Embrace the Pioneer Sprit With Darla Worden

Learn more about the making of the March/April 2023 issue

Ed Letter Por Copy

As the great-granddaughter of homesteaders, I have a family album that includes a yellowed photo of a “soddie” on a Montana claim—a primitive cabin built into a hillside with a sod roof, where my maternal relatives lived while building their home. Maybe I inherited this interest in the intrepid settlers who came west and their innovations born of necessity—using whatever materials were handy. I’ve been delighted to see the Western vernacular appearing in new home construction, including green roofs, modern farmhouses with gables, silos, dogtrots and barn shapes.

In this issue, the modern farmhouse appears in several stories: In “Home Sweet Second Home,” a Driggs, Idaho, home was designed from memories of the 1920s farmhouse where designer Jacie Coleman grew up. In Aspen, a family built a retreat on a corner lot near the West End’s cultural offerings. “We built a mountain farmhouse,” says architect Scott Gillespie, “with a touch of Napa Valley chic.” Another familiar historical form appears in “The Long View,” where a Chicago couple built a “barndominium” as a guesthouse/barn on 35 acres, while they decide their next steps.

As the past informs the present, we see its influence in “Take a Seat,” an interview with Jeremiah Young on his love of chairs, finding inspiration in classical forms such as the wingback chair and vintage Western Molesworth designs. Brian Pickering, founder of St. Johns Supply Company, also finds ideas in vintage designs; he likes to take leather bags apart to see how they were created. Timeless leatherwork examples like classic Coach bags are a primary influence.

Each year, we share our list of the top builders in the Mountain West, the talented firms who create the bespoke homes found in every issue of Mountain Living. You’ll find this year’s list on page 164.

And March and April herald the return of spring skiing—don’t miss our digital story for the best deals at mountainliving.com/23springski. Meet you for après at the Mangy Moose!

Categories: On Location