An Unconventional New Home in Jackson
Photos by Audrey Hall
Homeowners who love the beauty of Jackson Hole without the bustle sometimes gravitate to the more remote western side of the valley: although it seems like a rural world away, it’s less than half an hour from town and the Jackson Mountain Ski Resort. That’s where, in the late 1990s, one couple bought a cabin on several sloping acres in the Teton Range foothills and then, a decade later, replaced that deteriorated, cramped space with a new, more spacious home to serve as a personal retreat where they could also welcome family and friends.
The homeowners were clear that their new residence should avoid appearing too grand for the site or to in any way resemble new construction. “We wanted the house to take advantage of the views of mountains and trees all around us, while also feeling cozy and looking like it had been here for many years,” says the wife. With that in mind, she and her husband decided to hire JLF + Associates, an architectural firm based in Bozeman, Montana, and widely regarded for the way its designs seamlessly blend contemporary living with the authentic rustic style of the Rocky Mountain West.
“They had a little trepidation about whether they could hold onto the charm while exploring something unique,” notes Paul Bertelli, senior design principal and president at JLF, who took on the task with project architects Travis Growney and Christa Gertiser. By “unique,” Bertelli refers specifically to the new home’s floor plan. Its 3,962 square feet are divided among interconnected structures—a main house including living and sitting rooms, kitchen, and upstairs bedrooms; a garage topped with a bedroom and a large office; a separate guest cabin that lies about 60 feet to the side of the house; and a spacious master suite with its own fire-lit library, reached via a bridge-like dining room that can open completely on both sides to the surroundings. “Pulling the building apart like that,” explains Bertelli, “helps keep everything in scale with this rural context.”
Two roofing materials—cedar shakes on the main house and standing-seam metal over the master suite—differentiate the interconnected structures.
Equally rural in feeling are the materials the architects and homeowners chose, which also help to give each part of the house its own distinct personality. The central two-story house is faced in regional fieldstone. The garage is made with weathered old boards and board-formed concrete. The master suite building is assembled largely from reclaimed cabin logs, while the dining room connects to it with NanaWall folding glass panels, a rare modern component that all but disappears.
Reclaimed timbers support the main entry’s gabled roof.
In its furnishings as well, the new home hews to a decidedly rustic ambience thanks to its mixture of beloved items owned by the family for years and new purchases selected with the guidance of Associates III Interior Design in Denver. The primary goal was to make the home “feel like a backdrop for the grandeur that was all around them,” says principal designer Kari Foster, who worked alongside senior project designer Renee Keller. They helped their clients find items not merely distinguished by their old-fashioned beauty but also valued for their absolute simplicity and versatility, including lightweight, leather-sling occasional chairs that can easily be picked up and moved wherever in the house people might wish to gather.
The result of such carefully wrought details, from the largest architectural features to the smallest decorative touches, is that “nothing sticks out in this home; everything just flows beautifully,” as Foster observes. Her clients concur: “This is certainly the place we’d rather be than anywhere else.”
The main entrance blends past and present with its custom-built, well-insulated and secure front door made with century-old reclaimed boards.
A double-sided stone fireplace warms both the living room and a small sitting area off the kitchen. The floorboards bear the marks of the old foundry from which they were reclaimed.
Leather armchairs from Hickory Chair and a brass lamp refurbished by Light Years Antiques form an intimate conversation spot.
Painted in butter yellow and patina green to look like they evolved over time, custom kitchen cabinets surround stainless-steel appliances including a Viking range.
The floor plan provides easy access from the kitchen to the dining room.
Motorized screens are recessed above the dining room’s folding glass NanaWalls. They descend to keep out pests at the height of summer. The batik image of a bison, by artist Bonnie Kassel, resembles a cave painting.
The distressed-oak dining table by Gabe Sheker at Fruition Studio resembles an heirloom. Irish Windsor-style chairs from Fauld Town & Country surround it, and an iron chandelier by Paul Ferrante hangs above.
Porches off both the master bedroom and the living room are furnished with rustic willow chairs from the owners’ previous home.
Decoratively ringing the pool at the back of the house, granite boulders from the area also form a protective berm to divert stream overflow.
Like the path leading to the home’s entry, a separate boardwalk evoking the streets of historic downtown Jackson meanders from the back of the house to a 425-square-foot guest cabin.
In a separate structure adjoining the log-walled master bedroom, the bath features an old-fashioned freestanding cast-iron tub by Cheviot Products.
A Vermont Castings stove warms the cabin’s cozy interior, furnished with a custom bed by Gabe Sheker at Fruition Studio. A Pendleton blanket complements the striped Clarence House duvet cover from Kneedler Fauchère.
MARRYING RUSTIC WITH CONTEMPORARY
Architect Paul Bertelli and interior designer Kari Foster sum up their tips on how to preserve a home’s timeless ambience while meeting the needs of a present-day lifestyle.
Break it up—If building from scratch, consider dividing a living structure into smaller, self-contained but connected components that make the home look more like a compound than a single structure.
Add hints of new to old—In the case of this Jackson Hole home, the roofing is part traditional cedar shakes and part standing-seam metal panels.
Use traditional anew—Viewed from the exterior, rusty corrugated metal siding—a retro look—covers the modern “connector” between the stone main house and wood-faced garage. “That visually uses a 19th-century material to pull the building apart in a very contemporary way,” says Bertelli.
Keep sustainability in mind—Along with reusing old materials and selecting locally sourced products as much as possible, aim to make other environmentally smart choices, like finishing wood furniture with natural wax products rather than hard polyurethane finishes. “It’s about your health and being responsible as well,” says Foster.