James Bronkema – Stay tuned…

Last week while taking a walk through the neighborhood, I stopped in my tracks as I came across a low-slung house with pitched roof segments and an expansive glass façade that afforded a limited view into the interior. The exterior form intrigued me, but what I saw through the glass was equally strikingthis home is every bit as mid-century modern from the inside, outfitted with prime examples of period furniture and decor.

I have now had the pleasure of speaking with the owner, an architect who has been kind enough to invite me over for a tour. What I know so far of the home is that James Bronkema, designed it, an architect/builder who kept busy in Grand Rapids after WWII introducing the city to the then new “modern” style that had grown its roots in California. The newly developing scene in California must have beckoned his talent, as he relocated some time in the 1960’s.

I am very much looking forward to meeting the owner, and learning more about his house. Stay tuned for an upcoming post featuring more of this handsome home.

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Alden B. Dow – East Grand Rapids

During a recent bike ride, I discovered a masterpiece by mid-century wunderkind Alden B. Dow. Nestled deep in a wooded lot against a lake, little can be seen of this home from the road. As one approaches the home, its planar expanses begin to reveal themselves from obstruction. A true organic architectural form, its style recalls that of Dow’s master tutor, Frank Lloyd Wright.

I had the chance of speaking to the owner briefly to gauge her interest in being involved in  my project. Alas, the circumstances weren’t very conducive for sharing ideas, so I sent her a letter today as a follow-up. I’m really hoping the letter will spark her interest, as it seems her beautiful home is a time-capsule of the finest in mid-century-modern furnishings and design.

In the meantime, I leave you with an image I shot of Alden B. Dow’s own home and studio, which I had the extreme pleasure of touring last summer with my grandmother and a good friend. Surrounded by a flood-proof moat, one can literally exit through patio doors and walk on water, thanks to abundant stepping-stones. Upon entering the building, steps lead down like a waterfall into a semi-submerged conference area, which is seen at the end of the sloping roof on the right.

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