"What is Prairie Style?"

Prairie style is one of the major American styles that originated in the Chicago area in 1893 with the design of the Winslow House in River Forest. Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect instrumental in this creative movement and with a few of his contemporaries founded the ‘Praire School”. Breaking away from Classical and Victorian architecture which were prevalent at the time, this style emphasized the horizontal lines of the Midwest landscape, with accented horizontal trims on siding, porch and balcony railings, horizontal siding and brick coursing. The roof design is often the most identifiable characteristic which include sheltering cottage roof forms with large overhangs. Many of the home plans featured ornate stained glass casement windows, decorative lighting screens, and custom rugs and cabinetry. A large brick fireplace dominated the floor plan and offered visual weight to the overall scheme. This style remained very popular, being copied by pattern books until the end of the First World War, when it declined in popularity. Notable examples include the Robie house, Darwin Martin Complex and the Heurtley House.

Prairie Home Plans

Prairie home plans typically feature low cottage roofs with large sheltering overhangs. The flat landscape of the Midwest US is referenced in prairie home plans with enhanced horizontal lines of trims, porch and balcony railings, horizontal siding and brick coursing. Additional custom touches in these home plans may include stained glass windows, and custom light fixtures, millwork and rugs. Massive brick fireplaces are the main focus of prairie home plans with the vertical massive chimneys providing contrast to the horizontal composition.

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