A Jackson Home That Promotes Wellness
Sustainable materials, biophilic accents and accessible design promote peace in a modern mountain home
It’s not often that a designer goes back to school to design her own house, but Patricia Kennedy had a vision.
Soon to be an empty nester, the Connecticut-based designer was imagining her next phase of life. She had lived in cities around the world but now found herself drawn to a nature-oriented lifestyle. A native of Texas, she knew and loved the West and was attracted to Jackson, Wyoming, for its scenery, wildlife, outdoor lifestyle and lack of development sprawl. The original plan was to buy a home, but between touring homes that didn’t resonate, she took a drive up a butte south of town and stumbled across a “for sale” sign on an extraordinarily dramatic site: a five-acre parcel perched on the northernmost edge of a steep ridge overlooking the valley and facing the Tetons. The sense of space and light, the grandeur of the mountains, the feeling of being actively immersed in the environment—from sunrises and sunsets to summer thunderstorms and winter whiteouts—were exhilarating.
Rendezvous Design’s principal designer had lived in New York, studied in Paris and spent eight years in Asia. She had made a thorough study of wellness design, including feng shui and wabi-sabi, and this had come to be the focus of her design work. For her home she was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, acclaimed for its clarity of expression and connection to nature. To attain greater expertise, Kennedy embarked on a degree at New York School of Interior Design, where she was also studying sustainable, accessible and biophilic (inspired by nature) design while collaborating with Northworks Architects on the conceptualization of the structure and Teton Heritage Builders on the construction.
The two-level, 4,800-square-foot residence harmonizes with the landscape through sustainable materials of barnwood, Accoya and metal. The reverse-living program includes the living spaces, primary suite and outdoor decks upstairs and three bedrooms, game room and spa on the lower level. The heart of the home is the great room, where panoramic glazing creates an observatory for migrating wildlife, the changing seasons and spectacular Teton views.
“When you find a piece of land like that, with those views, you’re like ‘now we have to build.’ It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We found that perfect fit.”
——Homeowner Patricia Kennedy
In designing, Kennedy prioritized wellness-inducing principles— honoring sightlines, introducing natural elements and engaging the five senses—while respecting the tenets of feng shui and energy flow. The interiors employ sustainability (low-VOC materials, Energy Star appliances, zero-waste company collaborations), biophilic accents and accessible design. Biophilia was pursued in textured walnut flooring, pebbled tiles, forested wallpapers, mineral furnishings, organic textiles, fire and water elements and views. Aging-in-place was addressed through single-level living, accessible appliances and storage, nonslip flooring, smart lighting and shading and a future elevator shaft. A cedar-lined Finnish sauna, eucalyptus-infused steam shower, chromotherapy soaking tub and 10-person outdoor hot tub promote wellness.
The home was featured in the 2021 Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes, where Kennedy found visitors lingering, hanging out on the deck, relaxing on the sofas and enjoying the swing in the corner of the great room. They were also full of questions about biophilic design. “People like to learn new things; they were so interested,” she says. “I think the purpose of living here is to honor sense of place. By incorporating biophilia you make the home feel really grounded and connected. People felt that when they came in.”
“It’s such a privilege to live in nature,” she adds. “It’s an amazing opportunity to have infinite landscape and see wildlife every day and be immersed in all that nature has to offer. It’s very therapeutic. And I think that’s what we were looking for.”
Rendezvous Design’s wellness methodology is guided by engaging the trio of mind, body and senses. These wellness-centric strategies create a canvas for calm. They inspire relaxation, rejuvenation and a sense of well-being.
MIND Consider gaze sequencing (how one experiences the views) and enhance, by way of spatial navigation and energy flow, each person’s journey through the home in order to highlight key design features and create a connection to nature. BODY Plan for the future through accessibility design, including one-floor living and layered LED lighting for multigenerational usability and long-term enjoyment of the home. SENSES Incorporate multisensory features like textured elements, personalized scent and nature-streaming soundscape to transform the daily living experience.
KITCHEN CABINETRY by Futura GLASS by Mountain Valley Glass STONE FABRICATION by R & J Custom Countertops FLOORING by Fates Flooring