2013 Kitchen and Bath Design Guide


The Kohout Residence represents a significant leap for its owners—from the French country style of their previous house to a spare Modernism that directs its focus outward to the South Dakota prairie landscape.

But the move reflects practical considerations as much as architectural taste. Durable, unadorned surfaces make sense for an active family that includes four children and two dogs, and an open-plan layout keeps adults and children in touch with each other and the outdoors. Like all good things, though, togetherness has its limits, so the new house also includes a private master suite where the parents can recharge their batteries before diving back into the fray.

“You have the family-living zone and the master suite, which is its own stand-alone wing,” says Evan Shaw, AIA, LEED AP, one of the project architects. Buffered from the house’s common areas by a gallerylike entry hall, the suite occupies the house’s northwest corner, close to the property’s border at the edge of the Missouri River. A doorless opening joins the bedroom to the bathroom, a high-ceilinged, linear space that terminates in a room-width window. Upon entering, one looks across the river’s broad, flat waters to Nebraska on the opposite bank.

That window-framed landscape anchors the composition of simple, rectilinear elements that furnish the room: a stained-oak vanity with a Paper­Stone counter and porcelain lavatories, an etched-glass enclosure for the shower and toilet compartments, and a plumb-sided free­standing tub. Slate tiles in a stack-bond pattern cover the floor and line the walls up to a water table at window-head height, forming a backdrop that allows the room’s basic volume to read through. A clerestory window floats on the high wall, flooding the space with glare-free north light, but without distracting from the primary view. “It’s all about focusing out toward the river,” Shaw says.