timberland men boots century modern on the prairie
Story by Darlena Cunha Photos by Doug Engle
When thinking of modern architecture, people tend to turn their eyes back to the mid century. Here in Gainesville, however, you can get modern modernity. That is, brand new modern design with all of the comforts of 2017 and all of the style of 1961.
Jalie Tucker is a fifth generation Floridian who is of the Department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida. When she finally made her way back to the state after 25 years away, she wanted her forever home to be perfect. Tucker originally hails from Sanford, but as a professor and researcher, she traveled around the country from Michigan to Alabama. Her daughter Rachel Vuchinich, 25, is an architecture student at UF and lives with Tucker.
been a really great learning experience, helping with the house, Rachel says. I really didn do much; the covered walkway is basically my one contribution. mother, of course, disagrees, pointing out several areas of the 3,000 square foot home where Rachel Tucker touch prevails. Architect Robert Harris worked closely with Joiner Construction for nearly a year to create this spacious homage to Frank Lloyd Wright with a twist.
While the open floor plan, ground to ceiling windows and differing roof slopes were important, Jailie’s main concern was the land on which the house is built.
Tucked away on a small prairie area that used to be Kanapaha Ranch, Jalie’s 17 acres of pristine land managed by the West Kanapaha Farm Owners Association and can never be developed fully. one house can be built per every 10 acres. That, along with the winding dirt roads and gated private drives, puts the home squarely in an oasis of nature just as she wants it.
wanted nature and I wanted old Florida land, she says. heard about this place by word of mouth, and when real estate agent Heather Doughton showed it to me, I knew it would be perfect. house sits piers several above the ground a floodplain. Its stained cypress siding sets it apart from the wooded area around it, but provides a warm, natural feel.
wanted us to use board, but we wanted everything as natural as possible, she says.
Indeed, entering the home from the large front deck, the same cypress siding lines the walls, unstained inside, as Jalie plans on letting it age naturally. The ceiling is cedar, while the cabinets and floor are solid oak. Many of the window trims are made of pine.
main splurge on this house was the windows, Jalie says. told me to use vinyl, but I wanted real glass with wood frames. materials are used wherever possible from the bathrooms adorned with marble countertops and an onyx sink, to the kitchen where weathered black granite provides a muted, earthy look. Where she had to use tiles, Tucker opted for a type of ceramic that mimicked slate, to keep consistent with the rest of the home style.
The kitchen, which is just a few steps from the entrance, includes muted green, plenty of counter and cabinet space, and a great view of the rest of the house.
A living space is marked only by the sofa and chair sitting there, as the home is entirely open, without many walls to block off the rooms. On the other side of the sitting area, the living room opens to one side, with a gas fireplace adorned not with fake wood, but with fireballs. Pewabic tiles, handmade in Detroit in the 1910s, lines that fireplace with a warm, muted, smoky feel.
bought some of that tile when I lived in the area, and I been lugging it around since the Jalie says. knew someday I be able to put it to use. the living room, as well as in the halls, are built in shelving units, holding books or artwork from Tucker past. Many pieces have a Japanese flair to them.
like Japanese art, culture and architecture a lot, which is very spare, she explains. many houses you go into are gorgeous, but filled with so much stuff. I wanted this neat, minimal and consistent. mindset is why there are only a few paint colors across the whole house, and even those are muted neutrals, allowing the house itself to take mainstage. That is, of course, when visitors aren busy enjoying the view.
The dining room, which opens to the other side of the living room, is a nook like space, encased in floor to ceiling windows. The angled ceilings give the air of spacious grandeur when people sit at the six person wood table to share a meal.
Farther to the right, a hallway with in wall storage areas hidden in the cypress panels leads to the owner suite. Gary the cat can often be found sprawled across the bed, and antique side tables and family artwork line the walls. Here is where the carpeting starts and the wood floors end, too.
carpeting mutes the sound and cushions the feet, Jalie explains.
A screened in deck provides fresh air and majestic wooded views right off the bedroom.
The owner bathroom features a large walk in shower and muted blue tiles. The tub is not a Jacuzzi, but an air tub. This provides a softer, more effervescent feeling than a whirlpool, high pressure jet design.
A Jack and Jill room serves as a guest room, and also is used as a study. It has its own bathroom, adorned with funky modern lights.
Rachel Tucker room features a vaulted ceiling for her canopy bed a bed that was her mother before her. It also holds a chest that belonged to her grandmother and a little loveseat that used to be called a which belonged to her great grandmother.
couple would sit in that seat and court with a chaperone, Jalie says.
stuff may be a little beat up, but it has great history and I love it, Rachel adds.
The home has an upstairs area, and the steps leading up to it are watched over by a commanding kimono, spread artistically on the wall above. Tucker picked it up in 2001 on a garden and temple tour when she visited Japan.
makes a powerful statement that this is a woman home, Jalie says. meant to be a garment, and one that women would wear when being subservient, but it is also very beautiful and strong when hung up like this. the top of the stairwell is an old, original map of Sanford. Jalie grandfather was a general in World War II who commanded the surrender of the Philippines. The document of surrender hangs next to the map and near original wood workings of the soldiers in war that they created during their downtime.
The only enclosed room up here is the TV viewing room, which includes couches, a television, and even a small bed, kitchenette and bathroom for guests who stay over and would like privacy. The deck on this level is not screened in because it is so high that mosquitoes don fly around up there. From here you can see the sloping roof lines providing window space on either side of the home.
Because the house is raised there is no garage, but a carport and small storage area. A wooden area has been set aside for a hot tub when Tucker is ready to install one. A thin path leads through some thicket to the prairie area itself, where Rachel Tucker and her friends often gather around the fire pit to watch the stars.
wanted to build a house that suited the land and was worthy of the land and didn disrupt the land, Jalie says.