13 Jun Western Design: Sense of Space
For a peripatetic family, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, finally feels like home
The family had been gamely relocating from one city to another, bouncing between the San Francisco Bay Area, London, and New York City for years, when they decided they should search for a special place to call their own. They imagined it as the place that would remain the one constant in their peripatetic lives. They wanted it designed as both a coming-together destination for family and friends, and, ultimately, maybe even a home for their retirement.
“We were living in the Bay Area when we started looking for something that could be our own. We had experienced other places — Tahoe, Oregon, Deer Valley — and discovered Jackson in the 1990s,” the husband recalls. Once they saw the Tetons, they looked no further. “For me, space is what Jackson is all about. Because we spend time in big cities, and I’m traveling all the time for work, when I get off the plane in Jackson, a sense of calm comes over me. It is one of the most magical places.”
For 10 years, the couple rented homes in the valley, getting to know its microclimates, view corridors, and traffic patterns. Ultimately, they bought a lot in a private community with a championship golf course and exhilarating views of the Tetons. Their property was well chosen, situated away from the more densely built-out section of the development that was located on the edge of the golf course and protected wetlands. They had views, they had quiet, and they had an expansive prospect.
“Being in Wyoming and not having open space doesn’t make sense to me,” says the homeowner. “This has a westerly view for summer sunsets, and it’s protected by the golf course and open land. Here we get a touch of the mountain views, and the wide-open space is phenomenal. We have the benefit of the development, which we like, and being close to town, which we love, plus the amenities of the club, which we really use.”
The couple envisioned a main house with a guest house oriented away from neighboring properties, and after interviewing a number of architects, they chose CLB Architects to design their home, and On Site Management to construct it. The development’s guidelines call for a traditional mountain aesthetic on the exterior, resulting in reclaimed wood running both vertically and horizontally, as well as stonework, timbers, and a cedar shake roof. Inside, however, they could flex their contemporarily inclined muscles a bit more freely. The homeowners worked with Sarah Kennedy of CLB to execute the interiors. They planned to incorporate some of their existing furniture pieces, but the aesthetic driving force would be the clients’ extensive contemporary art collection.
CLB’s Kevin Burke notes that because the site “afforded more space to open up to the spectacular views due west, toward the south end of the Teton Range and across a blue-ribbon fly-fishing stream, the question was, how do you get onto the site, drop the cars, and enter the house and the protected open space? It quickly became an exercise of creating a mini-compound while capturing the views and turning your back on the density of the development.”
The main house is accessed by a bridge over a small creek that runs along one edge of the parcel. The guest house is positioned off to the side and creates, in between both structures, a somewhat contained outdoor entertaining space amid minimal landscaping and natural grasses. Once inside, the four-bedroom main house extends up and out. The central section houses the public areas, and above, an intimate gallery space creates a private light-filled reading nook overlooking the double-height, post-and-beam great room. That room opens directly onto a patio with sweeping, almost 180-degree views across the river bottom to mountain vistas. To the south, a one-story pavilion houses the daughters’ bedrooms; to the north, a two-story section contains the garage, TV room, mudroom, and utilities; and on the second floor, the master suite and the son’s bedroom boasts direct views toward town and Snow King Mountain.
The house is large but manageable. At more than 6,000 square feet, explains the architect, “There was a deliberate move to create smaller pavilions so it wouldn’t feel too big, and to break the massing down so that it would feel more inviting on a human scale.”
The interiors are inviting, with bright spaces defined by dynamic timberwork, reclaimed board ceilings, steel details, and a combination of white, wood, and Montana moss rock surfaces. Crisp edges, modern windows, and clean-lined furniture in serene tones provide an appropriate backdrop for the owners’ bold art pieces. Airy light fixtures provide a counterbalance to the rusticity, while unexpected surprises add whimsy: from Hermes wallpaper and Holy Hunt pendants in the powder room to a freestanding copper-clad tub and a crystal chandelier in the master bath. Throughout the home, particular attention was paid to scale and proportion while always adhering to the goal of refined rustic comfort with a strong sense of fun.
One reason the house works so well, says the husband, is that “we wanted to be great clients. It was a super collaborative effort. I would do it again,” he adds, “except that the house is so great I don’t think I would ever move.”
His wife agrees. “Jackson is the place we can meet up with all of our friends,” she says. “And for the kids, it’s the one place we can all come together. [Given our lifestyle], we really need that.”
After the many relocations, Jackson has become more and more like home. “All our kids learned to drive here,” the homeowner explains. “And don’t be surprised if you run into one of them working in the grocery store.”
Architecture: CLB Architects
Construction: On Site Management
Interior Design: CLB Architects
Landscape Design: Hershberger Design