Dean Bryant Vollendorf and the New Homes Guide

by Lynne Rostochil

During his years as an architecture professor at OU, Dean Bryant Vollendorf also regularly contributed designs to the New Homes Guide, a bi-annual publication featuring all kinds of residential plans for potential buyers wanting to construct their own home.  While many of the guide’s designs are pretty generic and sedate, Vollendorf’s are much more vivid, enthusiastic, and wholly original.  Take, for example, the first design Vollendorf did for the magazine, which he called Baysweep:

vollendorf_NHG 46 summ fall 61_cathy stapleton

 (New Homes Guide #46, Summer-Fall 1961.  Cathy Stapleton collection)

This design was a huge success.  According to Vollendorf, “back in those days it was $25.00 for a set of drawings, but at that price this one plan paid for a full time secretary, rent, and a car.  This plan went on to hold the record for the most inquiries and sales for the first 35 years of the magazine’s publication.”  Baysweep appeared in several editions of the magazine for over a decade:

vollendorf 1

(New Homes Guide #63, Winter-Spring 1970.  Bob Watel collection)

Here’s a built example of the plan — not sure of the location:


(Friends of Kebyar Journal, Volume 4.3, Issue No. 29, May/June 1986)

And a modified version built for W.J. Brennan in Montgomery, AL — 1964:


(Friends of Kebyar Journal, Volume 4.3, Issue No. 29, May/June 1986)

A Baysweep house in Little Rock, AR made the National Register of Historic Places in 2018:

Another of Vollendorf’s designs that appeared in the New Homes Guide was one that he built for himself in Norman.  Here’s the plan:

vollendorf house norman plans new homes guide_1

(New Homes Guide, not sure which issue.  From the John Robert Beck collection)

And the real deal, located at 1424 Westbrooke Terrace.  Here’s what it looked like when it was new:

vollendorf house norman plans new homes guide_3

(John Robert Beck collection)

… and how it looks now.  At some point, another OU architect altered the home in a way that Vollendorf was very displeased with:

Vollendorf House - Norman

(Josh McKinney)

Here are a few interior photos I found on the Friends of Vollendorf page on Facebook that John Robert Beck posted.  Here’s one of the court:

vollendorf house - john robert beck - court_1

… the court looking into the adjoining living room:

vollendorf house - john robert beck - court_2… the dramatic fireplace in the living room:

vollendorf house - john robert beck

… the kitchen:

vollendorf house - john robert beck dining kitchen_1… and the bathroom:

vollendorf house - john robert beck bathroom

 Two of Vollendorf’s designs were featured in the 48th edition of the New Homes Guide (Summer-Fall 1962):

Vollendofr_NHG 48 Summ Fall 62_Cathy Stapleton

(Cathy Stapleton collection)

Vollendorf_New Homes Guide 48_Cathy Stapleton

(Cathy Stapleton collection)

One design made it into the next New Homes Guide (#49, Winter-Spring 1963):

vollendorf_NHG 49_winter spr 63_cathy stapleton

(Cathy Stapleton collection)

Two more appeared in the #50 issue (Summer-Fall 1963):

vollendorf_NHG 50_sumfall 63_Cathy Stapleton

vollendorf_nhg 50 summ fall 63_cathy stapleton

(Cathy Stapleton collection)

Here are a couple from issue #58 (Summer-Fall 1967):

vollendorf 2

vollendorf 5

(Bob Watel collection)

And two more from the 63rd edition (Winter 1970):

vollendorf 4

vollendorf 3

(Bob Watel collection)

I’m not sure how many homes were built from these designs, but I do know that one of Vollendorf’s most imaginative plans, the Sky Parasol, was built at least once.  Here’s the design, which appeared in the Winter 1966 issue:


(Friends of Kebyar collection)

And here’s a completed home, the Norris House, in Albermarle, North Carolina, near where Vollendorf taught and spent the last years of his life:


(Friends of Kebyar collection)

I’d love to tour that beauty, wouldn’t you?

According to the guide, the home was originally designed as a weekend house, and its construction was “simple, based on the umbrella.  From a foundation of masonry, simple wood trusses support a terne metal roof.  High windows surround the living area.  The bedrooms have narrow, slit windows.”

If you’d like to learn more about Vollendorf, I highly recommend ordering the May/June 1986 issue of the Friends of Kebyar journal, which is devoted entirely to his impressive body of work.  Go here to order one or a dozen — all of their issues are filled with all kinds of fascinating tidbits.  You can also see some of Vollendorf’s Oklahoma designs on the Mod Blog.  Finally, the Friends of Vollendorf page on Facebook is a great resource for researching all things Vollendorf.  Scroll down the page to see several of his eye popping drawings that Tom Dolan posted, including this very mod stunner:

vollendorf rendering tom dolen

 (All quotes came from the Friends of Kebyar journal issue mentioned above.  You also might want to check out Cathy Stapleton’s Flickr photostream — she posts all kinds of great mid-century ephemera that will keep you perusing for hours.)