written by:
photos by:
October 8, 2012
Originally published in American Modern
as
A Little Bit Country

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.

Young couple sitting on their wooden front porch with steps
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.
Photo by 
1 / 16
Extended outdoor view of modern house with wraparound porch
“They were really pushing for a traditional farmhouse,” explains architect Matthew Hufft, of the Kansas City–based firm Hufft Projects. “But through the design process, they got more and more excited about modern.”
Photo by 
2 / 16
Modern wraparound wooden porch with long steps
Link Catlett and Butters, the dog, stroll alongside their home’s namesake wraparound porch, made of Brazilian ipe. Rolling slatted doors screen the living room windows, providing shade on sunny days.
Photo by 
3 / 16
Modern master bedroom hallway with floor-to-ceiling windows
The hallway leading to the master bedroom is lined with an assortment of framed photos of family and friends and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the verdant James River Valley.
Photo by 
4 / 16
Modern barnhouse with carport and driveway
Behind the main house is the barn, where Paul builds furniture and works on cars
Photo by 
5 / 16
Modern bar area with wooden countertop and angled roof
Inside, Paul often dispenses whiskey to friends from behind the rustic bar.
Photo by 
6 / 16
Modern master bedroom with custom-built walnut bed and nightstands
He built the walnut bed and nightstands in the master bedroom with the help of Hannah’s two brothers. One of his clients at his hair salon gave him the American flag; the bedside lights are Tolomeo classic wall lamps by Artemide. The bed linens are from Inhabit. A sliding barn door rolls sideways to reveal the bathroom.
Photo by 
7 / 16
Modern family gathering at the outdoor fire pit
Though the fire pit was “kind of an after-thought,” says Hannah, the family uses it year-round. “In the spring and fall, it warms you up on cool nights, and in the summer, it just adds ambience.”
Photo by 
8 / 16
Modern dining room with antler chandelier and custom table
Paul painted the antler chandelier in the dining room, purchased from a friend in Alaska, glossy black. The pulley, selected from Paul’s growing collection, is fully functional. The custom-built dining table is ringed by Folio Leather side chairs from Crate & Barrel.
Photo by 
9 / 16
Modern master bedroom with freestanding acrylic bathtub
The best view in the house may be from the freestanding Eaton acrylic bathtub off the master bedroom, which overlooks a neighboring pasture.
Photo by 
10 / 16
Outdoor pasture view
The view from the bathroom.
Photo by 
11 / 16
Modern family in their kitchen with Titan 1 Pendant lights
In the kitchen, Titan 1 Pendant lights illuminate the walnut-topped bar lined with LEM Piston stools, both from Design Within Reach.
Photo by 
12 / 16
Modern kids room with built-in shelves and Ducduc changing table
Built-in shelves and a changing table by Ducduc in Hawk’s room offer ample storage.
Photo by 
13 / 16
14 / 16
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

Photo by 
15 / 16
16 / 16
Young couple sitting on their wooden front porch with steps
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.
Project 
Porch House
Architect 

When Hannah and Paul Catlett first pulled up to a three-acre chunk of rolling hillside outside Springfield, Missouri, things didn’t look promising. A crumbling old ranch-style house stood caving in on itself, and the land didn’t seem like anything special, either. But when the Catletts saw the sweeping view of the Ozarks from the back door, everything changed. “We walked out and we had a euphoric feeling,” Paul remembers. “It was like: ‘Oh, my God. This is it.’” They closed on the property a week later, and in short order had the ranch house razed and its lumber sent off to an Amish community for chicken coops.

Extended outdoor view of modern house with wraparound porch
“They were really pushing for a traditional farmhouse,” explains architect Matthew Hufft, of the Kansas City–based firm Hufft Projects. “But through the design process, they got more and more excited about modern.”
Then the real transformation began. The couple initially planned to build a neotraditional farmhouse, which is standard fare in this corner of the world. But over the course of the year-and-a-half-long design process, their notions were tweaked, prodded, and coaxed into the minimalist incarnation they now call the Porch House—and home.

“They were really pushing for a traditional farmhouse,” explains architect Matthew Hufft, of the Kansas City–based firm Hufft Projects. “But through the design process, they got more and more excited about modern.”

The couple had some priorities at the outset. As local business owners—they run a hair salon in Springfield—the Catletts hoped to use both local tradespeople and local materials whenever possible. They wanted the house to be energy efficient. Most of all, they hoped to connect with the outdoors: to the tree-covered hills, the animals in the pasture next door, and the river valley to the south, where sometimes they see trains pushing through the nighttime fog. They wanted, in other words, the signature feature of a farmhouse: a big ol’ porch. But when Hufft suggested that the porch forgo the typical pillars, the Catletts balked.

Modern master bedroom hallway with floor-to-ceiling windows
The hallway leading to the master bedroom is lined with an assortment of framed photos of family and friends and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the verdant James River Valley.
“We fought on that,” Paul says. Hufft persuaded them, though, that pillars would only mar the view they loved—and he won. “Now that we have no posts, I’m so grateful,” Paul says. “It gives you the feeling of infinity, that you’re free.”

As their conversations continued, the Catletts found themselves losing other farmhouse features—multipaned windows, fake shutters—until they had a design calling for a stripped-down, 2,800-square- foot L-shaped structure, with a huge cantilevered overhang and a wide wraparound porch. In a nod to local resources, the fireplace mantel and the butcher- block counter in the kitchen were crafted from native walnut; local oak was used for the floors. Energy efficiency comes by way of geothermal heating, exterior louvered doors that keep out the blazing Missouri sun, and a roof overhang calculated to maximize winter light and minimize summer heat. “On a sunny 20-degree day in January, it’ll be 72 degrees in here,” Paul explains. “On a hot day, the air flowing through the space keeps it cool.”

That their ideas shifted, the couple says, had a lot to do with their relationship with Hufft. Paul and Matthew, both Springfield natives, have been best friends since age 17, which meant that the push and pull of the design process was totally open and honest, and Hufft was able to help the couple make a leap or two. “We could trust him,” Hannah says. “We knew that whatever he did was going to be smart; it was going to be correct.”

Modern family gathering at the outdoor fire pit
Though the fire pit was “kind of an after-thought,” says Hannah, the family uses it year-round. “In the spring and fall, it warms you up on cool nights, and in the summer, it just adds ambience.”
With the designs in hand, the Catletts sold their downtown loft and moved into a barn on their new property, living in a workshop that Paul transformed into a small apartment. (The barn animals were vacated to the previous owner’s new farm.) The couple were comfortably settled into their temporary quarters, and not in any massive hurry to finish their new house, when an urgent deadline arose. “The week we broke ground, I found out I was pregnant,” Hannah remembers. “We told the builder we wanted it done in nine months. I said: ‘I don’t want a baby Jesus in the barn.’” Nine months later, the house was complete and the Catletts, with baby Link, were a family of three. “He did it,” Hannah says, referring to builder Kenson Goff. “It was amazing.”

The process was unusually glitch free, the Catletts say, largely because they were organized about sourcing fixtures and did much of the shopping themselves, storing everything from faucets to floor tiles in the barn so items were ready when the builders needed them. They also leaned on neighbors and friends for materials and help—a perk of rural life. “That’s the thing about being in the country,” Paul says. “You can just call your neighbor. People are resourceful around here.”

Modern family in their kitchen with Titan 1 Pendant lights
In the kitchen, Titan 1 Pendant lights illuminate the walnut-topped bar lined with LEM Piston stools, both from Design Within Reach.
Now home to a fourth Catlett, nearly two-year-old Hawk, the family’s house and its sweep of porch always seem to draw people in. On a giant chalkboard in the hallway leading to their bedroom, the Catletts have hung dozens of pictures of family and friends, who often stop to admire the view. Impromptu gatherings come together in the barn, where Paul built a bar. (“It’s a good little party space,” he says.) The apartment where the couple lived during construction is now guest quarters, where friends who spend a bit too much time at the bar sometimes end up staying the night.

Though the house is sleekly modern—some visitors unaccustomed to contemporary architecture have said it looks like a spaceship—there are winks to old-time Americana throughout the property. Inside the barn, where Paul spends days off tinkering with tools, a 1972 Chevy pickup awaits restoration. It will be Link’s one day. An El Camino for Hawk is parked outside in the grass. A shotgun occasionally sits on the bar and is used to shoot unwanted nonnative sparrows, which scare away the bluebirds. An American flag stuck in an old milk can camps in the front hall opposite Texas longhorns mounted on the wall.

Ultimately, the Catletts say, they ended up with a real farmhouse, where everything exists for a reason and everything gets used. It’s a place where the family can embrace the best of countryside life, yet from a modern vantage point. “With all these glass walls, we can look out and see what our boys are destroying,” Paul jokes, with a hint of Missouri twang. “We have the best time out here.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016