In its previous life this boldly colored and expressive house spent its time as a straightforward early fifties ranch. Nicely situated on a half-acre lot, the house is located on Mississippi River Boulevard just up the bluff from the Mississippi River. The project was born from the owners’ desire to simplify their lives; making a move from a large traditional residence to a more moderately sized, yet spacious, contemporary home.
The owner’s contemporary art collection, mostly consisting of photography, proved to be the backbone for many of the design decisions including the all white interior walls and minimal expression of interior trim. However, this house is foremost a home for a family of five who spend their lives comfortably surrounded by the art they admire. It is not a cold exhibition hall for contemporary photographs. While the photography collection adds splashes of color to the spaces, ample sunlight and naturally finished materials such as the vertical grain fir add warmth to the home.
Spatially, the openings between rooms were widened and their headers removed to create an open, but organized floor plan of connected living areas. The living room, previously disconnected from the backyard view, was opened up by the installation of a twenty-foot long sliding exterior door and the removal of walls on either side of the fireplace.
With its bold trim, and varied material palette, the exterior is also expressive of the owners’ interest in contemporary art. Even though the Art Ranch displays a striking contrast against the surrounding homes, it embraces the existing qualities of its site and orientation. The addition of the new second floor master suite, for example, respects the scale of neighboring residences, and allows for a 180-degree view of the Mississippi River.