Monday, March 4, 2013

Prairie Style Home Design

Prairie Style homes, like this one by Frank Lloyd Wright, are horizontal with deep eaves.

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America's most well known architects, is widely credited with creating Prairie Style home design in the early 20th century. As a young man in Chicago, Wright's goal was to design buildings that were organic and blended with nature. The Prairie Style is characterized by strong horizontal lines, cantilevers and large overhanging eaves. Building interiors were cozy and informal, echoing the welcoming spirit of America's Midwest. Does this Spark an idea?


In Prairie Style design, long horizontal lines predominate. A Prairie structure is often longer than it is tall, and windows, masonry and stucco are used to accentuate the linear design. Roofs are pitched low to blend with the flat prairie and the eaves offer deep overhanging spaces. On the inside, Prairie homes often revolve around a center hearth. Geometric and abstract shapes are also a part of a Prairie home's interior design. Earth-toned colors are frequently used both on the interior and exterior of these homes, mimicking shades found in nature.

Prairie Style Today

Prairie Style homes remain popular today because of their emphasis on using sustainable materials and organic design. To create this style, design a light, airy space that blends with its environment. Use skylights to bring natural light into the dwelling. Prairie style homes often contain an open common room with no hallway on the first floor. Following a modular grid floor plan and using only right angles also helps to create a sense of Prairie style. Stained or art glass windows are another key to this design and continue to be popular. Interior wood accents, wooden columns and hardwood floors complete this style.

Design Tips

Prairie style homes use colors found in nature such as greens, tans, browns and rusts. Wood tones of medium or dark brown are utilized throughout Prairie homes. Using horizontal bands of wood on the interior walls is also a key Prairie design feature. Walls can be skim coated with a rough or sand-textured plaster to emphasize this style's organic nature. Consider using a paint glaze or suede technique for the walls to give them additional texture and depth. Types of commonly used woods include oak, birch and maple but any native species would fit into the Prairie idea of using sustainable materials. Stencils with Prairie designs can be used, particularly to fill the space between windows and the ceiling. Such stencils are often inspired by nature or contain geometric patterns.

Tags: Prairie Style, Prairie style, this style, found nature, Frank Lloyd, Frank Lloyd Wright