Designed by Alden B. Dow and built by the Alden Dow Building Company in 1941, the Mr. and Mrs. Frank Boonstra House is a good example of Dow’s interest in well-designed low cost housing. While small in size, the structure is carefully placed on the lot and the rooms’ interior spaces are laid out in accordance with their function.
Despite its compact size and appearance, the interior living space has an open, flowing quality. The main entrance, on the west side well back from the front, opens directly into the living room of the house. To the right, a parapet wall guards the stairs to the basement. The ceiling over the stairs is curved, to allow more head room as one descends into the basement.
The East and West walls of the house are without windows, protecting privacy on the narrow lot. Focus is drawn to the front, with its band of windows facing out to the street, and beyond it, to the Midland Country Club golf course. The broad bay of windows is anchored by a characteristic Alden Dow linoleum-topped window bench with open shelf below.
The Boonstra House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 2004 as part of the Residential Architecture of Alden B. Dow in Midland, Michigan, 1939-1941 multiple property nomination. The nomination highlights six of Dow’s designs during that time period.
Dow, Alden. 1970. Reflections. Midland: Northwood Institute.
Dow, Alden. 1973. Way of Life. Midland: Northwood Institute.
Maddex, Diane. 2007. Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern. New York: Distributed by W.W. Norton.
Robinson, Sidney K. 1983. The Architecture of Alden B. Dow. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.