Arch City

Property: The House that the Kahiki Built

Copious windows and a nod to a former Columbus institution define this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Westerville home.

By
From the March 2014 edition

To those who have deep roots in Columbus—or at least lived here sometime before 2000—the rocks that climb the walls of 4480 Ravine Dr. in Westerville might look familiar. That’s because they are the stones that were left over from when the house’s original owner, Lee Henry, built the Kahiki Supper Club in 1961. When the nearly 7,000-square-foot house was designed for Henry and his wife in 1963, he had materials from his third restaurant incorporated both inside and out, including copper plumbing. The home—built on more than 7 acres—was designed by a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and clearly reflects the let-the-outside-in concept of Wright’s teaching. It features mostly natural materials—wood, stone and glass. The four bedrooms feature vaulted ceilings (as do most other rooms), a floating staircase ascends to the lofted master suite, which includes two of five-and-a-half bathrooms, and the home’s 160 panes of glass allow ample natural light in and boast a view of the adjacent wooded ravine from nearly all angles. 

A gated driveway winds through the dense woods for true privacy accompanied by the illusion of a secluded-someplace outside of Ohio.

Current owner Randy Giddens spearheaded a $300,000 renovation when he bought the house from the Henrys 15 years ago. His goal was to modernize it while maintaining the integrity of the original design. The main living space used to feature a sunken floor with a narrow fireplace in the center of the room and fixed sofa seating. Giddens gutted that space and raised the oak floor to incorporate two separate (but open) sitting areas and a built-in bar.
The original kitchen was boxed off from separate living and dining rooms. “That was the Frank Lloyd Wright style back in the day,” Giddens says, “small rooms with a lot of windows.” Giddens knocked down the walls and opened the kitchen to the rest of the house, while adding an extra dining area that gives way to the backyard. He also added an artist’s studio with two walls of windows and an additional office space. Giddens sealed the original bomb shelter (the house was built in the ’60s, after all) but constructed another shelter of his own: a 2,500-bottle wine cellar in the basement.

Have a real estate lead? Send it to msullivan3@columbusmonthly.com for consideration.