Many a technicality has come between a homeowner’s dream and its execution, and such was the case for the original owners of this home: they wanted modern, but in their Laguna Hills location, the homeowners’ association wouldn’t allow purely modern style. Enter Prairie Modern, as realized by Whipple Russell Architects. Not purely Prairie and not ultra-modern, the house blends natural materials — wood, stone, plaster, brick — with clean lines and trademark Prairie long eaves. Authentic Prairie style also features open plan…precisely what many homeowners place at the top of their “want” list nowadays. The original owners, who were artisans, built a 4 x 4 plan grid from the ground floor to the top floor, with cherry cabinetry and wood joinery, and even found clever ways to camouflage garages with creative use of landscaping.
The new owners, from Montenegro, wanted to capture the feel of their native land and sea, and thus turned their attention from the wide-open interior spaces to the space outdoors, with a compelling result. An infinity pool seems to drop directly into the ravines and hills beyond it; natural stone walkways wend between raised beds of lush greenery and plantings, which evoke almost a tropical feel. A touch of whimsy in statuary, coupled with unbroken open yard space and outdoor furniture that mimics the upholstery of sitting areas just the other side of walls of glass — another Prairie trademark — all work together to make this house’s outdoors and indoors one harmonious, restful combination. Natural materials, elegant pool, prairie influences — it’s the realization of yet another dream from Whipple Russell.