Good Bones: Prairie

If you need one word to sum up Prairie style, go with “Sturdy.” Prairie style is a bold, masculine American style born out of the Midwest and represents a dramatic departure from other nostalgic, European styles.

Picture an expansive view of the gentle, yet majestic landscape of the Midwest prairies broken up only by the occasional tree or small creek. This gives you a sense of the inspiration for this aesthetic, an extension of the land that it is built on. The style is characterized by its strong horizontal lines, broad overhangs and low slung roofs punctuated by tall vertical windows, piers and chimneys.

The style is best expressed in masonry – which further reinforces its sturdy nature and strong horizontal lines. This can either be brick or a ledgestone stone profile. If siding is used in conjunction with masonry, consider a narrow profile like triple three. An all siding solution would include a wider profile in a dark color at the base of the home with a lighter, narrow profile at the top.

I love Shadow Ledgestone or Truestack stone profiles to emphasize the horizontal lines while reminding us of the rugged terrain occasionally found in those open plains.

And don’t forget the windows! Tall casements in warm tones are the perfect complement and contrast to the horizontal lines of the style. Of course, prairie style mullions are essential to complete the look.

As far as colors go, think again about the prairies of the Midwest which change with the seasons, giving you a variety to choose from. Olive tones for the spring: Mediterranean Palm paired with Sandy Tan. Light brown for the summer: Stone Mountain Clay with Sedona Red. Darker browns for the fall: Teak and Sagebrook.

The prairie style maintains its relationship with the horizontal plane through its rich, earthy colors that appear to rise from the ground.

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