When a husband and wife sought to retire from their antiques business in Chicago, they decided to purchase 19 acres of rolling prairie in southeastern Wisconsin, near the city of Lake Geneva. The wife had been a landscape designer in a previous career, and she sought to rehabilitate the acreage to its native state.
The home would be connected to the landscape as well. "Their dream was to build a one-story house that was emerging out of the crest of this prairie," says architect Jeff Klymson of Collective Office—the firm that guided the couple through the process of designing and building their new home.
The owners wanted the primary living spaces allotted over one level, to make the home more conducive to aging in place. "This was a really beautiful site, and it didn't want to have a monster building," says Klymson. To avoid that, and to "minimize the gesture on the site," the firm designed three connected pitched-roof volumes, each of which contains a key component of the floor plan. The middle section hosts the living, dining, and kitchen areas, with the bedroom wing to one side and a garage/screened porch opposite.
The interiors are modern and minimal, with wide-plank maple floors, white walls, and windows filled with prairie views. It was important to the clients that the home feel eminently "human" and livable, without an abundance of manufactured finishes. To that end, the architects opted for a 45-degree pitched roof with a soft curve where the sloped ceiling and wall meet so as to avoid "hard geometries." The finishes—like the Cor-Ten steel—are durable, but will reveal patina over time.
Builder: Scherrer Construction
Structural Engineer: Louis Shell Structures
Landscape Design: Collective Office
Lighting Design: Collective Office
Interior Design: Collective Office
Cabinetry: Burmeister Woodwork