Maggies Farm

Close Project Details
Oxford, Iowa
2008
Built
Guest House 1600 sf.
Pool House 1750 sf.

Iowa farms are more than agricultural lands! This jet-set working couple discovered a 40 acre farm where they saw a glimpse of peace, simplicity, and an opportunity to connect with nature. The happiest member of their family to acquire the plot was Maggie the poodle - hence, “Maggie’s Farm”!

Project came with requirements for “Now” and “Future”. Our design goal was to plan a progression of structures, each telling an “individual Iowa story”, but when taken together would eventually create a harmonious but complex, layered experience of the space within and more importantly the space between the structures - the farm itself.

“Now” meant restoring the falling barn, remodeling the existing farmhouse as a new weekend house and building a new pool house to cater to the owners’ multifunctional need for an office, an exercise area and a greenhouse. “Future” called for a formal greenhouse and an exterior patio / hot tub area for the pool house. The real house, last to be added, would turn the remodeled weekend house into a guest house.

The Weekend House addition and renovation is organized and defined by two elements. A concrete wall running along the back side of existing house defines the addition and continuos beyond to create and define exterior seating steps and patios. Perpendicular to this wall and on axis with existing house, a prow like concrete element contains an egress stair from the new lower level bedroom and provides a pedestal for a future sculpture. The corn crib, inserted within the existing stair well, extends from new lower level up through house, defining vertical circulation, creating a breakfast nook, an upper bathroom and providing a colorful and literal reference to the farm.

The pool house is the collision of two sheds, its resulting asymmetrical “butterfly” roof directs rain water to large scuppers at the roof intersection which drain to large stone catch basins and underground cisterns to be used throughout the pool house and weekend house. Plan is open and multifunctional, ending in a facade of glass framing the restored barn Iowa landscape beyond.

All design ideas for the farm spring from the desire to create “Iowa-esque” architecture based on the reinterpretation of vernacular forms - barns, silos, sheds, and porches. These influences informed larger forms, choice of materials and then trickle into the smaller details of the exterior and interior.