Prairie Style in Weston, Massachusetts

December 11, 2023

In Weston, a modern Prairie-style residence fits in seamlessly with its setting.

Text by Alyssa Bird    Photography by Read McKendree / JBSA

Location is everything, as they say, and this particular four-and-a-half-acre site in Weston, Massachusetts, had everything going for it, from wooded privacy to wetland views. There was just one small hiccup: the property had a modest existing cape that wasn’t going to cut it as the clients’ forever home.

“When we first saw the lot, we all knew it was the one,” says Slocum Hall Design Group principal David Boronkay. With the help of Concept Building and landscape architect Jane Shoplick, Boronkay sited a new 12,000-square-foot five-bedroom residence farther from the road to make the most of the sloping grade in the center of the parcel. “The house is positioned where the slope begins, resulting in a front facade that’s low and sleek and a light-filled walk-out basement in the rear,” explains Boronkay. “We were inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and how they work in harmony with their sites. There are elements of the Prairie style, but we took it in a more modern direction.”

Boronkay collaborated closely with Shoplick along the way, ensuring that the structure is nestled into the landscape. “Because the house sits on a slope, there is a series of terraces that step down to the backyard,” says Shoplick. “Our goal was to minimize site disturbance and leave as much of the natural forest as possible. We planted native species in front of the wooded area, creating a gradation of lawn to native plants to woods.”

An abundance of windows takes in this landscape. In fact, Boronkay designed the structure as a long, shallow rectangle, enabling views from the front entry straight out to the backyard. White oak and stone lend warmth to the interiors, which are built for entertaining thanks to a soaring great room that’s connected to the kitchen and den via glass pocket doors. Also on the main floor is a formal dining room and a primary wing containing his-and-hers baths and dressing areas.

While the main floor is meant for more formal entertaining, says the architect, the lower level houses several informal hangout spaces and wellness areas—including a playroom, a rec room and bar, a gym, a sauna, and a spa room with a hot tub and kitchenette—that serve both family downtime and casual entertaining.

The spa room, with its retractable glass doors, required intensive coordination with the builder. “Moisture from a hot tub presents a challenge in a basement,” says Concept Building’s Jeff Capello. “We ended up constructing the HVAC system out of stainless-steel components to protect it from humidity and chemicals.”

Throughout the home, Anne Mueller and Jessica Tolman of Briar Design covered a mix of custom and contemporary furnishings in performance fabrics that “look sophisticated but are kid- and dog-friendly,” says Tolman. “For the palette in the main spaces we stuck to earth tones that speak to nature, with accents of muted lavender and peach. The downstairs is less restrained, with fun shapes and statement pieces.” According to Mueller, they “layered in pieces with curvilinear shapes and softer lines to make sure the house doesn’t feel cold.” The goal with this project, says Boronkay, “was to create a modern space that’s also warm and inviting.”

Project Team
Architecture: Slocum Hall Design Group
Interior design: Briar Design
Builder: Concept Building
Landscape design: Shoplick Landscape Architecture

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