We take pride in bringing beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright homes to light, and the Eppstein house is no exception to the rule. Based on the understanding that people should exist in harmony with nature, the modernist approach embraces what has been coined as organic architecture.
Upon coming across an ad for the Eppstein house in Galesburg, Michigan, current home owners Marika Broere and Tony Hillebrandt went through the effort of restoring the run down midcentury treasure into what it once was. Coming from background in real estate and interior design, the couple was decidedly involved as their new dream home underwent extensive reparations at the hands of proficient craftsmen and specialists in the field.
The result? An awe-inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright home inside and out, entrenched in a quiet setting on green grounds.
Can you remind us, shortly, about your relationship with the Eppstein House, how long you have been living there and what brought you to buy the house in the first place?
When we moved to Canada, from Europe 13 years ago, we started to become interested in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright. We already knew about his legacy, but when we saw some of his designs in real life, we were blown away by the sheer power of them.
When we found this house sitting on the market, we immediately thought of buying and restoring it to allow other architecture buffs to rent it and gain back some of the restoration budget.
The house recently went through an extensive renovation, which areas have you restored and why?
Almost everything. The house had fallen into despair, few more years and it would have been beyond saving.
What the public now sees and admires, is aesthetics. What is not visible, however, was addressed too. Within many other things, we replaced the wiring, the plumbing and a the roof, the previous roof was only a few years old but badly installed. Also, beams were reinforced, windows replaced with double glazing and much more.
As for the aesthetics: for the interior design the suiting colours had to be chosen, the period correct furniture and decor, art. Most of which come out of our own collection.
The Eppstein house is not an ‘average’ building. How difficult it was to find the right contractors and materials to use and how did you find them?
We have been extremely lucky. Of course we were looking for the best of the best experts and craftsmen.
It all started with finding an excellent electrician through an online advertisement: Dave Ruble. He also introduced us to other professionals like William Heffernan, the master carpenter, who has worked on meticulously restoring and rebuilding shelves, cabinets, window ledges and whatnot.
We became good friends with all of them, and we are going to invite them for a get together in the fall to celebrate the finished product.
Did you restore any of the furniture, overtime? If so, how did you find the right people to do the job?
The stools and tables came with the house and didn’t need any repairs. But many of the built-ins, like the cabinets and the bookshelves, needed work.
Despite appreciating the architecture, some could argue that such houses are not suitable for modern living. What’s your point of view?
With our background in interior design and real estate, we would have thought the same.
But, after spending time in the house we started to understand more and more about the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright: why the low ceilings, the tall windows, how the natural light comes in and at what time of the day.
The house fits like a glove and makes us happy. We never want to leave when we are there. A very strange experience because the Arts-and-Crafts and Prairie periods were never really our thing. We must be under Wright’s spell.
Photos by Tim Hills