On the Market: A Raymond Carter in Need of Some Love

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

Raymond Carter may be best known around town for designing many of Nichols Hills’ traditional, rustic rock homes that serenely sit among the mature trees and lush, expansive lawns of the area but seem to be disappearing very fast these days thanks to some pretty ugly and ill-thought-out renos.  What many don’t know is that Raymond Carter also designed some eye popping modern homes throughout the city, too.   (Carter’s modern body of work will be covered in more detail in an upcoming blog … if I can remember to write it.)

Yesterday, thanks to realtor and friend, Heather Davis (of Churchill-Brown), I got the chance to tour one of Carter’s most stunning modern homes that recently went on the market and is located in the heart of Nichols Hills.  It’s a gem of a house, and even though it is in some serious need of love after years of neglect and a few (very few, thankfully) bad updates, it could be the glory of the neighborhood once again.

Built in 1957 and located on lovely Waverly Avenue, the 4,100 sf, split-level home has had only two owners and is spread out, ranch style on an oversized lot.  It is listed at $435,000, a real bargain for the area, even with the work that needs to be done to it.

So, let’s begin with the tour.

Here’s a photo of the front I took a few years ago before the trees took over.  It gives you a good idea of the house’s sexy curb appeal:


And, here’s the front now.  The house isn’t looking quite as nice these days with all of that untamed overgrowth and the slate blue door that does nothing for the facade … note to the next owners: the orange was much nicer.

The front door itself with the knob in the middle, though, is a great original feature:

Whew, after seeing that it used to be such a vibrant orange, that blue is a real downer … and the paint color choices (thanks to the second owner) only get worse:

Yes, that’s purple paint … purple, for goodness sake … in the entry, and an ugly, barf green on the wall in the living room above.  But, paint aside, look at this entry!  The stairs, the floor, that brick, those windows … gorgeous!  Oh, and yes, that’s built-in bench seating on the living room level overlooking the entry.  And that’s not all.  Check this out:

Here’s another view of the entry looking in the opposite direction toward the dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides.  And, what about that divider?!  It’s too great.

Beyond the dining room is the kitchen, which has ample space and could be really nice but has been the victim of more bad paint choices and an even worse granite counter top and slate tile flooring.  I disliked the kitchen so much that I didn’t even photograph it, so I’m borrowing one of Heather’s photos of it:


Back to the good parts.  Here’s the view from the kitchen toward the airy dining room and formal living room … how great is that screen?

Up the stairs is the formal living room:

Okay, pretend like those awful ceiling fans and ugly paint aren’t there and look at the great bones of this room … vaulted and beamed ceilings, a-frame windows, sleek fireplace, and built-in seating.


Looking in the opposite direction, there’s a spiral staircase leading down to a window-surrounded solarium, which I think would make a great artist’s studio:

What a great space!

The rest of the bottom level of the house would make a great kid haven, with four bedrooms and a combo playroom and TV area:

Check out those built-in chalk/bulletin boards and sofa, which are original features (sans ugly 80’s cushions) of the home.  Pretty cool, aye?  Heather told me that the first owner, who lived here 50 years, had a pool table in the space where the chalkboards are.  As for the sofa, it looks on to a wall where a big, wide screen TV would fit perfectly.

The sliding door to the left of the sofa walks out to a greenhouse that the plant-loving first owner installed:

Beyond the playroom are three small bedrooms (where someone sadly added crown molding and wainscoting), all of which are similar to this one:

… a bathroom (where a tyke went sticker happy):

… and this great set of built-in bookshelves:

In fact, there are original built-ins throughout the house that enhance its modern vibe and provide ample storage space, including these that lead from the formal living room to the master suite upstairs:

The master bedroom contains more yucky paint, but there is a lot of potential here:

Out in back, there’s a pool that has recently been converted to salt water:

The yard goes all around the house and is quite a bit larger than it seems here.

One trademark of Raymond Carter’s modern homes is his use of lattice work that both is decorative and adds privacy.  Here’s a detail shot of the lattice in the back:

… and the front:

Yes, as you can see, this house is definitely in need of an owner who will rid it of that awful paint and restore it to its original glory, but with so many original details, a family-friendly floor plan, and a great price, I think it will find a good caregiver soon.

Fingers crossed that it doesn’t meet a sadder fate like so many of Carter’s more traditionally styled homes have seen of late.