Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Favorite Small House” Can Be Yours for $479K

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Favorite Small House” Can Be Yours for $479K

By Kathryn M.
The 1939 Goetsch-Winckler House offers a classic feel and remains in nearly original condition.

An early Usonian-style home by Frank Lloyd Wright recently hit the market in Okemos, Michigan, just outside the capital of Lansing and a few miles from Michigan State University. Situated on a nearly two-acre wooded lot, the 1939 design employs Wright's trademark style: horizontal planes, a cantilevering roof, and an intimate relationship with the surrounding site. The master architect reportedly once called it his "favorite small house," nodding to the structure's compact yet functional 1,300-square-foot floor plan.

The 1939 Goetsch-Winckler House spreads across the wooded lot with a wide floor plan. A pair of roof planes set a different heights emphasize the horizontal design, and one section cantilevers off the back to create a carport.

Inside, a large open area occupies the core of the home, with long banks of windows along both sides. Extending from one end of a brick fireplace is a built-in dining table and upholstered dining chairs—just some of numerous Wright-design pieces throughout the home.

According to the home's National Register of Historic Places application, the original owners—Alma Goetsch and Kathrine Winckler—initially worked with Wright to design a community for themselves and several fellow Michigan State professors, to be called Usonia II. Plans for the community were later dropped and only the Goetsch-Winckler House was built. Completed in 1940, the structure's large central room originally served as both a living and working area for the two educators and artists.

Stained concrete in four-foot squares complements similarly sized sheets of plywood along the ceiling. Clerestory windows run throughout the home as does a board-and-batten-style pattern on the walls.

Occupying one corner of the living area is the kitchen, complete with the original brick walls, open shelving, and Wright-designed cabinetry. The space is separated from an adjacent alcove by a fireplace along the righthand wall. 

The current owners, Dan and Audrey Seidman, purchased the property in 2007 and spent the last 13 years meticulously restoring it. The Seidmans completed such projects as repairing cracked concrete and broken fixtures, as well as replacing damaged or rotted sections of the ceilings and wall—all while retaining the home's original floor plan and historic character. Now, they are looking to move on and recently listed the home with an asking price of $475,000. Keep scrolling to see more.

A look at the alcove on the other side of the kitchen and fireplace. A Wright-designed couch, desk, and other built-ins perfectly align with the wood paneling.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and built-in storage line opposite sides of a hallway leading to the two bedrooms. Wright replicated the wall design with chain-linked boards that fold down to reveal individual compartments.

A look at one of the bedrooms, both of which offer direct access to an outdoor area.

A Wright-designed desk and chair occupy one corner of the bedroom.

Outside, Wright designed a private "grass lanai" for both bedrooms. Enclosing the area is a four-foot-high wall, one end of which is perforated using a stepped design that omits the widest boards while leaving the narrow strips of wood in the middle.

A distant view of the home provides a glimpse of visiting wildlife. Sitting on 1.7 acres, the heavily wooded lot offers the feeling of seclusion yet is within easy driving distance of the nearby university and capital city.

Update: The Goetsch-Winckler House quickly found new buyers and sold in July 2020.

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