Long before designing his signature Usonian houses, Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned an earlier series of affordable models for the middle class: The American System-Built Homes. He developed seven floorplans of varying size and layout, standardized so that materials could be precut at the factory to reduce costs. Only a few years after the project began, the United States entered World War I, and all home construction was stalled due to lumber shortages. Wright then turned his attention to other projects, and with fewer than twenty built, the American System-Built Homes were all but forgotten.
In 2011, Jason Loper and Michael Schreiber purchased the only American System-Built Home constructed in Iowa, the Meier House, which set them on a course of refurbishing and researching their new residence. In This American House, Loper and Schreiber trace the history of the Meier House through its previous owners, and shed light on this underexplored period of Wright's oeuvre. With a preface by John H. Waters, the Preservation Programs Manager of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, This American House addresses what it means to be the stewards of a piece of history.