A Truly American-Style of Architecture

Prairie-style design, which came of age around the turn of the 20th century, is one of the few architectural styles that didn’t originate in Europe. This uniquely American school of design originated in the Midwest and developed as an offshoot of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Prairie-style design, which came of age around the turn of the 20th century, is one of the few architectural styles that didn’t originate in Europe. This uniquely American school of design originated in the Midwest and developed as an offshoot of the Arts and Crafts movement. It was brought to fame by its most renowned master: Frank Lloyd Wright. One of Wright’s students, Midland’s own Alden B. Dow, then brought Prairie-style design to the Great Lakes Bay Region, designing more than 70 residences and dozens of churches, schools, and commercial buildings from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Original Prairie-style homes, as the name suggests, were designed to blend in with the expansive plains of the Midwestern landscape. The typical Prairie-style house features strong, sweeping horizontal lines, earthy materials, and broad, open-concept floor plans. Massive masonry piers and chimneys, wide porches, and low-pitched, hipped roofs with overhanging eaves and ribbon-like transom windows are other common features of this school of design. The homes, which may be single or multiple stories, have the appearance of rising from the earth. On the interior, the open layouts and airy rooms give the homes a contemporary appeal, making them a popular choice for today’s buyers.

Greystone Homes set out to create a unique take on Prairie-style design for its clients, to best fit the family’s expansive meadow-like lot, which backs up to a woods. The single-story home features a low-slung hipped roof, stacked stone pillars, an outdoor fireplace, and transom widows. Its dark brown cement board siding provides the house with an extremely durable and low-maintenance exterior.

“Cement board siding can stand up to just about anything nature can dish out—heat, cold, wind, etc.,” says Greystone Homes owner Kelly Wall. “And unlike some other types of siding, cement board can be repainted if the homeowners want a change in the future.”

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