A Rustic Chalet-Like Mountain Retreat in Jackson
An Ohio couple assembles a top-notch team to bring their vision of a mountain home near the ski runs in Jackson to fruition
Ohio residents Phil and Barb Derrow have a tradition whenever they build a new home. Before the project officially kicks off, they gather friends and family for a champagne-fueled celebration. Afterward, they christen the project by discarding the empty bottles into the foundation. “That was Barb’s idea 25 years ago, and we’ve done it at every home we’ve done since,” Phil says. “Our home is built on a party.”
A skiing enthusiast and self-described “adrenaline junkie,” Phil has been visiting Jackson since the mid-1980s, when he fell in love with both the steep slopes and the community itself. While Barb prefers to “cruise the blues,” she says, of the moderately difficult runs, Phil skis the entire mountain. “I love the cold, the snow, the speed and the exhilaration,” he says.
After dipping their toes in the water with a timeshare condo, the couple bought a forested one-acre ski-in, ski-out property located about a mile away from Grand Teton National Park.
There they built a charming dwelling featuring Montana moss stone walls, reclaimed barnwood siding and a mix of metal and cedar shake roofing. “We want any who enter to be comfortable whether they’re coming in from skiing in the winter or hiking in the park in the summer,” Phil says.
Large flat-top granite pavers lead through native grasses to the tall front door, which, illuminated by a gas lantern, creates a welcoming first impression. “The architecture is rustic, but it’s done in a fresh way,” says interior designer Rush Jenkins, pointing to the barnwood sliding window shutters and unusual cupola.
The project was not without its challenges. During the excavation, builders Chad Grohne and Trevor Klein hit five springheads, which required them to dig down many feet below slab grade and fill it with wash rock and drains. Not to mention the snowfall—nearly 700 inches that winter. “The amount of snow that we had to export was phenomenal,” Grohne says. “It was kind of a fun challenge.”
The entire team worked closely together, sourcing reclaimed wood, materials and furnishings from all over the country. At one point in the project, Phil suggested the team fly to Denver to look at stone samples. Ultimately, they selected leathered granite slabs with chiseled edges, which can be found throughout the home. “Phil had some wonderful ideas,” says interior designer Renee Crawford, who worked closely with Jenkins on the finishes and furnishings.
Indeed, a talented woodworker with his own shop, Phil also had a hand in selecting the reclaimed wood used throughout. The naturally fumed oak flooring, for instance, was originally used for chicken coops. And the ceiling boards in the great room were once tables used to grow mushrooms in abandoned West Virginia mines—just two of the many examples throughout.
Jenkins and Crawford juxtaposed those hand-hewn elements with more contemporary furnishings. In the living room, a hand-made wool rug in dark blue and gray grounds a streamlined sectional sofa and a pair of modern teak-framed chairs around a curly figured walnut cocktail table Phil built in his workshop. ”The client wanted a unique, original home that was inviting and casual yet luxurious,” Jenkins explains.
A three-tiered metal chandelier both calls attention to the high ceilings and coordinates with the metal stairway railing, which is made from vintage railroad track. A second track serves as the footrest for the well-stocked bar in the lower-level family room. “I bought 100 feet or so and had it shipped to metalworkers in Jackson,” Phil says. “They heated it in a long forge and whacked on it with hammers until it looked nice and rustic.”
That mix of influences is a hallmark of the design. For evidence, look at the dining area, where a custom wrought-iron chandelier with hand-blown glass globes inspired by organic forms illuminates a round wooden table and upholstered chairs. “It’s not as masculine, so it helps to create a balance in that space,” Crawford says.
And the powder room’s elegant hanging glass sconces, linen wallcovering and brown leather-framed mirror juxtapose with the more rustic sink, which is carved from a massive 700- pound boulder that was excavated from the site and hung by steel on a wood accent wall. “It’s like a symphony in that you have multiple instruments that come together in harmony to create a wonderful score,” Jenkins suggests.
The social couple have hosted many visitors and a number of parties since they moved in two years ago, including one for the entire design and construction crew and their families to celebrate the culmination of a long, collaborative project. “It wouldn’t be the same house without all of the players working together to make it something special,” Phil says. “The design process can be a fair amount of work, but it’s a lot of fun. We couldn’t be happier with everything.”
HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL, ONE-OF-A-KIND LOOK
Faced with the opportunity to build the ski retreat of their dreams, Phil and Barb Derrow looked far and wide for interior materials and finishes. The result is an eclectic space that combines rusticity, sophistication and a bit of whimsy. Here’s how to do it at home.
INCORPORATE PIECES FROM YOUR TRAVELS. During a journey to Morocco, the couple purchased a number of rarified items, including an antique Berber granary door and many of the rugs throughout. “The discovery of opening the crates reminded me of Christmas,” says interior designer Renee Crawford. USE YOUR IMAGINATION. The stairway railing is made from vintage railroad track, the floors from reclaimed chicken coop boards, and the sink in the powder room is carved into a 700-pound granite boulder. “It’s a wow moment, a little jewel box,” says interior designer Rush Jenkins. LEAN INTO LUXURY. A contrast to the rustic envelope, the furnishings include handmade rugs and tailored pieces by Ralph Lauren covered in cashmere, mohair, suede and leather. MAKE IT YOURSELF. An accomplished woodworker, Phil made the walnut cocktail table in his own workshop. “What made this a very unique and personal experience was the enthusiastic involvement of the client from beginning to end,” Jenkins says.
As seen in the September/October 2020 issue
GREAT ROOM SECTIONAL in Slate Chenille Fabric from EJ Victor CHAIR Wood Club Chair in Teak Wood with Linen from EJ Victor CLUB CHAIR in Leather with Nail Heads | Whip Stitching and Tassel Detail from EJ Victor RUG Hand Knotted with Hand Spun Wool in Afghanistan from Amadi Carpets CHANDELIER Hand Blown Glass Cylinders from Ironware International SIDE TABLE Onyx from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams SIDE TABLE Petrified Wood with Iron Base from Asian Loft DRAPERY Custom PENDANTS in Iron Finish from Arteriors COUNTER STOOLS in Walnut Wood with Hair on Hide Leather in Light Brindle from TOWN DINING ROOM TABLE in Mahogany Wood with Hewn Hazel Finish from Theodore Alexander CHAIRS from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams CLUB CHAIR in Chocolate Brown Leather with Nail Head Trim from EJ Victor CHANDELIER in Bronze Finish from Hammerton MASTER BEDROOM BED in Walnut Wood Finish with Loro Piana Fabric and Nail Heads from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams NIGHT STAND in Walnut Wood Custom ANTIQUE TRUNK from India Circa 1930 from Asian Loft RUG Hand Knotted with Hand Spun Wool in Afghanistan from Amadi Carpets CHAIR from Baker Furniture SIDE TABLE in Travertine Stone Top with Iron Base from Bernhardt Furniture CHEST OF DRAWERS in Carved Waxed Oak from EJ Victor PENDANT in Black Finish with LED Lighting from Hubbardton Forge WINDOW TREATMENTS in Loro Piana Fabric Custom WALL COVERING in Tweed Hibernian Beige from Phillip Jeffries MASTER BATHROOM PENDANTS in Bronze w/Etched Crystal from Visual Comfort SCONCE in Bronze w/Etched Crystal from Visual Comfort OFFICE DESK in Walnut with Hand Forged Steel Base from Erickson Woodworking ARMCHAIR from Erickson Woodworking RECLINER in leather from Hoff Miller WINDOW TREATMENTS Custom POWDER ROOM PENDANTS in Bronze from Thomas Lavin WALL COVERING in Flannel Beige from Egg and Dart LEATHER FRAMED MIRROR from Schmidts Framing WINDOW TREATMENTS in Loro Piana Fabric Custom BUNK ROOM WINDOW TREATMENTS AND DECORATIVE PILLOWS from Arpin