The Meyer May House Restoration
During the S.C. Johnson project, Steelcase’s David Hunting, Sr., and Wright formed a relationship that lasted for years.
In the 1980’s Hunting suggested that Steelcase purchase and restore the Meyer May house, Wright’s first major commission in Michigan, located in Steelcase’s hometown.
Robert C. Pew, then chairman of Steelcase, agreed that restoring the Meyer May House was an excellent opportunity to pay homage to Wright and provide a gift to the public. Steelcase purchased the house in 1985 and extensive research was underway.
Open to the public in 1987 and meticulously restored, the Meyer May house offers a rare opportunity to experience an original Prairie house as Wright envisioned it.
After months of interviews and intensive study of reference materials, work began to restore the interior and exterior to its original design. The restoration took two years. The work included removal of a 1922 addition, rebuilding the roof to restore its cantilevered design, replacing all the plaster ceilings, restoring a Niedecken mural under six layers of paint, cleaning and repairing more than 100 art glass windows and skylights, completely recreating the interior with original pieces and exacting reproductions, and recreating the landscape to its 1909 design.
Take a brief virtual tour of the restored Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, MI. Afterward, be sure to schedule your visit to tour the house in person.