A Carl Strauss Gem in Indian Hill

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It’s a pretty big deal when your house is designed by one high-profile architect; John and Farah Palmer’s Indian Hill home showcases the handiwork of two: Carl Strauss and John Senhauser.

Designed by Carl Strauss for Snowden Rowe in 1969, the home was originally several shades of brown, both inside and out, and sat on a much larger parcel of land. By the time the Palmers bought it in 1998, all but 6.2 acres had been sold off or donated (which is how both Annesdale Drive and the Rowe Arboretum came to be) and additions had been tacked on to either end. There were also vines growing along interior walls and mushrooms in the carpet.

Enter architect John Senhauser. Armed with a sizable respect for Strauss, Senhauser spent 18 months painstakingly redesigning this MCM gem under Farah’s knowledgeable and watchful eye. The resulting structure—on the market today for $3.5 million—represents a successful marriage of both architects’ work and the current homeowners’ vision.

Strauss’ original second floor entry, his concrete-and-copper wall fountain behind the main stair, and his signature repeating archways are as beautiful and inspiring today as ever. Senhauser’s redesigned main staircase (now metal spiral instead of bulky wood), updated billiard room and bar area, and sleek kitchen, all carry the home gracefully into the 21st century. Senhauser, who won state and local AIA awards for this project, has likened his work here numerous times to “replacing the lining of a classic jacket.”

Strauss, who died in 2002, was able to visit the house once after Senhauser’s extensive re-do. “He was very positive about the renovation,” says Alexander Christoforidis, an associate professor of architecture and urban planning at UC and principal at Synthesis Architecture who worked with Strauss. He didn’t even mind the all-white paint job. After all, Senhauser’s updates insured that Strauss’ vision will likely live on, and thrive, through post-modernism and beyond.

Originally published in the July 2014 issue.

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