Launch Slideshow

modern speakeasy, lawrence, kan.

modern speakeasy, lawrence, kan.

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    Dan Rockhill

    Translucent glass awnings add texture to the rear of the house.

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    Dan Rockhill

    An old bakery conveyor belt undulates above the indoor tables, concealing inexpensive light fixtures.

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    Dan Rockhill

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    Dan Rockhill

rockhill + associates, lecompton, kan.

Dan Rockhill may be the only architect in the country who's designed a home restaurant. The zoning-be-damned outbuilding he fashioned for a Lawrence, Kan., chef serves as the dining room of a not-quite-legal establishment run by the owner and his wife. “There's no sign, you can't park in front, and you have to ask where it is,” Rockhill explains. “It attracts people looking for something just quirky enough.”

The concept sounds tailor-made for Rockhill, an iconoclast who takes building as seriously as design. He and project architect David Sain renovated the owners' kitchen into a commercial-grade one and added on an apartment for the chef's mother-in-law. The new, transparent dining room sits just a few feet behind the house. Insulated glass, steel cross bracing, and a grass roof fortify the 30-seat structure against cold and wind. “It's an out-of-your-mind building,” said one judge approvingly. “It's bold and graphic.”

principal in charge / general contractor: Dan Rockhill, Rockhill + Associates
project architect: David Sain, Rockhill + Associates
project size: 1,376 square feet
site size: 0.13 acre
construction cost: $150 per square foot
photography: Dan Rockhill