Dr. John H. Adair was introduced to Purcell and Elmslie by Charles Buxton, whose own Purcell and Elmslie-designed house was a few blocks away. The original proposal was for one of their traditional low-slung houses, but Adair found the proposed house to be too expensive. Purcell decided to raise the roof, later saying, "One can always see how I was always yearning for buildings with tall steep roofs and turned to that form whenever the occasion offered." The house has some resemblance to the Edward R. Hills House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, with three stories, stepped-back hipped roofs, and bedrooms in the attic. The interior features generously-sized rooms with built-in furnishing, art glass, and decorations in Elmslie's diamond motif. The fireplace has a semicircular opening with blue and gold glass mosaic accents, inspired by the National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna nearby.