Prairie House
Primary Projects + Croft



A live-work passive 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 house + photography studio in rural Maine with straw wall panels from Croft, one of our favorite collaborators. 

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 2022.” 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, Luis Barragan’s stairs, to name a few.




The relationship between the garage & the house helps to scale the surrounding prairie





The screened-in porch (right) provides a respite from Maine’s summer bugs!
The garage (left) received the same design consideration as the house and has its own covered porch




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.



Client

Private

Timeline

2021-

Status

In Construction

Location

Hiram, Maine

Services

Architecture
Interior Design

Credits

Croft, Collaborator & Straw Panel Provider