Design Elements: Books

Cabin Style: An artful experience

You can guess you’re in the home of an artist when every object, whether an important painting or a repurposed flea-market find, is placed in perfect juxtaposition to the other objects in the rooms. The result is that each item, no matter its value, is elevated to a piece of art. It can be a rarified experience to visit such a place, where the filled spaces are perfectly balanced by the negative spaces, and where the featured items are positioned to create an experience that is at once gallery-like and restorative.

For an artist couple, their search for a contemporary house in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, led to an unlikely choice: a 1989 log home and guest cabin. Although the house was well-proportioned and in good shape, the varnish applied to the logs decades before had yellowed. Inside, an oversized river rock fireplace constituted a domineering presence against floors of Douglas fir and quartzite flagstone. The windows were small, the rooms were dark and cut off from one another, and the home lacked a healthy connection to the outdoors.

Having purchased the property for its proximity to the ski mountain, the privacy of the neighborhood, and the spectacular view of the Grand Teton, the couple placed their faith in Carney Logan Burke Architects and Tennyson-Ankeny Construction to enact a dramatic transformation. Architect Matt Thackray credits the owners — the husband a wood-turning hobbyist, the wife a mixed-media artist — with challenging the team to think creatively. “Great clients make great projects,” he says. “That was the case here.”

The house was straightforward in its design, all on one level with a separate two-bedroom guest house. The river rock fireplace was the first to go. The yellowed logs were blasted with ground-up corn cobs and finished to a muted blue-gray on the exterior, where white-painted trim enhanced the clean look. Inside, the logs were painted with an alabaster-tinted lacquer. The treatment brightened and united the interiors, while also highlighting the artistic quality of the true-stacked log corners and exposed log ends within the rooms.

The log surfaces were covered by drywall in places to create a suitable backdrop for art, then painted alabaster for a seamless transition between surfaces. Orange-toned circle-sawn Douglas fir floors were refinished and stained ebony for a modernist contrast. Other significant changes included installing a partial wall between the dining area and kitchen to create a sense of separation; re-engineering the art-filled office to install a large window; opening up the warren-like spaces in the master-bedroom suite; transforming the master bath with floating cabinets, a glass shower, and white subway tile; and introducing larger windows in the living room.

The home has outdoor living spaces on either side of the house to take advantage of — or escape — the sun. Hershberger Design enacted a rustic modern transformation of the landscape contiguous to the house with naturalistic plantings, rusted Corten steel partitions, and walkways of Peregrine Limestone. Terraces edged by tall grasses and lawn amidst mature aspens and cottonwoods give way to meadows extending north, where an additional lot was purchased by the owners to safeguard the view.

Inside and out, the house has a light and peaceful feeling, a far cry from its previous dark and dated incarnation. Carney Logan Burke’s Sarah Kennedy, who worked closely with the owners on the interiors, says, “These are creative people who put a lot of thought into the project and weren’t afraid to push the boundaries. The owner didn’t buy art for the house, she just created the most amazing pieces, like a bust covered entirely with pills. She has to take a lot of the credit for the beauty that is this house.”

With its modest volumes, great light, and perfectly placed objects, the house has a palpable serenity. “People want to feel a connection to nature in their homes,” says Thackray. “This is natural, timeless, and modern all at the same time. It has the cozy qualities of a cabin, yet it still feels fresh.”

from Cabin Style by Chase Reynolds Ewald and Audrey Hall, to be released on August 6, 2019, by Gibbs Smith.

Cabin Style

By Chase Reynolds Ewald, Photographs by Audrey Hall

Photos of stunning cabin exteriors and interiors, combined with well-told stories of the homes and their owners, take readers into the living rooms of cozy log, wood, and rock homes in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, California, and Tennessee. Luxurious cabins lure the owners of second homes to relaxing weeks in isolated landscape settings or upscale enclaves within reach of ski resorts, fly-fishing rivers, and outdoor recreation of all types. This is the perfect gift for anyone planning, or dreaming of, a cabin home.

$50 | 224 pages | 10 x 12 in. | 200 photos | Release date: Aug. 6, 2019 | gibbs-smith.com

 

The Fantastic Seashell of the Mind: The Architecture of Mark Mills

By Janey Bennett

Frank Lloyd Wright once said that seashells are nature’s perfect architecture, and Mark Mills, one of Wright’s apprentices, took it to heart. His life’s work is captured in this book by architectural historian Janey Bennett. Considered a visionary architect, Mills adapted roof systems to uniquely blend structural principles and the organic forms of seashells. He considered the ceilings to be shells for humans. The structural elegance of these reveal the skeletons of the buildings, exposed and visible from every part of the interior. Award-winning photographer Bill Sosin contributed to the book, which is an excellent and entertaining source on unique structural forms.

$44.95 | 208 pages | 11 x 7 inches | oroeditions.com

 

Who’s Afraid of Pink, Orange, and Green? Colorful Living and Interiors

By Irene Schampaert and Iris De Feijter

This artful design book showcases more than 20 international interiors that are brimming with pops of color and personality. Gone are the days of black, white, and gray — instead, this parade of prismatic décor displays the use of warmth and atmosphere to create unique spaces. From deep, dark shades and pastels to strikingly vivid hues, this book will surprise you at every turn with a slideshow of technicolored living. Included also are interviews with acclaimed designers, and advice about design elements and color utilization to create funky and balanced home arrangements.

$44.96 | 240 pages | 11 x 14 inches | lannoopublishers.com

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