This was part of my July 2, 2022 newsletter:
Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know
If you live in the Allmendinger neighborhood of Ward 4, you may have walked by the Lustron house on Seventh Street. I learned about this house very recently, when I was in the neighborhood and the owner invited me in to see it. I have never seen a house quite like it!
The Lustron house was an invention of industrial engineer Carl Strandlund, to house G.I.s after World War II. In 1947, the Lustron Corporation built a factory in Columbus, Ohio to produce these homes that were pre-fabricated and all metal, with steel framing and steel walls. Lustron homes are constructed out of interlocking, steel panels that were originally coated in porcelain enamel. All the interior walls, doors, ceilings and built-in furnishings are also enameled metal. Lustron homes were designed with two and three bedrooms (1025 square feet); new, they sold for $8500 – $9500.
These homes were built for only a short period of time, because the company went bankrupt in 1950. Fewer than 2,000 remain in the U.S. Local businessman Neil Staebler led the Ann Arbor franchise of Lustron, and he arranged the building of nine homes here, eight of which still exist. Another home on Longshore Drive burned down in the 1990’s, according to the Lustron home directory.
You can read a detailed history of Lustron homes in Ann Arbor here:
Ward 4 residents Mike Pieronek and Chris Purcell own (and live next door to) the Lustron home at 1200 S. Seventh. I happened to meet Mike when the house was in-between tenants, and he showed me the inside. It is truly unique!
Mike told me about some of the restoration work they have done on their Lustron home. In the interior, parts of the enamel finish had been damaged over time, so Mike and Chris disassembled as much as they could and had 70 pieces powder coated by local Ward 4 business Bean’s Best LLC on Jewett near South Industrial. When they first bought it, the house had deteriorating vinyl baseboard moulding attached with adhesive. Chris did the hard work of removing both vinyl moulding and adhesive, while Mike crafted traditional wooden baseboards that attach with magnets! Mike and Chris’s goal with their Lustron is to keep it as original looking as possible while updating it with modern conveniences like air conditioning.
For anyone interested in living in this lovely historic home (conveniently located in Ward 4!): it is available to rent starting this fall. For more information (and to see more pictures), visit: