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A Sun Valley Home with SoCal Vibes

A family-friendly home built right next door to the in-laws



Photos by Gibeon Photography

It is not too often that in-laws like each other enough to want to live next door. But these two couples are the exception. When one couple built a home near Sun Valley, Idaho, the other couple visited frequently—in winter for skiing; in summer for the famous wine auction. “Even before our son married their daughter ... we were dear friends,” say the California-based homeowners. So, when the vacant lot next door became available, “our son called with the good news and we didn’t hesitate.”

When planning their 6,000-square-foot mountain retreat, the homeowners envisioned a calm and gracious home that would be enjoyed by extended family for generations to come. “Family, family and more family,” says the homeowner. “We were imagining a place where our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren could come to enjoy the beauty of Sun Valley and stay connected as a family.”

To realize their dream, they brought together a talented team—architect Jim McLaughlin of Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho-based McLaughlin & Associates; interior designer Jennifer Hoey Smith of Ketchum-based Jennifer Hoey Interior Design; and Mark McQueen of Hailey, Idaho-based McQueen Construction.

“We designed the in-laws’ home and it was serendipitous to have a chance to build both homes,” says architect Jim McLaughlin. The homeowners wanted a not-too-fancy home appropriate for the mountains with enough bedrooms (four) and bathrooms (four-and-a-half) to accommodate visiting family and friends. In addition, they wanted the central part—the great room—to look like a 19th-century barn that, perhaps, had already been on the property. “It is totally new construction,” says McLaughlin, who achieved this always-been-there look by using antique hand-hewn timbers he and the builder hand-picked “beam by beam.” The barn floors are French limestone. European oak flooring and reclaimed barnwood were also used. The metal roof allows the abundant winter snow to slide off and, in the summer, “who doesn’t like the soothing sound of raindrops on a metal roof?” McLaughlin asks with a smile.

Who doesn’t like the soothing sound of raindrops on a metal roof?
— Architect Jim McLaughlin

Some rooms are oriented to the mountains, offering dramatic views of 12,000-foot peaks from the terraces, decks and the kitchen—and from the tub in the master bath. Other rooms offer views of the Big Wood River (famed for its wild and wily rainbows and brown trout). Each of the guest rooms has access to a shared terrace with a fire pit. The great room has both north- and south-facing terraces accessed by large steel-framed doors that lift and slide into the walls, opening the entire space up for entertaining. “When the doors are open, you don’t even know they are there,” says the homeowner. The outdoor dining area has a fireplace that encourages evenings outside in the early spring, late fall and even into winter.

Visitors flow between the two residences connected by a picturesque footpath, designed for enjoying the river view. A small sitting area offers a serene spot for lingering and relaxing. And at the end of the path, at the end of the day, the cozy home with its doors open wide awaits, ready to welcome children, grandchildren, and grandparents—to join in dinner at the extra-long dining room table, where there is always room for all. 

In the great room a dramatic, distinctive stone fireplace anchors the comfortable and cozy seating area. A pop-up TV is hidden away to the right of the fireplace. Gregorius Pineo swivel chairs add versatility.

This hallway leads from the entry to the kitchen. An antique chair in front of the fireplace is perfect for a morning cup of coffee.

A long antique table is the centerpiece of the dining room, black floor-to-ceiling steel bookcases and a sliding ladder were custom-made by Isotope Design Lab.

Two David Iatesta chandeliers give symmetry to the great room.

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In the powder room, reclaimed wood walls and a custom steel countertop add a counterpoint to the Old World look of the antique Italian sink.

Reclaimed wood and hand-hewn beams lend a rustic look to the master bedroom. A four-poster bed and rock-crystal chandelier add a touch of elegance.

White-washed tongue-and-groove walls and ceiling in the master bath give the room a light, fresh look; mountain views can be enjoyed from the Victoria + Albert tub.

The vanity in the master bath has warm side lighting; under-counter storage conceals a hairdryer; to the right is a custom-made free-standing floor mirror.

The kitchen features leather counter stools by Zele. A stainless-steel island countertop has an integral sink. Curations Limited chairs finish the breakfast nook. 

Cozy for a crowd...

Creating a family- and pet-friendly home that is not only comfortable for large family gatherings but also works well for the quiet times when there are just two requires planning. Interior designer Jennifer Hoey-Smith offers these suggestions:

Start with the floor plan
This may sound obvious, but many people don’t think of having the master suite, the social spaces and the guest suites in separate areas. The entertaining areas—which can get noisy—should be separate from the sleeping areas. 

Use outdoor fabrics
The new outdoor fabrics are very durable in high-use rooms and now come not only in cotton and linen but also in more sophisticated fabrics like chenille and velvet. 

Put on a coat
If you’re using natural linens or cottons, have them coated with a water- and stain-resistant Nanotex finish. It is eco-friendly—the Scotchgard for the 21st century. 

Make it cheerful
Lighter finishes and materials make a room more sunny, lighthearted and friendly. 

Use slipcovers
They give any room a more casual look but can also be removed for cleaning.

Consider leather
It’s a natural material that can be cleaned with a damp cloth and looks even better as it ages—stains and all.  

Design details:

ARCHITECTURE McLaughlin & Associates INTERIOR DESIGN Jennifer Hoey Interior Design CONSTRUCTION McQueen Construction 208-721-2918 MASTER BEDROOM BED Artifacts DRAPERY Tippie Canoe, 208-481-1278 NIGHTSTAND Lucca Antiques LAMP Visual Comfort BENCH Cisco Brothers LOUNGE CHAIR Verellen  CHANDELIER NWBLK SITTING ROOM SECTIONAL Kravet  ART Laura Wilson – Cowboys Walking  Gallery: Gail Severn Gallery OTTOMAN Cisco Brothers RUG Outpost Original CABINET HARDWARE Rocky Mountain Hardware MASTER BATHROOM SCONCES Rocky Mountain Hardware TUB Victoria + Albert MIRROR CLIPS Rocky Mountain Hardware CABINET HARDWARE Ochre RUG Stacy Logan Rugs CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS WITH INTEGRAL SINKS Elements Concrete LAVATORY FAUCET & TUB FILLER Waterworks WOOD STUMP The Picket Fence MOSAIC FLOOR Artistic Tile CUSTOM CABINETRY Browndog Woodworks, 208-309-0991 SEATED VANITY CHAIR Verellen ART Bellisimo DOOR HARDWARE Rocky Mountain Hardware POWDER ROOM SINK Antique Italian CUSTOM STEEL COUNTERTOP WITH INTEGRAL TOWEL BAR Isotope Design Lab, 208-948-0301 FAUCET Waterworks SCONCES Palmer Hargrave, Vendor: Dessin Fournir STEEL MIRROR Bird & Co LIVING ROOM SOFA (LEFT) Verellen SOFA (RIGHT, WITH WOOD LEGS) Anees Upholstery FLOOR LAMP Holly Hunt COCKTAIL TABLE Brandner Design TABLE LAMP Verellen CHANDELIER David Iatesta DRAPERY Tippie Canoe SWIVEL CHAIRS Gregorius Pineo ART Michael Gregory Copake, Gallery: Gail Severn Gallery CUSTOM STEEL FIREPLACE SURROUND Isotope Design Lab KITCHEN COUNTERSTOOLS Zele CUSTOM CABINETRY Browndog Woodworks STEEL ISLAND COUNTERTOP WITH INTEGRAL SINK Sheetmetal Fab, 208-726-3220 ISLAND & PERIMETER FAUCET Waterworks PERIMETER COUNTERTOP Nordland Tile & Stone, 208-788-9862 BREAKFAST TABLE PENDANT Roman Thomas BREAKFAST TABLE CHAIRS Curations Limited CABINET HARDWARE Rocky Mountain Hardware SCONCES Urban Electric SITTING ROOM OFF KITCHEN/BREAKFAST LOUNGE CHAIR Lucca Antiques DINING ROOM TABLE Petersen Antiques CUSTOM STEEL BOOKCASE + LADDER Isotope Design Lab DINING CHAIRS Restoration Hardware CHANDELIER David IatestaSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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