On a tree-lined residential street in Kansas City, Missouri, amidst older colonial style homes, sits the neighborhood blemish. You know, the one that makes drivers slam on their brakes and say – “Look at THAT thing!”
The Nichol House was designed by child prodigy/architect guru of funkiness Bruce Goff. Known for his organic twist on modern home design, Goff began apprenticing with a Tulsa, Oklahoma architectural firm at the age of 12. In his mid twenties, he made firm partner.
The Nichol House was designed in 1965 by Goff and built the same year by Michael Rothstein Construction.
The Nichol House has many groovy and unexpected features, first and foremost being the octagonal floor plan with a central fireplace and water feature. The great room at the center of the house also features a suspended genuine Sputnik satellite.
Not only was Bruce Goff a bona-fide boy-wonder genius, he was also a kid at heart. He died in 1982 but many of his far-out designs continue to enliven and embolden the American mid-west.
The Nichol House was carefully preserved by its original owner and was bought in 1997 by Rod Parks, owner of Retro Inferno, a national mid-century modern furniture store. As a lover of all things mid-century, Parks has carefully adhered to the origins of Goff’s design and even located and acquired some of the exact furniture pieces that Goff specified for this home.
This is one of those truly lucky homes that has found the perfectly matched owner – or perhaps “caretaker” might be the more appropriate term.
“The house grabbed me like never before, it got me—and I got it.” Parks told the New York Times in an article about the Nichol House.
The Nichol House measures in at 2,868 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The rooms radiating from the central core all have those very striking triangular windows.
In 1965, Goff would have been entering his twilight years but there was no hope of this house being a more conservative design. All of his work ventured mightily into the realm of fun and crazy architecture.
The Nichol House sits on a one acre lot of mature trees with a hexagonal shaped swimming pool in back and a rectangular reflecting pool in front.
Other fun features that Goff playfully hid in the finishes were Italian glass ashtrays embedded in the front door, and tiny hobby-store mirrors distributed along the upper shingles.
Bruce Goff’s vision of the Nichol House was a little bit sci-fi, a little bit organic, and a whole lot of eccentricity.
Truly, this child prodigy was light years – maybe even generations – ahead of his time.
(The kind of off-beat genius that we celebrate here at House Crazy!)