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Photos by TripleRPhotography
Location: Chesterfield, Mo.
The Skinny: For every starchitect who ascends to a certain level of critical approbation there are plenty who toil away on the regional level, shaping entire cities, even states, while remaining relatively unknown outside of a small coterie of architectural historians. Missouri's Ralph Fournier is one of these regional stars, an architect who, along with his wife Mary Jane, designed hundreds of homes across the heartland (including one of Better Homes and Gardens "Idea Homes" in the late '50s) without quite lodging himself in the national consciousness. Like this $2M home outside St. Louis, much of Fournier's work came in the form of variations on the ranch trope. As the architect himself put it in a 2007 interview, his style included "a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright and California influences like overhangs, low-angled rooflines, and sunken bathtubs with windows that pointed out at angles." They, in other words, were homes made for a time when mass-produced housing aimed a little higher than just boxes with plenty of room for all of our stuff: "We designed for people who had taste and appreciated elements of design," he said. "Not like these big homes today where they throw brick and stone and turrets and anything they can at it."