Attributed to the firm of Bentley & Hausle, the house is a significant example of Midwestern Prairie School architecture.
The previous owners, here for 40 years, had taken good care of it, but the interior was dated in both appearance and function. In main rooms, floors were refinished and woodwork refreshed.
The kitchen, however, blandly remodeled in the 1980s and with failing surfaces, needed a redo. Upstairs, five tiny bedrooms shared just one bath.
“We wanted upgrades, but we needed designers with a historic-preservation ethic,” say homeowners Susan Smith and Brian Lewis.
The couple had taken an architects’-homes house tour years ago, where they discovered David Heide Design Studio; “we’ve followed the firm’s published work ever since,” Susan says. “Our first thought was to call them.”
Although they considered an addition with a new back entry, budget had them keeping the original layout of the house. The Heide design gained space for the kitchen by reconfiguring the powder room behind it, allowing for a built-in refrigerator that no longer juts into the room. Wall ovens were eliminated, and a new peninsula provides storage and counter space.
The kitchen is contemporary, but Heide’s team explained that they would base its design on restoration principles. Details are taken from this house and from Prairie houses of the same era. The original architects had designed lighting with the square detail seen in the art-glass windows; the Heide Studio did the same now. Lightworks fabricated the fixtures, resulting in custom work that didn’t cost any more than comparable off-the-shelf lighting.
Upstairs, three tiny rooms became a new master suite: two bedrooms were absorbed into one large bedroom, and the third became a new bathroom. There’s also a guest room and a home office. The white bathrooms with Prairie details are right for the house and have timeless appeal.
“We really enjoyed the give-and-take with the Heide team,” the couple says. A previous Heide-designed kitchen inspired this kitchen’s slate-mosaic flooring, granite, and red birch for cabinets. They also credit general contractor Tim Lemke: “ He helped us identify where we could manage costs without compromising integrity,” says Brian Lewis.