DEWITT TWP. — Jennie Shire and her boyfriend Sam Postema had already looked at about a dozen properties that were for sale by the time she saw a real estate listing for the odd round-shaped house off East Clark Road in June.
Lots of people had already taken note of the 3,509-square-foot home and its uncanny resemblance to a grounded UFO when it went up for sale this summer. The real estate agent representing it fielded nearly two dozen requests for showings at the property within a week of it being listed.
Still, Shire admits she was only half serious when she shared the listing with Postema, his daughter and her son.
She thought they’d laugh at the listing − which included photos of the two-story house tucked away behind trees at the end of a long, winding driveway on 20 acres. She never imagined they’d want anything to do with it.
Instead “everybody said, ‘Let’s go look at it,'” Shire, 45, said.
The late Robert Clark built the home in 1994, with an exterior of concrete, a rubber roof and a glass atrium connecting it with a two-car garage. He dubbed the property “Light Landings.” Friends and family often referred to it as “the Jetson home.”
But when Shire and Postema went to look at it for the first time it wasn’t the novelty of the build that struck them. Rather, they said, it was what it offered − a well-built structure with lots of potential on lots of land.
The couple bought it in late August for $325,000. They’ve already started renovating it and are documenting the journey on TikTok.
‘So many bad houses’
Shire and Postema don’t deny the uniqueness of their new house.
Clark, who died in December at age 85, designed and built much of it himself. Douglas Fulk, 79, of Haslett, who knew Clark for more than 40 years, told the State Journal that aliens served as inspiration for the flying-saucer-like house.
It has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a round front door, a full kitchen, a living area and office space on the lower floor. The gardens on the property are overgrown but worth bringing back to life, Postema said, and the structure itself is solid.
“It pretty much met all the requirements that we were looking for in a house and in the price range we were trying to stay in,” he said.
Shire, an officer manager for a veterinary clinic, and Postema, 47, a manager for an auto repair business, lived in Laingsburg before they bought it. No other home they considered buying offered them what it could, Postema said.
Shire needed at least 3 aces for her horse and donkey and Postema wanted more room to spread out and garden.
The couple moved in over Labor Day weekend with Shire’s son Devin, 17, and Postema’s daughter Samantha, 16.
They looked at “so many bad houses,” before they saw the property off East Clark Road, Postema said.
“We knew this house was going to need a lot of work,” he said. “That wasn’t that big of a deal to us. No matter how bad this house is, the structural bones are more solid than anything else we’ve ever lived in, or ever looked at.”
‘You need to make a TikTok’
The couple plans to revive the gardens and koi ponds on the property, and they’ve discovered hidden gems there too − including lawn statues and an outdoor bridge that collapsed.
There have been surprises inside the house too, Shire said, like shelving units they discovered behind mirrors in a bathroom.
“We were tearing out the kitchen this weekend and we’re pulling cupboards out and underneath in two of the cupboards we found totes filled with rations,” she said. The unopened packets they found in the bags were filled with freeze-dried meals.
“For a single person that’s probably a couple months worth of food,” Postema said. “For a family, maybe a month’s.”
Clark’s home design was environmentally friendly, he said, and ahead of its time. He used lights with smart switches and windows that work to properly insulate the house, Postema said.
“Even though it looks kind of weird he designed it to what he wanted,” he said. “All this has existed before. It’s all been done many times over. It’s just he put his own spin on it.”
Their work on the home has not been without setbacks. The home’s boiler is leaking carbon dioxide and needs to be replaced, they said.
The expense prompted the couple to start a TikTok page, “lights.landing,” to document their efforts. Shire hopes it draws a large following.
“All of my friends on Facebook were like, ‘You need to make a TikTok. We would so watch it,’ and I thought, well, maybe if we get enough followers we can get paid from TikTok,” she said.
The couple is updating the kitchen and working their way through the house and property − and taking an online audience on the journey. They know it could take a while to finish the renovations but both have experience updating homes they’ve lived in.
“We prefer doing it ourselves,” Postema said
“We know enough to be dangerous,” Shire said.
Contact Rachel Greco at email@example.com. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @GrecoatLSJ .