A Teton Home With Heritage

This Wyoming home takes its cues from the homeowners’ heritage

Photography by Tuck Fauntleroy

The homeowners had been spending time in Wyoming since 1995; nine years ago they moved from Chicago to the Wyoming/Idaho border, just over the pass from Jackson Hole. They were living between Driggs and Victor, Idaho, in a house they’d designed and built, when they purchased 40 acres of ranch property on the edge of Teton County, Wyoming. Their idea was to build a couple of cabins and a garage while waiting for their own home to sell, at which point they’d start on the main house. Their best-laid plans were thrown into disarray, however, when their home sold so quickly they found themselves scrambling to figure out their next move.

Oak logs milled in Tennessee, local stone and cheerful blue trim define a home on the Wyoming/Idaho border, just over the pass from Jackson Hole.

Two handsome cabins, constructed of square oak logs milled in Tennessee, had already been completed. The garage was in progress. The owners, who acted as their own contractors, made a quick decision to turn the garage into a two-bedroom guest-suite component, then join all three buildings together to create a long, rambling 6,000-square-foot structure. “The idea was sort of like [what you see in the] Adirondacks, where you have buildings attached by covered porches,” explains the wife.

White trim, chinking and ceilings counteract the kitchen’s dark logs, reclaimed wood island and low ceilings.

That decision, combined with some unusual design details that reflect the couple’s personal history, gave rise to a look that suggests a classic rural residence that has been added onto over years as a family evolved and its needs expanded. The result is a home with interest and character—and enough unusual details to suggest a story.

Outdoor spaces with mountain views are furnished with antiques from a Wisconsin dealer.

That story begins with the exterior. Although built of logs, their square shape and the noticeable white chinking between them speaks to cabin construction typical of Tennessee, the husband’s home state and the source of the logs. Meanwhile, a light blue trim highlighting some of the primary windows, the white-painted frames on all the windows, and the laser-cut shapes in the panels of the second-story screened porch (as well as an interior staircase) nod to the wife’s Swedish heritage. These are unusual touches that play well against the dark logs, lighten the whole structure and convey a welcoming aspect.

The 6,000-square-foot home began as two guest cabins and a garage before being connected. In the enclosed breezeway: brown mohair chairs from Hickory Chair and an antique tilting wine table. The rug is from vintage kilim rugs patterned after a British flag.

Antique hutch from France, Cisco Brothers chairs and a custom table from Packsaddle Road in Tetonia, Idaho, create a timeless, inviting interior.

Inside, designer Kim Jennings of Ski Hill Home embraced the human-scaled series of rooms by playing up their coziness and making best use of the couple’s artwork, rugs and furniture, many of which were antique, collected over a lifetime. She kept the upholstery neutral, so as not to make the rooms too busy, and sourced simple lighting fixtures for the ambience they created. Jennings also chose the white trim and chinking. “The porches are great for keeping everything cool,” she explains, “and they’re necessary because this area gets so much snow (500 inches on average)—we always joke it’s like living in a snow globe! But they make the rooms dark.”

In a dining area, white walls and light gray trim lend a spaciousness and airiness.

For the family room fireplace, Jennings selected old handmade bricks from Pennsylvania to imbue the cabin with age.

There are many special elements in the house, such as three stone patios, including a large one with outdoor fireplace that steps down from and doubles the kitchen space; two open bedrooms and a shared bath over the family room, an arrangement designed for children; and a study carved out of a long hallway that leads to a far-away bedroom and the master bedroom stairs. A roomy, light-filled greenhouse with a white ceiling, skylights and shelves custom made from vintage scalloped trim is attached to the home by a covered porch. But the most unusual feature may be the second-story porch, screened on three sides, that overlooks an open, level expanse to spectacular mountain views. The property, which has a spring, a creek and a pond, enjoys full-on views of Grand Targhee ski resort to the east, best viewed from a wicker chair on the front porch.

A Cisco Brothers bed and Visual Comfort lamps combine with a WRJ Design mount and vintage Midwestern trunk.

Master bath built-ins make clever use of a sloped ceiling.

The porch—indeed, the home—has the feel of an earlier era. And while it is not afraid to embrace a sense of intimacy, so common in homesteader days and so important during Wyoming’s long winters, it still embodies all the comforts of today.

A combination of metal and shake roofs with varying rooflines helps the structure blend into its setting amid mature trees.


One way to lessen the impact of building on a pristine property is to strive to make the new construction look as if it’s always been there. A house can be brand new, possess clean lines, and be state-of-the-art in its technology yet still be designed to display instant character. To achieve this effect, interior designer Kim Jennings suggests:
RECLAIMED MATERIALS The homeowners of this Teton County home incorporated repurposed hand-hewn beams, exterior barnwood and old bricks in the living room fireplace and above the range in the kitchen. Antique oak in wide planks was used for the flooring. FAMILY ANTIQUES such as mismatched chairs around the dining room table, and sourced items such as the vintage distressed leather chair and ottoman in the family room, give interiors a lived-in feel. SMALL DETAILS like dentil molding above the doors and windows contribute to the authentic look of an old house. EFFICIENT USE OF SPACE For a new home to look old, it helps if none of the rooms are too big; homesteaders had no use for wasted space.

Mark Dowson and Dan Peroso INTERIOR DESIGN Ski Hill Home / Kim Jennings

As seen in the September/October 2019 issue

Categories: Rustic Homes