Modern Homes on Fultonwood designed and built 1953-1957 by Jdames Bronkema
The Fultonwoods cul-de-sac is home to an iconic and highly sought after group of seven mid-century modern homes designed by James Bronkema. The image shown is of 35 Fultonwood. Bronkema, noted Grand Rapids builder, enjoyed painting and studied architecture at Grand Rapids Christian High. He left the Calvin College dental program to serve as a naval aviator in World War II, and upon discharge, worked for his father in real estate. After designing his own modern ranch home, he launched Bronkema Builders. At age 25, the youngest President of Grand Rapids Home Builders, Bronkema brought the new California ranch style to Grand Rapids and Muskegon. From 1945 - 1960, he designed upwards of 150 homes throughout Grand Rapids and Muskegon. His most famous group of homes is located on a quiet cul de sac of Eichler-style modern homes off East Fulton on Fultonwood Street. These homes have nearly all been renovated, and in some cases, nearly complete rebuilt in the spirit of Bronkema's design. They featured Chicago brick floors, built-in desks and dressers, wood paneled walls and glass curtain walls to bring the outside in. Bronkema believed in the new concept of the family room to bring families together. He described his philosophy in a Grand Rapids Press article, “Good modern is natural and functional, featuring the use of natural stone, woods and brick, and the shape and design of the exterior are determined by the plan of the interior. “ Bronkema also designed several iconic modern commercial buildings. He left Grand Rapids for Florida in 1960 where he continued to design and build. He moved from there to California and died in Palm Springs in 2015.