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Contemporary Craftsman

Regional Award Winner KDC 2006-2007

In Houston, outdoor lovers build a Prairie-Style home with a kitchen that embraces a variety of materials, creatively used.

Banding and tracking birds, hunting and fishing with their Springer Spaniel, and hosting family and friends from around the country are what prompted a couple who summers in Montana to build a Prairie-style home in Houston's trendy West University neighborhood. They asked designer Marlys Tokerud, who is fond of craft traditions herself, to design their entire home to honor the sensibilities of that most famous Prairie Style devotee, architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Tokerud responded by tweaking floor plans and focusing on an honest use of mixed raw materials to create an Arts and Crafts vibe with a contemporary edge. Since the kitchen is visible from the entry of the home, Tokerud ensured visual flow by carrying through Balsatina flooring and also used it on countertops. Woodwork trim in natural walnut and ebonized mahogany were also carried through. Then she layered on uniqueness. "Mixing materials helped achieve the look here," says Tokerud, citing the diamond-finish stainless top of the large island, an entire wall of metallic pewter glass tile, and a leather-topped desk and table. Textured glass cabinet fronts echo the grid pattern of the backsplash tile, and thick wood display shelves showcase handcraft treasures acquired during a lifetime of travel.

One of the more unusual materials — stained glass — was inspired because of limited wall space for artwork. The custom glass transom windows and doors leading to the pantry and a hallway near the study create architectural art. Natural walnut cabinetry extends over the Sub-Zero side-by-side refrigerator freezer, and appliance garages keep small appliances and a mini cocktail bar within easy reach. "Everything here

speaks for itself," says Tokerud. "The Sub-Zero refrigerator and wine fridge and Wolf range, oven, microwave and warming drawer share a similar look in hardware, finish, and proportion that worked well in the kitchen, and they wanted the best — the whole house was built that way."

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