School teachers Sara Stein Smith and Melvyn Maxwell Smith, undeterred by their modest salaries and guided by a shared love of architecture, met Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin in 1941 and commissioned a custom home. The Smith House in Bloomfield Hills is an excellent example of Wright’s Usonian ideal which aimed to build quality houses for the American middle class. The lovingly restored home, which Wright called “My Little Gem” during a 1951 visit, features an L-shaped floor plan and horizontal, cantilevered roof planes. This tour offers a unique view of this special home, its landscape, and the story of a couple whose vision and determination allowed them to achieve their dream.
The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is responsible for stewarding the Smith House and its collections and opening its doors to visitors from around the world. The house was donated to Cranbrook Educational Community in 2017 by The Towbes Foundation with support from Anne Smith Towbes and the late Michael Towbes.
Exterior and interior photography is permitted for personal use only. Please note that tripods and flash photography are not permitted inside the house. These tours are longer than our standard tour and are limited to fewer visitors for a more intimate experience. Photography+ tours are limited to 15 guests.
All tours are walking tours and guests must be able to walk and stand throughout most of the tour. There are no public restroom facilities at the house itself; please use the facilities at the Cranbrook Art Museum before beginning your tour. Tours take place rain or shine, and there is no air conditioning in the home. To protect the historic integrity of the home, you will be asked to remove your shoes and wear booties that will be provided.
For the safety and comfort of all visitors, children younger than eight years old, including infants and toddlers, are not permitted on this tour. Due to the historical status and intimate nature of the House, many rooms and passageways are very narrow and therefore the house is not wheelchair accessible.
Only small wallets and handheld cameras are permitted on the tours. Please leave all backpacks, purses, camera bags, camera equipment and other cumbersome items in vehicles. This policy was created for the security and protection of Smith House and its collection of fine and decorative art.
All tours of the Smith House depart from the front desk of Cranbrook Art Museum. If you have a confirmed reservation, please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of your tour time to check in. We will take a shuttle to the home promptly at the start of your tour time.
General Admission: $55
Full-time Students (with ID): $20
To make a reservation for this tour, please purchase tickets online through the link below or call the Center at 248.645.3307. Advance ticket sales close at noon the Friday before your desired tour date. After Friday at 1:00pm, tickets may be purchased at the front desk of Cranbrook Art Museum—based on availability. To inquire about tour availability after the advance ticket deadline, please call the Art Museum front desk at 248.645.3320 (11:00am to 5:00pm). As tours frequently sell out, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase Smith House tickets in advance through the Center.
There are no refunds or exchanges.
If you wish to tour both the Saarinen House and Smith House on the same day, please note the end times of each tour. Guests are not able to leave the tour group early.
Spend the day in Bloomfield Hills and plan a visit to Smith House AND the Frank Lloyd Wright Affleck House located just a few minutes away.
Photography by James Haefner. Courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.