Blog by Beebe Cline

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Breathtaking Prairie Retreat

A simple idea executed well can result in some of the most elegant and evocative compositions. Whether in architecture, fashion or even cuisine, inspired and creative restraint drives focused designs that don’t rely on superfluous adornments for their substance. Instead, every decision reinforces the central theme of a strong concept. For architect Matthew Hufft, a client’s natural interest in curves sparked the idea for her house, resulting in a home that accommodates its owners while revealing unique uses of the curve throughout.
This isn't a project that began with a name and obligated all design decisions to follow in its wake. In contrast, says Hufft, the design process is really what dictated the form and shape of the house, like a sculpture. What begins as a solid concept creates a project that neatly connects all features. Often, it is only after the design is completed that the theme clearly reveal itself to Hufft.
When Hufft was hired to the head the design of this house, the family had purchased this two-acre plot in the center of a 13-lot subdivision in Springfield, Mo. The home was designed to be inward focused, to accommodate future growth on all four sides. 
Ultimately, the clients decided to purchase the entire development and preserve the surrounding open space. While the house had already been designed, this left infinite possibilities for the landscape.

The landscape architecture of the Curved House starkly contrasts the hyper designed and customized nature of the architecture. Landscape architect John Galloway planted the remaining 13 acres of land with native prairie grasses.
A natural berm planted with sumac trees lines the approach to the house. As the trees mature, they will create a solid screen along the entry road, making the home visible only through Galloway's aperture installation.
Although the courtyard no longer serves as the only landscape feature of the house, the need for this central core is just as important as when it was designed. It anchors the house and the clients' place within the landscape. Instead of using this space as an outdoor escape, it can serve as sheltered refuge for a house that drifts in 13 acres of prairie.
While the courtyard was designed to be enjoyed outdoors, it was also necessary to consider that the climate of Missouri prohibits being outside year-round. Planted directly in the center of the house is a flowering dogwood — Missouri's state tree. Despite harsh weather, the progression of the tree throughout the year will connect the interior with the landscape.
In tune with Hufft's design philosophy, the Curved House elegantly reaffirms its theme throughout the home. The shelves that line the hallways hug the contours created by exterior walls.
The steps to the pool gracefully arc in unison.
Even right angles are rounded out.
A unique aspect of Hufft's office is that in addition to a full service design studio, they also have an in-house fabrication shop — making many of these ultra-custom aspects possible.
The clients’ interest in sustainability and low-energy alternatives inspired Hufft to implement alternative energy sources for powering the house, as well as using local and reclaimed materials to construct it. The entire pool cabana is powered by photovoltaic cells, and a geothermal system on the property cools and heats the house.
The light gay color of the locally-sourced Spanish tile roof reflects solar heat, keeping the house cool. Local black Endicott brick with a Manganese finish creates a beautifully subtle sheen that nicely highlights the curves of the walls. Oiled Ipe wood, a sustainable material, accents the brick, richly contrasting the green of the prairie grass.
Abundant natural light fills the house, which reduces the need for artificial light and excess energy consumption.
Commercial-grade aluminum windows complement the aesthetic of the house and require next-to-no maintenance.
Low-VOC finishes were used throughout the house. In the kitchen, the cabinets are reclaimed and the countertops are recycled glass.
Hufft designs spaces meant to inspire, but ultimately he aims to create homes that really make you feel comfortable — from the inside out. The Curved House is full of light and warmth, and leaves you feeling like you've just had a big breath of fresh air.