Prairie School Kitchen

The new design for a kitchen follows Prairie School doctrine.
See 1. 

See 1. 

Rich Michell

A stunning example of Prairie School architecture, the 1910 E.L. Powers House was one of the first commissions by the renowned partnership of William Purcell and George Elmslie. Generally well preserved, the house represents an architectural heritage.

As is so often the case in older houses, the kitchen had been modified in opposition to pedigree. It was problematic from the aesthetic, functional, and historical standpoints. The client asked David Heide Design Studio of Minneapolis to redesign the space—while adhering to the principles of historic preservation.

Project architect Brad Belka and his team carefully considered the historical context of the building, its Prairie aesthetic, and its particular details. Their design addresses the functional program while remaining respectful to the house and the architectural movement it represents. The kitchen is not a copy or a restoration of the original, but a synthesis that brings together Prairie School doctrine and contemporary needs. The use of precedent never falls into caricature. “We consider it an honest tribute,” says David Heide.

See 2 & 3. 

See 2 & 3. 

Rich Michell

The luxurious use of red birch with a shellac finish elevates a now-public room, marrying it to the rest of the woodwork-rich house. The vent cutouts were inspired by similar ornament found in the house as well as many other works by Purcell & Elmslie. 

See 4.

See 4.

Rich Michell

The room incorporates a sensitive use of period details, picking up on original features in the house, which include leaded glass, lighting fixtures with aurene shades by Tiffany & Co., intricate millwork and casework.

The kitchen is new, yet Purcell & Elmslie’s overall vision for the house is preserved. Original plaster was retained; doors and windows remain in their locations to maintain the design of the exterior and surrounding rooms.

The horizontal banding is a Prairie detail, in this room joining a flying shelf that introduces lighting. The incised brackets beneath are based on a small detail noted on the stile of an original cabinet. Puck lights are set into them. 

Oak Park series by Arroyo Craftsman.


Fixtures in the Minneapolis house are of custom design and fabrication. Find a similar, bold look with Prairie influence in the Oak Park series by Arroyo Craftsman. Wall-mount, flush, and chain pendants are sold in several sizes and many options in glass and finish; choose yours online for pricing.

Signature Hardware has a large selection of period-inspired and classic designs. The Klein solid-brass pull, 6″ center, has a 1 ” projection; also in 4″center.

The Klein solid-brass pull.

Elegantly simple is this bridge faucet by Lefroy Brooks, the ‘Classic 1900’ cross-handle, deck-mount, gooseneck mixer faucet—available in Antique Gold as well as chrome and nickel finishes (about $787 to $907). Through selected stores and online retailers.


‘Classic 1900’ cross-handle.

design Brad Belka, David Heide Design Studio, Minneapolis:
cabinets Frost Cabinets, St. Paul, MN:
tile Revival Classics 2×8 Moonlight Drive glaze Mission Tile West
counters Blue Roma quartzite natural stone
sink Shaws Original Lancaster single-bowl farmhouse fireclay sink Rohl
flooring original maple
windows original “slip-head” retracting windows
lighting fabrication fabricated by Lightworks, Minneapolis:
prairie school motifs Melton Workroom Custom textiles in Prairie designs
Mitchell Andrus Small furnishings with Arts & Crafts/Prairie motifs

Tags: kitchen OHJ November 2020

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