A Ranch Redux in Jackson Hole
A new homestead embodies the character of the historical ranch that once flourished on the site
Photography by Audrey Hall and Ron Johnson
They say good things come to those who wait.
That old adage certainly held true for the owners of this vacation home, who searched for nearly a decade before finding their historical property in Jackson Hole. The former home of three generations of a single family, the densely wooded site offered views of the cliffs and peaks of the Teton Range, and maintained many of the characteristics of the once-thriving ranch, including the natural creeks and streams that bisect the property. Sadly though, its original structures were long gone.
The idyllic setting was the perfect complement to the couple’s active lifestyle—and their vision for a house that would honor the property’s history. “From the very beginning, we knew we wanted the home to look like it had always been there, like it belonged on the ranch,” the owner explains. “We weren’t striving for a Western or cowboy look, but we wanted our home to have the character of an old barn or farmhouse.”
To bring his clients’ rustic ideal to life, architect Paul Bertelli, design principal of JLF & Associates in Bozeman, Montana, began by scouring the countryside for old barns with salvageable materials. Many of the old structures he found were in a state of near ruin, but their beams and boards were structurally sound—and infused with a rich character and patina that only comes with time.
To create the impression that the new home had occupied the site for a century or more, and “really exaggerate the sense of aging over time,” Bertelli combined the reclaimed wood with dry-stacked stone, wood shakes and corrugated-steel roofing. “The key to achieving a sense of authenticity is to embrace imperfection,” he says of the rugged materials. “Only then can the structure have that historical charm and sense of place.”
Massive steel windows, positioned to capture the bucolic views of the property’s streams and ponds and the mountains beyond, add an industrial style Bertelli says is appropriate in its simplicity. “Every time I step into the living room and encounter that wall of glass and steel, I’m a little struck by the dramatic view, and I just have to stop and take it in,” the homeowner says.
“The link between the building and the landscape was an important aspect of our design,” Bertelli says of the structure, which appears to meander along the forest floor. The sprawling floor plan consists of two bedroom wings that extend from a central living and entertaining space. Accessed via a glass-and-antique-timber bridge, the master suite resembles a private cabin tucked away in the trees. Its four-poster bed was crafted from reclaimed pine and is dressed with soft linens and cottons in warm saturated hues. “The materials are reproductions of furnishings from a previous era,” says Kari Foster, design principal of Associates III Interior Design in Denver. “Think homespun, but with a punch.” The design team laundered the fabrics before the pillows and duvet were made so they would lose their stiffness “and more closely resemble the same items from days of yore,” Foster explains.
A collection of antiques—acquired by the homeowners in collaboration with museum and decorative arts consultant Philip Zimmerman of Lancaster, Pennsylvania—add early American charm to the home, while antique Oriental rugs in bold geometric patterns infuse the interiors with splashes of color.
From the inside out, this magnificent homestead is an ode to the history of its site. “We pushed this design beyond the sole idea of a mountain retreat, giving it regional context and anchoring it to the past,” Bertelli reflects. “There is nothing but honesty here,” Foster adds. “The architecture fits the land, and the land fits the architecture.”
Offering a floor-to-ceiling view of the surroundings, the living room gets its intimate vibe from comfortable sofas and American antiques. With this space in mind, the homeowners commissioned the bronze sculpture of a mountain lion by artist Ken Bunn.
The entryway shows off one of the family’s colorful Oriental rugs purchased from antique carpet dealer Mark Topalian of M. Topalian Inc. in New York.
Separated from the home’s public spaces by a glass-and-antique-timber bridge, the master suite looks like a little log cabin in the woods.
Situated between the kitchen and dining room, the dry-stacked stone fireplace is flanked by reproduction Bryce Ritter dining chairs with replica felt cushions.
The dining room’s hand-hewn beams and steel-framed windows give guests the sense of dining al fresco.
The guest suite pairs a reproduction four-poster bed with antique furnishings; the dry-stacked stone fireplace harmonizes with the room’s reclaimed wood walls.
To create the look of a century-old structure, Bertelli chose a materials palette that highlights reclaimed wood, dry-stacked stone and weathered corrugated steel.
Connecting the home’s main living spaces and master suite, a glass-and-antique-timber bridge blurs the line between indoors and out.
Whether you’re ready to add just a few rustic touches to your living spaces or you’re embarking on a full-scale remodel, these tips from interior designer Kari Foster will help you create an authentic look.
Millwork & Furniture: Find ways to incorporate reclaimed wood inside your house as often as possible. Use the rough-sawn boards for everything from paneling to doors and cabinets, or have the rough edges planed away and use the lustrous heartwood to craft headboards, tables, benches and more.
Paint: Give reproduction furnishings a soft, natural finish with beeswax or natural milk paints.
Hardware: When choosing fixtures and hardware, opt for dull finishes like wrought iron and oil-rubbed bronze.
Textiles: Comb antiques stores and auctions for well-loved treasures like quilts and hand-hooked rugs.
Upholstery: Fill dining-chair cushions with layers of felt instead of stuffing for a more authentic look.
Finishing touches: Accessorize with simple accents like a book and a basket of apples rather than a collection of knick-knacks.
DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE JLF & Associates, Inc. Bozeman, MT 406-587-8888 CONSTRUCTION & TIMBER WORK Big-D Signature Construction Management Jackson, Wyoming 307-733-9822 (Together, JLF & Big-D are JLF Design-Build) INTERIOR DESIGN Associates III Interior Design Jackson Hole, WY 303-534-4444 LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Verdone Landscape Architects IRONWORKS Bar Mill Iron Forge, Inc. Big Timber, MT 406-932-4458 CABINETRY & MILLWORK Anatra Cabinetry Ogden, UT 801-782-6776 WOOD DOORS & HARDWARE Artisans Doors, Kalispell, MT 406-756-9737 MASONRY Alta, WY 307-353-7625 STEEL WINDOWS Hopes Windows, Alder Sales Murray, UT 801-262-9700 COPPER CLAD WOOD WINDOWS Montana Sash & Door Bozeman, MT 406-586-1858 FURNISHINGS/ACCESSORIES FOUR-POSTER CANNONBALL BED IN BLUE MILK PAINT (in guest room): Reproduction by Bryce Ritter at Bryce Ritter Custom Furniture 610-458-0460 DUVET Manufacturer: Old World Weavers Vendor: Shanahan Collection WINDOW COVERINGS (in guest room): Rose Tarlow Fabric (drapes) from John Brooks; Tatterdemalion (rods & drapery labor) SAM HOUSTON FOUR-POSTER BED W/ LOWERED FOOTBOARD POSTS AND BLANKET RAIL IN BUTTERMILK PAINT (in master suite): Reproduction by Bryce Ritter at Bryce Ritter Custom Furniture DUVET Manufacturer: Scalamandre (with vintage button closure) Vendor: Phoebe Marsh LOUNGE CHAIRS Hempt’s Furniture Shop Denver 303.322.9263 PENDANT (in great room): Myers & Company Architectural Metals Basalt, CO 970-927-4761 SOFA (in great room): Hempt’s Furniture Shop 303-322-9263 CUSTON WROUGHT-IRON BARSTOOLS: Myers & Company Architectural Metals Basalt, CO 970-927-4761 CUSTOM REPRODUCTION RECLAIEMD WOOD CHALFANT TABLE (One Board Top, Milk Paint Base): Reproduction by Bryce Ritter at Bryce Ritter Custom Furniture 610-458-0460