The design parti was to create a simple footprint resulting in a gabled, readily recognized farmhouse form from the street. To complete this farmhouse story, the double-gable side massing was to suggest that this was a later addition as often occurs in farm structures. It was important to make this home a design “of its time” and to not recreate the past. Therefore, the exterior is stripped of any ornamental detail and is clean and streamlined in its execution, all the while maintaining the nostalgia of the Midwest Americana idea. The “addition” mass is a contemporary subtle gesture, void of corner and window trim, along with no window muntins or grilles. The building envelope (exterior walls and roof) is constructed entirely of SIPS (structurally insulated panel system) panels, making it extremely energy-efficient. Besides the energy savings and added acoustic value from the SIPS, the entire building shell was erected and completed in three days.
The homeowner is a master gardener, and a direct visual connection to the backyard, gardens, garden shed, and pergola is an integral component of the design. The back of the home is more articulated, with glazing walls, and a vertical chimney element as the only real solid in this glass façade. The inside-outside concept incorporates a modern sculptural balcony and covered patio beneath as direct links to nature. The home is entered from the street-facing front porch with an unexpected side entry. Once inside the home, you are greeted in the entry hall that immediately exposes a three-story stairwell incorporating a glass wall running the entire height. This first impression informs all visitors that this is not an old farmhouse. It was a deliberate juxtaposition to create an extremely contemporary and modern interior element as the unexpected design moment for this dwelling. The plans on all floors are then organized around a central circulation with the glassed-in stair as the centerpiece of this simple design move. The SIPS panels allowed for free-span vaulted ceilings on the entire second floor. The owner’s studio loft on the second floor is then open to the “eat-in farm kitchen” below.
This 2,400-square-foot “urban farmhouse” has the street presence of an American farmhouse while the interior provides the feel of an urban city loft, providing the best of both worlds for this international homeowner. The home’s clear definition of exterior forms, interior circulation, and interplay of volumes and space make it a jewel of a residence on an urban-infill small-town lot. The experience of this new modern home, whether inside or outside, is the ideal place to enjoy the American dream.
Photography by: Lesle Lane | Studio 13 Advertising Photography