On the Market: The Zuhdi House
On a quiet prairie hilltop surrounded by a small lake, a few lazy cows, and encroaching suburbia in the distance in far NW OKC sits a crazy house that looks like it dropped in from a galaxy in far outer space. The cows don’t seem to mind, though, and continue their grazing as if the abode is a country farmhouse that’s been there forever. Well, they are somewhat correct. The funky creation isn’t a UFO but a residence that has called this quiet landscape home for more than three decades now.
By the 1970’s, pioneering heart surgeon, Nazih Zuhdi, had already developed hemodilution, a system for priming a heart/lung machine without using blood that was instrumental in performing open heart surgery. He had also co-developed an artificial bypass heart and was well on his way to performing the first open heart surgery in Oklahoma a few years later.
With all of the intensity of his professional work, Zuhdi wanted a place to escape to during his down time and approached architect Robert Roloff about designing a one-of-a-kind home out in the middle of nowhere north of town. Roloff was the perfect choice. As a partner at Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson & Roloff, he was responsible for some of Oklahoma’s most outstanding and unique architecture, including the State Capitol Bank, the Gold Dome, and Fountainhead State Lodge.
Although known primarily for his work on commercial projects, Roloff accepted Zuhdi’s challenge and created a design that is truly unlike anything else:
The eye-popping, spiral-shaped home is covered in thin sheets of anodized aluminum over concrete supports and is so solidly built that it looks in defiance to the west, challenging all approaching storms to take it on. So far, many have tried but none have come close to triumphing over this beauty.
Incorporating Frank Lloyd Wright’s successful technique of creating anticipation and surprise by having small spaces open onto large, open ones, once inside, Roloff’s design leads through a low-slung and somewhat claustrophobic, rounded entry that makes a half circle before opening up to a giant, two-story living area:
Banked by five sets of interior windows and anchored by massive wood beams (presumably to keep the house from firing its rockets and blasting off back to the mother ship), the huge, semi-circular room is definitely the big wow of the house:
The living room opens to a dining room/kitchen area with original, blood-red cabinetry that hides all kinds of lazy Susans, pull outs, and even a built-in mixer:
There are two small, oddly-shaped bedrooms and a laundry room downstairs, and up the enclosed spiral staircase…
… are the master and two other small bedrooms. The mirrored master bathroom is another big standout in the house. You have to love baby blue to like this room because everything from the toilet and bidet to the vanity to the monstrous tub is blue, blue, blue. The head-to-toe blue formica vanity in particular is a crazy treat, with dual sinks facing each other (one even comes with a sprayer so the lucky owner can wash his/her hair in the sink):
And, here’s the shower/tub combo that can easily accommodate you and a dozen of your closest friends:
Oh, and check out this to-die-for (at least in my small-closeted world) master closet. I don’t covet much in life, but I just might kill for this:
Over time, the 5,600 sf house, which sits off the street behind a gaggle of protective trees, gained a reputation as being haunted, and on Halloween, kids from all over the city would make the trek along bumpy back roads to sit in front of the house and scare themselves into believing they had seen something spectral moving around the grounds.
Maybe they did see something….
When the Zuhdis moved out of the home in the 80’s they sold it to a group of nuns who lived on the property for several years. Perhaps the ghosts kids throughout the Metro claimed to see were actually nuns taking their evening constitutionals on the four acres of grounds surrounding the house. Maybe … or maybe not.
The Zuhdi house is on the open market for the first time ever and is looking for a new generation of owners to care for it. So, if you’re in the market for a maybe haunted house designed by one of the premiere architects in Oklahoma, now is your chance to grab up the Zuhdi house!
(A big thanks goes to realtors Kerry Norman and TJ Jordan for letting me see this beautiful home. If you’re in the market for a one-of-a-kind house, TJ at Keesee & Company is your contact.)