In harmony with nature
Blue skies and endless prairie views. With the hustle and bustle of our digital world, isn’t it refreshing to relax and take a moment to peer out your windows into nature?
Take inspiration from White Oaks Savanna. Highlighted on The American Institute of Architects’ website, the community is architecturally master-planned and designed to preserve and embrace the lush landscape and native rolling prairie.
The first completed residence in White Oaks Savanna is the “Eye-Land” Home. The homeowners’ six-year-old daughter named it for the stunning 360-degree views.
While the home is reminiscent of modern farmhouse, the homeowners didn’t want the typical white cladding exterior with black trim. Instead, architect Christopher Strom opted for a grayscale appearance, combining the black-framed windows with two shades of dark-gray cladding.
Despite its 5,200-square-foot size, the home nestles into the landscape as it slopes down to a wetland and pond. The architect focused on simple ingredients: proportion, color, and the scale of the windows.
From a distance the attached garage is camouflaged as part of the living space, with a gable end and the home’s largest window facing the street. The 4.5-foot wide by 7-foot tall Andersen® E-Series window spans into the attic space, helping to reduce the visual bulk of the garage.
The garage window and the window above the nearby entryway stand out for their light-blue frames. “We didn’t want to use it everywhere but having those strategic pops of color was a way to add some interest without additional cost,” Strom said.
In designing the windows and layout, the architect sought to balance interior room usage with the outside scale. “On a house defined by its volume rather than architectural accessories and details, the windows break up the mass and define positive and negative space on the house,” he said.
“For example, the window over the front door is also large and goes into a nursery,” Strom continued. “We thought that that window was important to be really well proportioned for the front gable and make the front entry gable more important. It was worth it despite that it was just for the nursery.”
Scale was critical in the dining room, as well, which bumps out into the wetland at the rear of the home and offers sweeping views across the prairie. Its form breaks from the rest of the house, with a flat roof and windows from corner to corner.
To further preserve the budget, Strom combined premium aluminum-clad wood E-Series windows for the first floor and large second-floor windows with 400 Series vinyl-clad wood windows for smaller and less prominent second-story units.