A mid-century marvel


1950s house causes style sensation, carries on K-Stater’s legacy

Building Foundation

In America’s heartland lies a hidden gem that not only captures the essence of mid-century architecture but also serves as an inspiring symbol of philanthropy. When the house went up for sale last year, its off-the-charts style made it the house that hipsters hoped for.

Nestled in Salina, Kansas, this unique home is a not only a testament to the power of design but also to the generosity of Bob and Maryellen Batt.

One of a kind

The dwelling, a model of open spaces and exemplary color palettes, was constructed in 1958 by Robert “Bob” Batt after he graduated from K-State in 1951 with a degree in architecture. The house made news in the local paper as “They really cut corners in this house.”

“Both the design of the Batt home and the impact of the Batt scholarship are enduring examples of creativity and passion, said Darci Cain, senior director of gift planning.   

“A brilliant mind combined with the guidance of K-State’s faculty launched an exceptional career.  The fruits of that education – the home and the gift it provides – will benefit future generations of architecture students.  That’s the definition of an enduring legacy.”  

In their will, the Batts gifted the proceeds from the sale of their home to the Department of Architecture in K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design.

A viral sensation

“The first time I went in it, it literally took my breath away,” says listing agent Mike Payne, with SalinaHomes.com.

“It was almost sensory overload,” adds Payne. “Literally, in my mind, I could imagine a Sinatra song playing and I should be here with a martini in my hand and wearing a skinny tie. It just took me back many, many years.”

During the selling process, the home went viral on TikTok. Houses That Are Cool, a TikTok page focused on interesting real estate listings, featured the house in a video with the caption: “Can we get a round of applause for the kitchen?!”

After just two weeks on the market, the perfectly preserved property had soared to the No. 1 spot among the most popular home listings on Realtor.com®.

Its popularity fueled interest in the house from around the world, with potential buyers Facetiming with Payne or even flying in to see it in person. (Click here to see more photos of the house.)

Investing in future architects

After six offers, one lucky buyer became the new owner. Its sale supports future architects, giving back to the program that launched Bob’s career.

 “The friends and family of Robert and Maryellen Batt are grateful for the opportunities the Department of Architecture provides, and they hope this gift will continue to make a lasting impact on the college,” said Jim Angell from Kennedy Berkley Attorneys at Law, the Robert and Maryellen Batt Trust attorney.

As the Batt house demonstrates, there are many ways to support K-State. To learn more about including the university in your estate plans, visit KSU Foundation’s gift planning team.

Written by Lilly Majors

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Damon Fairchild

Damon Fairchild Senior Director of Development - Architecture, Planning and Design