If Goldilocks were to visit John Chadwickʼs apartment in Heritage Hills, she might never leave. The retired interior designer has fashioned his rooms to feel “just right” with cheerful wallpapers, antique heirlooms, inviting colors and thoughtful details. Chadwick says his home is perfect for him — not too big, not too small.
“The entire layout is just so graceful,” he said. “I can entertain small groups. I can entertain large groups — about 20 or 25 people — and now with the new rear garden, I can have a lot of people over for cocktails or cookouts or whatever.”
Chadwick first moved into the Heritage Hills neighborhood as a young adult, after graduating from the University of Oklahoma, and has remained strongly connected to the area ever since. He and his partner lived in a large home on 18th Street, which Chadwick owned, for the next 25 years. In 10, he purchased a two-family dwelling on 21st Street as an investment, with dreams of retiring to the upstairs apartment someday.
“Eighteenth Street was kind of a big operation because there was a pool and a cabana and all of that — and I knew then that when I was ready to retire, I didn’t want to run that big of an operation,” Chadwick recalled.
The home on 21st Street is constructed of native red brick. The oversized front gable distinguishes it from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, as does the second-story veranda that wraps around to the east side of the structure. Broad soffits protecting the home from the summer sun pay homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style architecture, while symmetrically placed windows allow for maximum cross ventilation.
Interior design opportunities moved Chadwick to New York City, but he maintained another home and his rental property on 21st Street while living out-of-state, and he never forgot about his plans to move back to Oklahoma. If anything, his time away only solidified his retirement plans.
“When I left for New York, people cautioned me over and over, ‘You’re going to hate living in an apartment. You’re just going to hate it after having a big house.’ Well, I loved every minute,” Chadwick said. “I have become accustomed to having somebody live close to me — and I like it, because I’m alone and, in case something happens, there’s somebody there. So this just fills the bill.”
Chadwick retired and moved into the Heritage Hills apartment in 2020, coming full circle. He thoroughly enjoyed designing the space for himself — adding crown moldings, renovating the kitchen and furnishing the space with family treasures and favorite finds from his 50 years of traveling the world.
“I think the interiors lean towards traditional without, I hope, being stuffy,” he said.
When the weather is pleasant, Chadwick can be found on the veranda or in the garden. He has given special attention to the grounds, partnering with talented professionals along the way. Phillip Patterson of Heritage Landscaping created a perennial garden in the front, boasting blooms from spring to frost. The rear garden — a new addition, featuring flagstone patios and croquet and badminton courts — was designed by John Fluitt Landscape Design to match the historical integrity of the home.
With a great appreciation for the neighborhood, Chadwick will showcase his home and gardens during the Heritage Hills Home Tour in October.
“To own an antique home is a privilege that few people are afforded,” he said. “I would never live anywhere in Oklahoma City but Heritage Hills. It is the magnificent centerpiece of our city and must be preserved at all costs.”
Heritage Hills Historic Home Tour
Step inside John Chadwick’s home, and many more, during the Heritage Hills Historic Home Tour, Oct. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Oct. 22 from 12 to 4 p.m. The self-guided walking tour highlights historic residences, and features food and drink as well. Proceeds will benefit historic preservation and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. In addition, event planners will team up with Mercedes Benz to shuttle people to and from the Midtown Walkabout on Oct. 21, encouraging participation in both events. Details and tickets are available at heritagehills.org.