Modern Yet Western With a Strong Connection to Land

A North Carolina couple found a Wyoming site that became their family compound
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Landscape architects enlarged the pond. At water’s edge, they planted willow, red-twig dogwood, and red-twig alder. For dryer areas, they chose aspen, spruce, hawthorn, choke cherry and cottonwoods. | Photography by Roger Davies

When the homeowners, a North Carolina couple, first glimpsed the site in northwest Wyoming that would eventually become their family compound, they could see its potential. All around there was a glorious sweep of mountains that were reflected in the then-overgrown and unkempt pond. As soon as the paperwork was signed, they reached out to architect Ken Pursley of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Pursley Dixon Architecture, with whom they had worked on previous projects.

“They wanted something Western but without the heaviness of oversize logs or overscale boulders,” says Pursley. “In addition, the husband leans more modern while the wife likes a warmer and more traditional look.” Pursley goes on to say that both husband and wife absolutely agreed about what they wanted most—a physical and emotional connection to the land, the water and the views.

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A “ruined” stone fireplace anchors the living room. Retractable doors can be tucked out of sight, completely opening the room to nature. Artwork, mostly from local artists, gives the home a sense of place.

Working with the clients’ ideas, Pursley Dixon Architecture designed a rustic-modern home with a strong connection to nature, effectively blurring the distinction between inside and out. When it is warm and sunny, the large doors in the great room can be completely folded out of sight. When it is cold and wintry, the snow-covered landscape can be admired through triple-paned glass from the coziness of a fireside seat.

Durable, earthy materials—wood, stone and metal—were used throughout the house, both outside and in. “We used corral board extensively because it has weathered naturally to a soft gray,” says Pursley. “We are thinking of it almost like leather chaps that get better with age.”

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The kitchen is a central gathering place. A cantilevered concrete slab island is a workspace; the cooking area is lined in blackened steel; the fridge and storage cupboards are clad in naturally weathered corral board. “For beauty and simplicity, we used a limited palette—wood, stone, and metal,” says architect Ken Pursley.

The home is definitely Western but not Western-themed. “We used some cowhide and antlers but kept that at a minimum,” says interior designer Bronwyn Ford of Pursley Dixon Ford Interior Design. Artwork, mostly from local artists, gives the home a sense of place. “The public spaces set out to impress but are functional and fulfill multiple purposes,” Ford says. “The more private rooms focus on calmness and relaxation.” The second-floor sitting room, for example, is a quiet retreat that offers serene views of the pond.

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The huge kitchen and dining area are the heart of the home; varying ceiling heights delineate each area. A cantilevered concrete slab island anchors the kitchens, providing prep space and at-counter seating. The stone-framed cooking area is lined with blackened steel; storage and appliances are clad in repurposed corral board. Behind the scenes, a substantial pantry serves as a support area for the kitchen/dining space.

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Outdoors, the goal was simple: don’t let landscape design get in the way of the natural experience. The owners wanted to create a healthy wetlands and hemi-marsh system that would attract migratory birds and waterfowl. Agrostis, Inc., a Jackson, Wyoming- based landscape architecture firm with a deep knowledge of native flora, was engaged. “There are some manicured areas, but, in general, the landscape is wild and natural,” says landscape architect Heath Kuszak, who, along with his partner R. Jason Snider, worked on the project.

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A slot opening cut through the stone wall in the entry hall provides an unexpected peek into the kitchen and living room beyond.

In many ways, this rustic-modern home is a complete departure from the homeowners’ gracious family home in North Carolina, but one thing remains the same: the porch. In the South, porches are a place of socialization and storytelling. Here, the porch is where they can greet arriving guests, welcoming them for a drink … for dinner … for a long weekend.

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GET REAL

When outdoor vistas become such a large part of a home’s interior, it is best to step back and let nature shine. Interior designer Bronwyn Ford, of Pursley Dixon Ford Interior Design, offers a few suggestions.

ECHO THE COLORS AND TEXTURES OF THE OUTDOORS with materials like warm woods, nature’s colors and organically inspired fabrics to make you feel connected to the outdoors. USE A NEUTRAL, TONAL PALETTE but keep it from feeling flat and boring by blending smooth and rough textures and materials (linen, wool, cotton, silk) to create balance in a room and harmony with nature. ALWAYS CON-SIDER CONTRASTS (warm/cool, smooth/rough, soft/hard, light/dark, old/new) when imagining the interior décor of a room. AUTHENTICITY IS KEY in materials, furnishings and collections of art and decorative objects.

DESIGN DETAILS

ARCHITECTURE Pursley Dixon Architecture INTERIOR DESIGN Pursley Dixon Ford Interior Design LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Agrotis, Inc. CONSTRUCTION OSM Construction

RESOURCES

Categories: Contemporary Homes