Kuchler House

North facade
North facade (Kodachrome)

Location: 2152 Owens Lane
Architect: Morley & Geraughty (architectural plans)
Builder: F. H. Smithmeyer
Year built: 1952
Original Owners: Mr. & Mrs.A.William Kuchler
Current Owners: Tom & Terri Harper
Current ranking
: 11 (See details)

Situated at the apex of a cul-de-sac, this simple, straightforward house resolves the inherent tension of suburban living by insisting on a strong separation between public and private spheres.

From the street, the house appears as a modest, low-slung ranch that conforms to its suburban environment and neighboring houses. Privately, however, the house expresses an interconnectedness with nature that is transcendent, and in marked contrast to its public visage. The living room, which is oriented for southern exposure, features an uninterrupted row of large panel windows that present a cinematic view of the outdoors. In winter, as the sun arcs low across the Midwestern sky, the room is bathed in warmth cast from beautiful Philippine mahogany wall coverings. The extended roof overhang on the south side of the house acts as an aperture that cuts direct sunlight to the living spaces in summer, reducing heat, while in winter allows the sun’s rays to warm the house. The quality of light, at all times of year, is sublime. Though the physical distance between the front and back of the house is a mere yards, the psychological distance is enormous.

John C. Morley, a KU professor of architecture, designed the house for A. William Kuchler, a renowned scientist who developed a vegetation map depicting pre-settlement ecosystems within the continental United States. Originally 1,200 sq. ft., the house received a Morley-designed addition in 1964. The proud second owners, Tom and Terri Harper, tastefully updated the kitchen in 2006 and are committed to retaining the integrity and spirit of the house.

Living room


  1. Melissa Meyer
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    What a great house and great furniture too.

  2. Rolf Borchert
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Laura and I just want to let you again how much we enjoyed revisiting the Kuchler house and your tasteful modern furniture. We were also surprised to see that you increased the number of photographs for the “Baker’s dozen” and thus made the “tour” even more interesting. And finally, we very much enjoyed your story about the “California houses” which we admired for 40 years and never saw from the inside.

    Cheers, Laura and Rolf

  3. Sheila Morley-Wallis
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Since Jack was my father, and I grew up in a house he designed and built and unfortunately, that house has been torn down, it makes me so happy do see some of his work, 2 of my brothers live in Lawrence, so next time I visit, maybe they can show me some of these houses. I knew Curtis Besinger, and everything they said is true. He was sweet, and humble. Glad you are enjoying your home. One of the houses that Jack built.

  4. Posted May 24, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your comments Sheila.

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