Saarinen House is Eliel Saarinen’s Art Deco masterwork and the jewel of Cranbrook’s architectural treasures. Designed in the late 1920s and located at the heart of Cranbrook Academy of Art, from 1930 through 1950 Saarinen House served as the home and studio of the Finnish-American designer Eliel Saarinen—Cranbrook’s first resident architect and the Art Academy’s first president and head of the Architecture Department—and Loja Saarinen—the Academy’s first head of the Weaving Department.
Your tour will explore the main living and working spaces of the house—including the living room, dining room, and studio—and the restored private spaces of the home—the butler’s pantry, upstairs corridor and breakfast nook, and master suite. Throughout the home you will see Eliel’s delicately veneered furniture, Loja’s sumptuous textiles, decorative designs by their daughter, Pipsan, and early furniture designs by their son, Eero.
Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, in partnership with Cranbrook Art Museum, is responsible for stewarding the collections of Saarinen House and opening its doors to visitors from around the world.
Advance ticket sales for each weekend close Friday at noon. After Friday at 1:00pm, tickets may be purchased at the front desk of the 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). All tours start at Cranbrook Art Museum.
All tours of Saarinen House depart from the front desk of Cranbrook Art Museum.
Tours are limited to 12 guests.
The tours are approximately 75 minutes in length and include stairs and two ten-minute walks on Cranbrook’s campus. Tours take place rain or shine.
To protect the original carpeting and flooring in Saarinen House, you will be asked to remove your shoes and wear slippers that will be provided.
For the safety and comfort of all visitors, children younger than eight years old, including infants and toddlers, are discouraged 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. All tours are walking tours and guests must be able to walk and stand throughout most of the tour. The entrance to the house includes several steps and a tour of the second floor requires walking up and down the main stairwell. There are no places to sit down in the house itself.
Coats and Bags
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 Saarinen House and its collection of fine and decorative art.
Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House and Saarinen House
If you wish to tour both Saarinen House and the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House on the same day, please note when your tours begin and end. On select Saturdays, the only possible combination is the 11:30am Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House tour and the 2:00pm Saarinen House Tour. Is it not possible to leave tours early. Please call the Center at 248-645-3307 for further questions.
Saarinen House has no air conditioning and can be extremely warm during the summer months. Please note that tours will be cancelled if the Cranbrook Campus is closed for weather-related emergencies. Visit cranbrook.edu or call Cranbrook Security at 248.645.3170 for campus closure information. There is a coat room inside Saarinen House.
There are no public restroom facilities at the house itself; please use the facilities at Cranbrook Art Museum before beginning your tour.
Tickets are non-refundable. However, with at least two days advance notice, your ticket may be transferred to another tour date during the same tour season. Your ticket also may be transferred to another participant for the tour on the same day and time as the original ticket.
A limited number of Private Tours of Saarinen House are available May through October, with at least three weeks advance notice.
Private Tour Fees* (includes free Admission to Cranbrook Art Museum)
*There is a Minimum Private Tour Group Fee of $100 Cranbrook Art Museum ArtMembers: $15
Adults and Seniors: $20
Students with ID: $15
To inquire about the availability of a Private Tour, please call 248.645.3307 or email email@example.com.
Photography by James Haefner. Courtesy of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.