Loja and Eliel Saarinen were masterful entertainers. That tradition continues every spring, when Cranbrook Art Museum opens up the house for tours. Though the museum avoids serving food or drinks in the house (it is accessioned into the museum’s collection as a single historical object, after all), visitors get to experience the house as the Saarinens designed it between 1935 and 1940. Every autumn the tour season ends and we pack up the house to hibernate for winter, opening it up again come spring. To celebrate the closing of another great tour season (it finishes at the end of October, so get in while you can!), we wanted to showcase one of the most social environments in the house—the dining room.
Here, Loja Saarinen prepares the table for guests. The round placemats were decorated by the Saarinen’s son, Eero Saarinen, when he was just a boy. The table is at its smallest size—the outer rim of the table actually pulls out, allowing donut-shaped leaves to expand the table yet retain its circular shape. The swing door to the butler’s pantry is open, showing off the home’s state-of-the-art Frigidaire icebox. Truly a modern home for a modern family!