Prairie House

A live-work carbon smart house in rural Maine made of straw

This project felt like good fortune architecture Mad Libs. A photographer, whose work we love, and her partner, who works in solar energy, asked us to design a modestly-sized, high-performance house & photography studio in rural Maine. 

The charge from the Client, and a quality we aim for in all our work, was to create something timeless. Their words: “We don’t want it to look like it was built in the early 2020s.” Challenge accepted!

The design was inspired by equal parts New England vernacular—simple gable & shed forms, cedar shakes, painted wood floors—and some of our favorite artists & architects: Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, Georgia O’Keefe & Louise Bourgeois’s apartments, Donald Judd’s studio spaces, and Luis Barragan’s stairs, to name a few.

Construction is under way!

The windows create a register of the spaces beyond. From the left: bathroom, stair, library (lower), & studio (upper)

Ground Floor Plan
From left to right:
  • Screened-In Porch: Cot-sized for summer napping
  • Living Room: With dining, kitchen, and large sliding doors to patio
  • Library: Convertible to an in-law bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Mudroom
  • Entry porch

The ground floor strikes a balance between flexibility and specificity

The large window on the landing and the transom into the library space brings northern light to the living space

The library is sized to be converted into a bedroom in the future, if need be. 
We recommend this approach to Clients because it allows for aging in place (or accomodating an older relative).

Second Floor Plan
From left to right:
  • Photography Studio: With Storage
  • Landing: With sitting area below skylight, and linen closet
  • Bathroom: With soaking tub & prairie views
  • Bedroom: With walk-in closet

The Client’s bedroom: the garage is visible from the window on the left

From the Client’s bedroom to the photography studio. Pocket doors were used for doors that’ll typically be left open.
The landing is made into a space of its own via a skylight and a bench.

The photography studio stretches the depth of the house, giving full expression to the gabled roof.






In Construction


Hiram, Maine


Interior Design



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