American System-Built Home, architecture, dream house, Frank Lloyd Wright

Giving Thanks: 7 Wonderful Things About Living in an American System-Built Home


7 Wonderful Things About Living in Our American System-Built Home

This weekend marked our SEVENTH Thanksgiving in our American System-Built Home. As part-time residents dividing our time between the Delbert and Grace Meier House in Iowa and our apartment in the city, we always look forward to this long holiday weekend. It’s one of the few times that we’re able to carve out additional room in our work schedules to allow for a long stay at the house together. One of us has to rush back to the city while the other stays behind to work on house projects, but over the holidays we typically get a few extra days together in the house. And over this particular Thanksgiving holiday, we took some time to reflect on the things about our little piece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s American architectural heritage that give us joy. And so without further ado:

The 7 Things About Living in an American System-Built Home for Which We’re Thankful

1 – We’re living in history
Well, of course, there’s the obvious – we’re living in a piece of architectural history. Throughout our marriage, The Mister and I have dreamed about living in a home with architectural significance. It may have taken us 15 years of talking about it, but we finally achieved our goal when we purchased the Meier House. And we’re loving every minute of it!

2 – You’re one of us now
Joining a community of American System-Built Home owners has been another highlight of this experience. We’ve had the privilege of not only meeting other ASBH owners but also visiting their homes, forging friendships and sharing the excitement (and occasional commiseration) of owning one of these beautiful structures.

3 – A stranger is a friend you haven’t met
Giving tours of our home to Frank Lloyd Wright fans has been a unique experience that we have wholeheartedly embraced. We’ve welcomed visitors – both planned and impromptu – from around the world and will gladly stop what we’re doing to give a guided tour and share the history of our home and its owners.

4 – Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision is alive in the 21st century
When Mr. Wright launched the American System-Built Home project with Arthur Richards in the 1910s, he envisioned a nationwide housing system that would bring his Prairie-school designs to the masses at an affordable price. Wright and Richards had a falling out, America entered World War I and only a couple dozen ASB homes were built before the plan was scrapped all together. But here we are, more than 100 years later, calling this house our home. We think Mr. Wright would approve.


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5 – You light up our lives
The windows in this house are so, so gorgeous! Just look at the way the sunshine streams through the bank of zinc-glass windows in the living room! And even in the dark days of winter, the corner windows in the bedrooms on the second floor allow an abundance of daylight into the house. On those nights when the moon is full, the glow filters through the 100-year-old glass and brightens the space so much that it feels more like twilight than midnight.

6 – Picture it: Iowa, 1917
Having this house is the best dinner party conversation we could have ever purchased. It’s also the most expensive dinner party conversation we could have ever purchased. But, hey, it happens to also be an effective ice breaker AND a really lovely house so it really does seem like a bargain.

7 – Paying it forward.
Quite possibly the most rewarding part of owning this house is that we’re doing our part to preserve it for the future. There are fewer than 20 American System-Built Home standing today. We’re doing our best to make sure that the Delbert and Grace Meier House remains a viable family home for the next 100 years.

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