Incredible Alden B Dow Home and Studio Tour in Midland Michigan (See His Office, Kitchen, Bedrooms and Movie Room!)
Tour the Incredible Alden B Dow Home in Midland Michigan
Incredible Alden B Dow Home and Studio Tour in Midland Michigan | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan
Midland Michigan is rich with adventures and fun, starting with the Alden B Dow House!
By the way...
“Everyone has creative ability. When a person is awakened to that fact in himself; all kinds of creative things can happen.” ~Alden B. Dow
Tour the Incredible Alden B Dow Home in Midland Michigan
Tour the Alden B Dow Home and Studio
When visiting Midland Michigan, you absolutely MUST book an incredible behind the scenes tour of the home and studio of prolific architect, Alden B. Dow.
During this 1.5 hour guided tour, you will learn all about the fascinating life, working studio and home where Mr. Dow designed, created, lived and raised his family.
You'll be shocked to discover the studio/work space is 6,000 sf and their family home is 14,000 sf!!
Who is Alden B. Dow? What is his claim to fame?
Alden B Dow (April 10, 1904 – August 20, 1983) was well known for his contributions to the style of Michigan Modern or Mid Century Modern. As an innovator and architect, Alden B Dow and his team designed more than 70 residences and dozens of churches, schools, civic and art centers, and commercial buildings in Michigan from the 1930s through the 1960s.
- The Midland Center for the Arts and Grace A. Dow Memorial Library are great examples of Alden B Dow's work.
While touring the vast home and studio, you will notice Alden was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. His fascination deepened as he worked as an apprentice for Frank Lloyd Wright in 1933. Immediately afterward, Alden opened his own business in 1934 as he was bursting with ideas for Mid Century Modern homes, businesses and structures.
Alden designed these incredible unit blocks (like Legos) that are visible inside and outside the home. The history and life of Alden B Dow is certainly interesting!
What's cool: Personal clothing, books, kitchen linens and toys are still in drawers and closets throughout the home, so it's almost like the family just stepped out for dinner and we happened to wander through.
The current Alden B Dow house and studio isn't just for tours, the facility hosts over 7,000 K-12 students each year to attend to classes and educational experiences for free! The goal of these classes is to teach students to develop their creativity. You can see examples of past student work as you tour the facility.
- As an example, historians will set up a party scene in the main entertaining area of the home: Cigarettes in ash trays, jackets thrown over chairs and music playing. Students will use their imagination to determine what was happening in the scene.
While touring the Alden B Dow home, it is fascinating to see (and imagine) Alden's thought process as he designed and created his home and studio spaces. He was very in tune with nature as he preferred natural breezes and sunlight in his home and studio.
Alden also thought a lot about how colors made him feel and he was always experimenting and pushing the boundaries of materials: Could traditional flooring materials be used for table surfaces too? I don't know, let's try it!
What's Cool: Since he was so well known, Alden was naturally concerned for the safety of his family. In addition to hiring a night guard to patrol the outside of their house, he designed the three children's bedrooms and their master bedroom to be interconnected.
So at night, the family would lock each of their bedroom doors that opened to the rest of the home but they could still reach each other by a series of connecting doors inside their rooms. How cool is that?
- We won't give away the secret, but you will be fascinated to see how their youngest daughter accessed their parent's room!
Highlights of our Alden B Dow Home and Studio tour
- We loved walking through the submarine room (a green carpeted, pink ceiling room sunken into the river so the water flows right past the window!)
- The movie and entertaining room has tiny bulbs in the ceiling, massive art on the walls and a geometric carpet you just have to see!
- The kitchen is surprisingly small for how large the home is, but it was interesting to learn that kitchens at that time were only used for cooking. Visitors never entered the kitchen and it wasn't a hang out area like kitchens are today.
- I loved all the "found art" in the Alden B Dow home. Alden saw beauty in colorful leftover materials and proudly displayed them throughout his home.
Know Before You Go
- Tours must be booked ahead of time.
- Photos are not allowed inside the house. Exterior photos are allowed.
- No purses, backpacks or bags are allowed on the tour but can be safely stored in cabinets on site.
- Coats will need to be left in your car or can be safely stored on site.
Midland Public Library
Midland MI Public Library
The Midland Public Library was designed by Alden B. Dow. The nearby Midland Center for the Arts was also his creation.
Where Can I See Alden B. Dow's Homes in Midland Michigan?
Mid-Century Modern Midland App of Alden B. Dow Homes
Grab the Mid-Century Modern Midland app in the App Store on your phone!
- Did you know there are over 400 Mid-Century Modern homes and buildings throughout Midland, Michigan (designed by several architects)?
This awesome Mid-Century Modern Midland app has pre-designed routes so you can see several homes in an organized manner. We like Applewood Road as there are 18 homes all within a short distance of each other.
While You Are Here: Visit Dow Gardens - Incredible Botanical Gardens in Midland Michigan
Dow Gardens is a 110-acre botanical garden located at 1809 Eastman Avenue, Midland, MI. It is one of my absolute favorite places to visit!
Since we live close, I go there about 4 times a month! Dow Gardens is a wonderful place to spend the day. Enjoy paved walking trails, children's gardens, ponds, rose garden, waterfalls, and so many nooks and crannies to explore!
Don't miss Dow Garden's Butterflies in Bloom! See my tips and "Know Before You Go!" It's an amazing experience!
Dow Gardens is gorgeous all year! Winter, spring, summer and fall offer new experiences and beautiful gardens to discover. Wonderful place to add to your "things to do in Michigan" list!!
Discover Nature at Whiting Forest (Connected to Dow Gardens) in Midland Michigan
2203 Eastman Ave, Midland, Michigan
Wander among the treetops and marvel at the expansive views at Whiting Forest, home to the Nation’s
Longest Canopy Walk.
This famous walk is 1,400
feet long and soars up to 40 feet above the ground!
Forest is connected to Dow Gardens so you can spend the day exploring forest
trails, playing in the children’s playground, and enjoying the 110-acre garden. Relax after your adventures with a hot cup of soup or a latte in Whiting Forest's café.
Keep Reading About Midland!
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Click on the images above to know more about Dow Garden's Butterflies in Bloom and Bay City fun!
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