Apr 25, 2022 - News

Inside The Tower: Jack Harich's lifelong home project

A man stands with his arms crossed in front of a large custom built home with cedar siding and marble walls

Jack Harich started building the home in 1975. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

High on a hill in Morningside, Jack Harich has spent nearly 50 years quietly and carefully building — mostly by himself, sometimes with friends — The Tower, the house of his dreams.

  • A mix of Swiss chalet and medieval castle with a pinch of Tim Burton fairy tale, the more than 2,000-square-foot home has been a "design-as-you-go, pay-as-you-go" labor of love for Harich and his wife, Martha.

Details: Harich, a sustainability researcher who's also worked as a furniture maker and software engineer, bought the one-third acre lot in 1973 and started construction in 1975 with a round stone tower.

  • He worked outward, creating the lower floor surrounded by walls made from 95 tons of Cherokee marble. Then came a grand hall on the upper level with arched ceilings and flooded with light from windows.

The cedar siding is used on seaside houses in New England and is rot resistant, Harich says.

  • All the flashing and many of the eaves are copper sheet and have turned green, brown and slightly purple over time.

The big picture: Harich, who these days spends most of his time working and spending the night in The Tower, set out to create a home that was "perpetually inspiring to live in."

A photo looking up at a large medieval-like ceiling with flags
One year, the Harich family held a medieval-style banquet in the grand upstairs space. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A photo of a man showing the contrast on copper shingles after they’ve been exposed to the elements
Harich uses copper sheets partly because their colors change over time. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A man looks outside a large intricate window
Harich designed and constructed every detail in the house. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A view through a circular porch opening into a green and wooded front yard
The house is near a busy street but feels deep in the woods. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A photo of intricate woodwork in the inside of a house
Harich estimates he’s bought about 12,000 feet of white pine and used all but 1,000 feet of it. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
A man gestures toward his workshop in a large light-filled room with medieval ceilings
Once the upstairs is finished, Harich will move the large table saw and other equipment to his workshop downstairs. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

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