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Revisiting a Modern Prairie Home

front view of a modern prairie home

BDG has been documenting the design and building process of a Boston-area residence that features a contemporary twist on traditional Prairie-style architecture. Dubbed “Modern Prairie,” the project was realized by architecture firm Slocum Hall Design Group, Concept Building, and interiors firm Briar Design. No detail was too small—especially when it came to selecting materials and creating ambiance. Two companies whose products and expertise made a world of difference to the final product are Commonwealth Fireplace and Natural Stone Wall Solutions.

open floor plan of modern house with a fireplace in the middle

Natural materials are a key element of prairie-style architecture, so the client enlisted Natural Stone Wall Solutions to provide the same Chesterfield granite for everything from the stone facade to the retaining walls to the interior fireplace surrounds. To maintain the same aesthetic throughout the property, the company worked with the quarry to provide a custom, thicker-than-normal granite veneer to sheath the fireplace surrounds and the exterior. But the most impressive piece of the stone puzzle might just be the stone walls on the property, which were constructed by employing a modular system of prebuilt sections that were joined and on site. “The traditional way of building stone walls is a centuries old art form, but can sometimes be a messy and costly process. We provide an option for those who want the old world beauty and durability of natural stone with modern installation technology, cleaner sites and lower pricing,” explains Mariya Guinther, co-founder and COO of Natural Stone Wall Solutions. “We’re using the same skilled stone masons to build these modular walls, but the install process takes hours instead of days. We also take care of the engineering requirements, making it easier for the architect, landscape architect, and contractor to incorporate the specs into their documents.”    

modern kitchen

Inside the “Modern Prairie” project, the granite was the perfect complement to high-end fireplaces from Commonwealth Fireplace, which specializes in gas and electric fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves, fire pits, and grills. A centrally located dual-sided direct-vent gas fireplace commands attention thanks to its floor-to-ceiling height. “This fireplace by Ortal is a top-quality fireplace with a clean, contemporary design,” notes Commonwealth Fireplace owner Bruce Keltie. In the spa room, the company installed Dimplex’s Opti-Myst unit, an electric fireplace that uses water vapor instead of gas to create the illusion of flames and smoke. “It has the appeal of a fireplace without the heat, which is a perfect solution for a room like this,” says Keltie. “The technology for this type of fireplace system has improved a lot over the past few years, and I expect it to grow in popularity. We represent a wide range of products, so we have something for every client and budget.”

indoor swimming pool and fireplace

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