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October 8, 2012

A fresh approach to the region’s rural vernacular architecture

Outdoor view of modern farmhouse with metal roof

The hills and farmland around Springfield, Missouri, shelter a smattering of architectural styles, from ranch houses to split-levels to latter-day Tudors. But the most enduring style is the farmhouse, which goes something like this: white clapboard, small dormer windows, two stories, porch. “They’re all over the Midwest,” says architect Matthew Hufft. The Porch House was inspired by the farmhouse style, but twisted it a little. “I was taking cues from something traditional,” Hufft says, “but translated it into something more modern.” In his interpretation, the white clapboard stayed and a typical farmhouse roof, done in metal, outlines the home’s shape. But the gabled dormers are exaggerated, the porch has lost its railings and pillars, and the double-hung win- dows are oversized. Inside, high ceilings, sliding glass doors, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide an airy, open atmosphere.

Modern porch walkway with square stepping stones

MODERN TAKE ON A TRADITIONAL FARMHOUSE IN MISSOURI

Thanks to Matthew Hufft, their envelope-pushing architect and longtime friend, Hannah and Paul Catlett have a new home in southwestern Missouri that’s a fresh, unconventional take on the traditional farmhouse. The homeowners call the house Porch House after it's majestic wraparound porch.

photos by: Joe Pugliese

“People are afraid to push it too far in the modern realm in the Midwest,” Hufft says. But that’s changing. Kenson Goff, who built the Catlett house three years ago, has since built or renovated six more modernist houses in the Springfield area. “There’s a new generation coming of age,” Hufft says. “They’re sick of the same old, same old.”

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