This house was built in Southern Illinois in farm country near the city of Effingham for a family of three and their many guests. They were previous restaurant clients for Firefly Grill, which turned out to be very successful, and so this house re-started the creative collaboration. They wanted a house that was to be different than others in the area, which is how their restaurant was and how they also saw themselves. It was also to be a family home on a day to day basis but also as a holiday destination for many others. Their primary aspiration was to have a spacious living-dining-kitchen space connected to a yard with a pool – and all with views of the trees and the sky. The rural site was cleared of the immediate trees with the surrounding ones kept to create a ‘room in the forest’ – where the light and colors change throughout the seasons.
The home is designed to be two ‘interlocked’ buildings that play off of each other functionally and geometrically – and only touch at one connecting hallway. The first building is the wood stained blue angular shaped one which contains the main spaces: the live-dine-cook space, three bedrooms, bathrooms, and the basement. The roof ascends in height as it goes from the master bedroom at one end to the living room at the other – both of which aim axially out to the forest. The living room end leads to a cantilevered deck that projects over a steep ravine as a counterpoint to the rest of the place which is essentially a plateau. The angle forms the semi-courtyard shaped yard that is south facing and focused around the pool. At its fold point on the outer is the entry, which establishes a portal to the front yard. The other ‘building’ is the three-story Corten ‘barn’ that is the garage with two floors above that include a work studio/guest house with its own loft above. The barn roof spans over the blue angle and then lands on columns at the yard, which creates a shaded veranda. The visual effect is like a linear bar piercing a hollow box.