Tulsa is known for its Art Deco architecture, especially in its downtown Deco District.
The term Art Deco was coined in 1968 by Bevis Hillier, an English art historian, author and journalist, in his book “Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.” The eclectic design style began in Paris in 1920s but had been referred to as zigzag or modern.
One of Tulsa’s best known Art Deco-style homes belongs to the McGay family. Located at 1551 S. Yorktown Place in the Gillette Historical District, the home was built for John B. McGay in 1936.
McGay was an inventor who created the tubeless tire, gas calculator and petroleum gauges and manufactured the first parking meter. Much of his creativity took place in his workshop, the lower level den in his home.
Joseph R. Koberling designed the property. Born in Hungary, Koberling designed several commercial buildings and homes in Tulsa.
“This house has never been on the market,” said Cherie A. French, the Walter & Associates Realtor representing the property. The home, which has remained in the McGay family, has held a fascination for many people throughout the years. French knocked on the door 20 years ago just to ask Bobbie Eden, McGay’s great niece, if she could see the home’s interior. The two became longtime friends until she died last December.
“I am so in love with this house,” French said. “The Art Deco design really stands out.” The horizontal patterns in the brick facade are among the first design elements you notice.
The interior, which includes five levels including a basement, also exhibits several Art Deco elements, such as modern plaster ceiling molds and fireplace trim in the spacious living room on the main level.
A dining room, kitchen and small breakfast room share the main level with a sunroom, which originally was a long, open porch across the back of the house. It was doubled in size when made into a sunroom.
The kitchen has original Monel countertops, clock, cabinets and door pulls. It also features a free-standing stove, microwave, refrigerator, KitchenAid dishwasher, pantry and laundry chute.
The living room has an eye-catching staircase with a three-bar brushed steel banister that leads to the upper floors. The next floor up is where you’ll find the master suite. A separate shower and tub with 1936 Italian glass wainscoting embellishes master bath.
The next floor has two bedrooms that share a bathroom. Each bedroom has two cedar-lined closets.
“The game room/den on the lower level is what really sold me on this house,” French said. “The den is where he did his work. That’s why it has all the fluorescent lights. It’s unusual to have a light, airy walkout lower level like this. It’s not the basement, but it is somewhat subterranean.”
An office with a closet and a bathroom share this floor, and although the office is small, it could be used as a fourth bedroom.
“There are hardwood floors underneath the carpet in most parts of the home,” French added. The house has five fireplaces, four of which are decorative. The one in the sunroom is a wood-burner.
The home has an updated central heating and air conditioning system, and the roof was updated last year.
“This unique home is on one of the few boulevards in Tulsa,” French said. “People who loved Art Deco really find this house to be special.”
The property is listed for $500,000. To make an appointment to see the home, contact French at 918-951-6161 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1551 S. Yorktown Place, Tulsa
YEAR BUILT: 1936
LOT SIZE: .45 acre
SQ. FOOTAGE: 3,964
EXTERIOR: Brick exterior
SCHOOLS: Tulsa schools
EXTRAS: Art Deco elements, five levels, modern plaster ceiling molds, tile and carpet floors, hardwood underneath most carpeting, electric range, microwave, dishwasher, tub and separate shower in master bath, Carerra glass wainscoting, sink in den, built-in storage features in several rooms, office with closet and bathroom could be fourth bedroom, basement has laundry room with sink, sunroom with wood-burning fireplace, four decorative fireplaces, ceiling fans, gutters, patio, sprinkler system, chain-link fence
OFFERED BY: Cherie A. French • Walter & Associates • 918-951-6161