When they want to escape the mayhem of city life in Chicago, Diane Pascal and Thomas Richie retreat to their low-profile getaway in Hennepin, Illinois, a town where agriculture and ecology are still a part of the locals’ common knowledge.

In the warm interior of the X House in Hennepin, Illinois, Diane Pascal and Thomas Richie enjoy the view from their boiled-wool Ligne Roset couch in the main living area, where wood paneling on the ceiling and walls mirrors the topography of the landscape. A gauzy green curtain adds a moment of color to the scheme.

New Grass Roots

With its corrugated-aluminum exterior, X House in Hennepin, Illinois, was built to resemble rural silos. The inside, however, features rich wood paneling and spare furnishings. From floor-to-ceiling windows, the residents have a view of the surrounding grassland.

A Saarinen dining table and Tulip chairs for Knoll sit in the front of the living/dining room, with a wide view to the prairie on the other side of the house.

The wooden doors in the living room practically vanish when closed. Sliding them open reveals modern bedroom suites in a lighter, brighter palette.

The kitchen was left open so Pascal and Richie wouldn’t be cut off from guests while they cook during dinner parties. The slick-surfaced cooking area contrasts with the more textured and rustic appearance of the main living space.

A close-up of the sliding door track shows the industrial detail of the recessed hardware.

In the kitchen, compact fluorescent lightbulbs affixed to the ceiling are a simple solution.

UrbanLab designed the circuit board–like lighting fixtures in the living area.

In the bathroom, perforated-metal screens create a pointillist perspective on the landscape.

The front deck, invisible from the road, is an extension of the wood paneling in the main living space.

A small room in the guest wing doubles as a lounge and studio, with a table designed by Richie and a Case Study daybed from Modernica.

In the closet stick-like wall hooks continue the rural motif.

In the master bedroom, the same perforated material that was used in the bathroom gives a sense of sunlight filtering through leaves.

From the simple, pared-down bedroom, a sliding door reveals the wood-paneled living area, where bright colors and varied textures rule.

In the main room, a Saarinen dining table is surrounded by four Tulip chairs, positioned to provide a mealtime panorama of the woods beyond the house.

The design for the exterior of the house keeps things super simple—a small deck bridges the door with the grassy meadow, but allows the meadow itself to be the focus of the home's outdoor space.

From the road, it could be easy to mistake this modern hideaway for a typical farm shed. At sundown, light gleams off the metal exterior, glowing amid lengthening shadows.

Pascal poses on the threshold of the living room, which can be closed off with a translucent pocket door, yet still take advantage of the light that pours in from all sides.


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