Reader's Choice: Lasting Impressions By Carolyn Weber and Christina B. Farnsworth

Name: Private Residence

Location: Reno, Nev.

Year Built: 1952

Architect: Lawrence Gulling

Why it's relevant: This house was a pioneer in the open floor plan revolution and was a perfect fit for the clients.

The house that Bruce Goff's architect grandfather Lawrence Gulling built in the early 1950s taught Goff what a good listener can achieve. Gulling designed the Reno, Nev., home for some friends, paying careful attention to their lifestyle and specific requirements. "It was the most sophisticated ranch house I've ever seen," says Goff, president of Domus Design in Reno.

The low-slung, 3,500-square-foot, X-shaped house features the entry in the middle of the plan with two-bedroom wings, a living wing, and a garage and laundry/utility wing. Responding to the clients dislike of hallways and tight spaces, Gulling designed a wide-open floor plan. "It incorporates the best of mid-century design, but it's also forward-looking because the rooms are so generous," Goff says. The clients considered it their perfect house and lived there for the rest of their lives. "It fit the clients, fit the site, and still works in 2002," Goff adds.

[Photo: Courtesy Bruce Goff]

"It had a tre-mendous influence on me, and I always want to provide clients with a house that suits them." Goff does his best to emphasize the pre-construction planning. "It's the most important part of the whole process," he says. "The ratio of time spent in advance and happiness afterwards are directly related."

Back to Reader's Choice: Lasting Impressions