An Architect Designs His Own Luxury Amangani Home
An idyllic retreat on Jackson's luxury resort land
Photos by Roger Wade
Jackson, Wyoming, is an idyllic spot, and Amangani—a jewel in the global Aman luxury resort chain—is a distillation of its blissful beauty. So it’s no wonder that architect Tom Taylor and his wife snatched one of the Amangani’s residential lots to create a spectacular retirement retreat of their own.
Taylor, a principal at Connecticut-based Soyster Taylor Design, knew that the resort would impose some design restrictions. “The concept for the development was a village-like cluster of similar homes all hugging the butte while blending in with their surroundings and each other,” he explains. “As an architect, I was willing to accept this knowing the homes around me would have a certain quality of design and materials. It was a language that I was able to use while still expressing my own design.”
The small lot the Taylors chose had a breathtaking view of the Teton and Snake River ranges, but it was narrow, steep and tricky. “It’s tucked into a bend in the butte and nestled below the top of the ridge, providing a very private setting,” Taylor says. Recognizing the unusual site’s potential, the architect embraced the challenge: “The slope of the lot was a real constraint, as it limited the amount of land we were allowed to build on,” he explains. “To creatively make opportunities of these restrictions, we organized the house along a gallery space that runs the length of the house on two levels.”
— Architect Tom Taylor
The home’s materials blend easily with the surrounding landscape—both natural and manmade. “We used the same farmer’s stone, redwood siding, cedar shake roof, log columns and sanded concrete terrace material as the hotel,” Taylor explains. The sod roofs are planted with native grasses, and “the exterior redwood siding and stone walls flow through the windows to become the interior walls, further blurring the distinction between inside and out,” Taylor says. Mahogany cabinetry, doors and floors offer natural warmth accented by the neutral color palette of the home’s furnishings, “allowing the colors of nature throughout the seasons to be the star of the show.”
“The view was the driving force for most design decisions,” Taylor says. Two nearly identical master suites are located at either end of the home, with shared gathering spaces—including the combined kitchen/dining/living space of the great room—nestled in between. Rooms are strategically positioned to take advantage of the sweeping vistas. On the lower level, exercise and office spaces face the mountains, while the movie theater and storage closets are tucked away. On the main floor, full-height glass windows open the great room and master bedrooms to the outdoors. The S-shaped glass panels are an unusual touch: “The curve adds a dynamic aspect to the flow of space between the great room and the view beyond,” Taylor notes.
Custom furnishings, including the built-in platform beds, day beds, windows seats and desks, were designed by the architect/homeowner. The sleek steel dining table is also a Taylor creation, contrasting with the home’s many rich wood surfaces.
Outside, a series of terraces are ideal for entertaining, connected by stairways and leading to a spa pool. The spaces allow for privacy yet still harmonize with the natural environment. “The landscape quickly gives way to the sagebrush and spring flowers,” Taylor says.
It’s a fascinating vantage point from which to enjoy the daily drama of Jackson’s weather and wilderness. “The expansive glass opens us up to nature at all times of the year, whether it’s green landscape or wonderful snow drifts,” Taylor says. “The very private setting makes us feel we are part of nature.”
“Sunsets over the mountains are always a special treat no matter the season,” says architect/homeowner Tom Taylor.
Taylor played with erasing boundaries between interior and exterior: redwood siding and stone walls appear on both sides of the divide, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the great room. The corner window cleverly pockets into the chimney, and S-shaped curved glass panels create a billowing effect.
Spacious upper and lower terraces step down the hillside. Taylor designed the kitchen’s mahogany cabinetry to harmonize with the redwood walls.
Leathered black granite countertops and the Taylor-designed steel dining table contrast with the wood.
A long gallery spans the house. A colonnade marks the dramatic entry porch, which is approached by a minimalist stepping-stone bridge spanning a dry creek bed.
The home’s interiors are airy and natural, with a restrained color palette: “We kept it rather neutral so that the ever-changing landscape colors create the real color palette,” Taylor
The great room is simple and elegant, with Asian rawhide-webbed dining chairs, paper-shaded pendant lights by Santa & Cole, and fresh seating by Kravet.
Each of the master suites is a retreat unto itself, with panoramic views and homey comforts. Taylor designed the built-in furniture, including the platform king bed with redwood plank headboard and cantilevered canopy.
The bathroom’s mahogany cabinets are topped with leathered granite and lit by glass “Fino” pendants by Tech Lighting.
The sitting area offers a daybed for gazing at the views and a desk and shelves for workday tasks.
Granting privacy to guests is an important part of helping them to fully relax and enjoy their stay. In this home, architect Tom Taylor designed not just one but two knock-out master suites with the luxurious amenities of a fine mountain resort. Here, he shares some insider tips for creating sensational, self-sufficient spaces.
Separate but equal: Positioned at opposite ends of the home, the two virtually identical master suites allow two couples to happily share the home. “It really allows you to nestle into your own world for the day, with a good book and drinks and snacks, if you don’t feel like interacting.”
Suite treats: Each suite has its own small food and beverage center, complete with a compact sink, refrigerator and freezer drawers, and a counter surface for a coffee maker.
Quiet comforts: Taylor designed each suite to include a cozy daybed, work-friendly desk and a closet equipped with a full-size washer and dryer.