Prairie Modern

Designed by David O’Brien Wagner

with Project Architect Marcelo Valdes

The owners asked if there was a way to make their humble 1956 single-story brick ranch house more appealing, both inside and outside. SALA worked with the couple’s ideas of Arts and Crafts detailing and Prairie Style architecture to enhance the existing long lines and low hip roof of the house.

Extended roof eaves draw out the graceful, horizontal nature of the home, while a new entry porch reaches out to the street as a welcoming gesture to friends and neighbors. A second-floor master bedroom pops up above the main floor like a delicate Japanese teahouse, and its matching roofline and horizontal beams reinforce the natural serenity of the home.

The interior of the main level was transformed from a series of small rooms into a singular open flow of space. Wood trim, run in horizontal bands above the windows and doors, and custom-designed light fixtures further unify the interior of the home. A generous use of casement windows lets in daylight and air, while visually extending each space out into the landscape.

Built-in shelves in the living room evoke a Japanese tansu-style chest as they give way to an elegant stairway that rises to the master bedroom above. Here, a vaulted wood ceiling floats above the room and is encircled with glass windows, creating a light-filled yet private retreat.

Green attributes:
Ground-source geo-thermal heating and cooling system
New energy-efficient windows throughout
Closed-cell spray-foam insulation upgraded throughout home
Use of durable and renewable wood resources for exterior and interior finishes
Incorporates existing structure of old home instead of a tear-down
Natural ventilation to reduce air-conditioning needs
Landscaping with drought-resistant and native species
Construction by Mike Otto Construction.

Photographs by Troy Thies

Homes By Architects Tour, 2009
Remodeler’s Showcase, 2009