Give Yourself THE Present: A Better Place to Live

The following photo essay comes from the December 1959 issue of House Beautiful magazine.  Photos are by famed architectural photographer, Maynard Parker, and more current-day images have been provided by Robyn.

The Oklahoma City home was designed for the Neely family by Richard Kuhlman, who was a professor of architecture at OU for many years and who also designed many of the buildings on campus in the ’50s and ’60s, including the Geology, Graduate Education, and Athletes’ Dorm buildings.  


Inside and outside of the large family room are seen in this pair of pictures. It is adjacent to the kitchen.  Clerestory motif repeats again.

Floor Plan shows kitchen in relation to rest of house. Note good traffic handling. Kitchen can be entirely by-passed by hallways, has three entrances, marvelous counter space. All walls give maximum storage performance, thanks to absence of windows. 

(The hallway divides) the kitchen from the rest of the house, and the long run of high windows occurring above the ceiling height of the adjoining room. This is a splendid way to obtain outside light from directions that are not outside exposures, frequently a crucial problem when a new addition is to be made to an existing structure. Obviously figuring out the roof handling would have to be left in the hands of an architect.

Laundry … is actually part of the kitchen but work area is out of the traffic pattern, so floor could be kept clean enough for safe ironing of long or big things (like sheets). Clothes hampers are part of counter construction.

Even though this kitchen is not a remodeled one, but a new one, it is loaded with meaning for a family thinking of adding a new kitchen to an existing house.

Most meaningful aspect of the kitchen is the way light has been brought in from above through high clerestory windows. This could be done at the point where a new room was to be added to an existing house, creating outside light even though most of the connecting wall is to be used for other purposes (such as storage cabinets).

No conventional windows exist, yet this kitchen gets outdoor light from all four directions – high, sky light which is the most agreeable light there is.

In a kitchen, where you want maximum use of the walls for work purposes, this principle offers good efficiency.

Main view of the kitchen, the vegetable wash-up area, two of the small doors of the walk-in refrigerator, and the cooking area. Above it all you see two long runs of high clerestory windows. These are not in the kitchen proper, but across the hallways, to be seen in the plan. House is air-conditioned.

Also note the walk-in refrigerator, with two small doors on two of its sides and a door on the third side. For a large family this could facilitate buying foods by the case or the lug.

The house was enlarged and modified in 1962 to meet the needs of the family, then it was left relatively untouched for the next 40 years.  Here are a few photos of what the home looked like about 10 years ago after new owners moved in and unwisely attempted to give the home a really bad but very comical hunting lodge look:


The home was modified again after this, but many of the original elements, including those great windows, remain and were enhanced by the new, open design: