-1900s.
Newly restored, The Eppstein House is listed on Airbnb for $300 per night.
Owner Marika Broere said she and her husband Tony Hillebrandt were taken by the idea of owning a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
“It is a dream come true,” Broere said in an interview with MLive.
The home’s history in the Kalamazoo area began in 1953. Located at 11090 Hawthorne Drive just south of Galesburg, the home is named after its original owners, Samuel and Dorothy Eppstein. A World War II pilot, Dorothy Eppstein worked as a research secretary for The Upjohn Co. in Kalamazoo.
The home was in poor shape when Broere and Hillebrandt purchased it, after nearly two decades of standing empty. Sold in 2016 for $368,000, the house is now owned by the couple and has been fully restored.
After undergoing 18 months of work, the Eppstein House is available for overnight stays through Airbnb.
The house is one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the area, built after a group of 12 Upjohn Co. scientists hired Wright to visit Kalamazoo in the late 1940s and draft architectural plans for them. They wanted houses they could build themselves or have someone help them build.
Construction on the Eppstein House began in 1949 and ended in 1953. It’s located in The Acres, a neighborhood completely designed by Wright.
The neighborhood itself as well as each house within The Acres, also known as Galesburg Country Homes, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Like others in the neighborhood, The Eppstein House is a Usonian house, a collection of homes designed by Wright featuring similar design elements.
The Eppstein House uses lots of natural materials, has an open floor plan and large windows. It also employs practical features as radiant-floor heating and built-in shelving and cabinetry, which Wright helped popularize.
Wright, who died April 9, 1959, was instrumental in developing the Prairie School movement in architecture, an American style that broke away from the European styles that most Americans copied to build their homes in the early 1900s.
“To us the house is a piece of art,” Broere wrote in the Airbnb listing.
The Airbnb listing was viewed over 500 times in the last week and has over 60 five-star reviews.
In its first year on Airbnb, the Eppstein House was fully booked through the spring, summer and fall of 2018. The winter months tend to be a little slower, Broere said, but there are already reservations made for Christmas in 2019.
The renters are usually interested in architecture and come from within driving range of the home, she said.
The couple plans to open the home to public tours at least one time every year.
The home includes many original Wright pieces and furniture and art from the same time period, Broere said.
“The goal was to make the house seem ‘alive’, not dull and static as a museum,” she said. “We researched and investigated Wright’s buildings and designs, the time period, and the materials. And took great care to apply this knowledge to the restoration.
“Even after having owned it for 18 months now, it still feels like an adventure to be there. Everything about the house is exciting. It is deceptively simple. The way natural light comes in at different times of the day, how low it is set into the hill, the outlook into the surrounding nature, the then low – then high ceilings, the materials, the historic value, the subdued colors. We can go on and on. It will never become boring.”
Though originally from the Netherlands, Broere and her husband live in Canada but make frequent trips to the U.S. The couple was “pursuing the Canadian dream” of owning a little cottage when Hillebrandt “randomly” found the house online. Three days later, the couple bought the home.
“We were under the spell,” Broere said.
Restoration of the home included a climate control system, new tiles in the bathroom, updates to the plumbing and electricity, fixing the concrete floors, a new roof and painting and rebuilding of fixtures, shelves and ledges.
“We saved a precious piece of cultural heritage from becoming lost,” Broere said.
Though there were no laws dictating the preservation of the home, keeping to Wright’s original vision was a “moral obligation” for them, she said.
The pair did extensive research, reading everything they could find about the architecture and modern design.
“We don’t dare call it a renovation,” Broere said. “We brought it back to what it was supposed to look like. It was a restoration.”
Fred Taber, realtor with Jaqua Realtors, said in an email to MLive that he started a blog online in 2013 to track the home’s restoration.
“The home is pretty much in like new condition now,” Taber said. “It was a huge undertaking and the owners have done everything the right way.”