About the House
The house, commissioned by William and Mary Palmer in 1950, was designed by Wright's own hand. It is perhaps the finest of his late houses. The 2,000 square-foot home with its collection of Wright-designed furniture, the Teahouse, and the two-acre beautiful sylvan setting is Ann Arbor's most architecturally significant residence.
The strong organic aspects of the house are manifested in its hillside orientation, exquisite red cypress and brickwork, and the treed views from every room. Complementing the natural elements is the bold triangular geometry of the home: its signature cantilevered overhang, the play of angles (there are no 90 degree corners), and Wright's creation of intimate and open spaces. Building upon the exceptional display of architectural design detail and craftsmanship, the house has been meticulously cared for by both the original and new owners.
About the Architect
Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 - April 9, 1959) was an architect, interior designer, writer, and educator. Known as America's greatest architect, Wright designed more than 1,000 projects that resulted in more than 500 completed works. Like Miles Davis' work in Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered multiple styles throughout his illustrious career, including the Prairie, Usonian, and Organic styles. Wright was eighty-three when he started on the Palmer House. During this period, he was also working on the Guggenheim Museum, one of the 20th century's most important architectural landmarks.
About the Original Owners
William "Billy" Palmer grew up in Imlay City, Michigan, fifty miles north of Detroit. William studied economics at the University of Michigan, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1929, and his master's degree in 1930. After graduation he became a professor of economics at the University of Michigan.
Mary Warton Shuford, originally from North Carolina, enrolled in Michigan's School of Music in 1935, majoring in music theory. In June of 1937, Mary graduated and married Billy.
Billy and Mary purchased the property in 1949 because they felt it was "the most beautiful place in the city." They considered many architects, including George Brigham and Alden Dow. Eventually, after becoming familiar with the FLW Affleck house in Bloomfield Hills, they selected Frank Lloyd Wright. They lived in the house for more than five decades. Mary used the house as a beautiful backdrop for parties, concerts, and fundraising events for the community.
About the New Owners
In March 2009, Jeffrey and Kathryn Schox purchased the Palmer House. Jeffrey Schox was born and raised in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan. After earning a law degree, he returned to Ann Arbor to start his career in patent law. Around the same time his wife Kathryn completed her teaching degree at the University of Michigan and began teaching at the Ann Arbor Girls School. The couple first took notice to the Palmer House on their frequent visits to the Ann Arbor Arboretum. The cantilevered roof fascinated them and sparked their interest in Frank Lloyd Wright. The Palmer House soon became a destination for their long walks, and an inspiration for many road trips to other FLW houses.
In July 2004, Jeffrey moved his law practice to San Francisco, but returns to Ann Arbor every six weeks to visit his startup clients and to teach a course on patent law at the University of Michigan. These visits will continue into the foreseeable future, except that he now stays at his new home. When not staying at the Palmer House, Jeffrey and Kathryn have made the house available for vacations, business, and special events.