A Bloomington Home Refresh

Back to the future: making connections in an inspiring space

Recently, my husband Patrick and I spent an afternoon with Betsy Wilson, who, with her husband Kevin, bought a home from us, a home our family treasured for 25 years, purchased from original owners, Jerry and Lee Marsden.

The home captures intimations of a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Home, popular in the early 1900s. Wright created a uniquely American architecture stirred by the Midwest landscape known as the Prairie style. He believed designing houses in harmony with nature would improve the health and well-being of the families living within.

Characteristics of his Prairie Home include horizontal lines suggestive of flat prairie landscapes, hipped roofs extending beyond the walls, creating a feeling of protection, and patios and terraces filled with plants.

Wright’s homes exhibited open floor plans with spacious living areas and varied ceiling heights. Often prairie homes featured a large fireplace, brickwork and ceilings so high they seemed to reach God’s own sky. He believed such spaces were the heart of the home, where he envisioned jovial family gatherings.

Wright named windows “light screens,” which in a Prairie Home, lined the walls of rooms, allowing natural light to provide a feeling of warmth.

These elements beckoned us to this St. George home after spending a decade and a half in Hong Kong’s high rises, 25 floors high.  

Talking with Betsy, we discovered the elements that beckoned us to this home also beckoned her and Kevin.

“Sugar Leo Road” she said, “is a beautiful street, with unique homes on large lots.” “With Kevin being a Las Vegas commuter, Bloomington is an ideal location for southbound freeway access.”

The simplicity and functionality of the home’s architecture is inviting. “The home’s open floor plan is great for entertaining, with large windows throughout the back for views of the yard and pool area.” She mentioned her favorite external feature is the wood shingle hip roof—and indoors, she and her family love the fireplaces.

“This is a great home, particularly the back yard, which is perfect for hosting a teenage pool party on a Saturday evening or relaxing with the family on Sunday afternoons.”

I recalled the weddings, receptions, and socials we hosted, and the times singer songwriters entertained crowds in the great room or the living room. The home is conducive for such pursuits.

While our décor was primarily white on white, with accents of sky blue, coral and rosewood furniture, Betsy decorated the home with deeper contrasts, black and gray walls juxtaposed with blue and white accents and earth tones, light screens open to natural light. Furniture is contemporary with modern lines. The effect is stunning and refreshing.

When we move from a home, our tradition is to leave something for the next owner. In this instance, we left a wood block artifact of “The Great Wave of Kanagawa,” I acquired on one of my business trips to Japan. It depicts a miniature Mount Fuji and a gigantic wave. Despite the storm and treacherous wave, the fishermen in their boats appear confident as the sun shines high, offering a yin yang effect. Entering the great room, I noticed the woodblock art Betsy had placed in the heart of the art collage—and the light screens were gleaming, witnessing past and present connections.   

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