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. 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.
Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is responsible for stewarding 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.
Interior photography is permitted only on the In-Depth Tours and interior and exterior photography is permitted only for personal use. Please note that tripods and flash photography are not permitted inside the house. These In-Depth Tours are longer than our Standard Tours and are limited to fewer visitors for a more intimate experience. In-Depth Tours are limited to 14 guests.
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.
IN-DEPTH TOUR FEES
Students with ID: $20
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.
New, reduced fees for the 2020 Tour Season!
All tours of 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.
Tours are limited to 14 guests.
Smith House In-Depth Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length. Tours take place rain or shine.
To protect the historic integrity of Smith 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.
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 Smith 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 In-Depth 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.
Smith 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 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. If your tour is canceled by Cranbrook because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will be offered the opportunity to reschedule your tour for a later date, convert the cost of your ticket into a donation to Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, or request a refund.
A limited number of Private Tours of Smith 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 $150
Adults and Seniors: $50
Students with ID: $25
To inquire about the availability of a Private Tour, please call 248.645.3307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by James Haefner. Courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.