Pristine and Rustic in Idaho
After years of vacationing in the area, an Oregon couple purchases a pristine Idaho property and a deconstructed Hudson Valley barn to go with it
Idaho equals relaxation and recreation for an Oregon couple, who spent summers there with their sons to visit family and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and skiing. During a hike in the mountains of Central Idaho one summer, they had an epiphany: The time was right to plant their own flag there. “We realized that we should do this, and I’m so thankful that we did,” the wife says. “Everything came together.” It wasn’t long before they heard about a property overlooking a serene river, with mountains in every direction. They bought the site, residing in a 600-square-foot A-frame on the land while they contemplated the sort of home they wanted to build. After much research, they purchased a Dutch barn that had originally stood in New York’s Hudson Valley, soon commissioning Miller Roodell Architects and Sawtooth Valley Builders to reimagine it for its spectacular new locale. “We didn’t want a new house, so we created a set of principles with our team to stay as authentic as possible,” the husband says.
Built with mortise-and-tenon joinery, the structure boasted an open first floor once used for livestock and a loft area where hay was stored. To accommodate the conservation easement on the property, the new owners had the timbers cut and lowered the roof on two sides, minimizing its visual impact on the land. And to handle the area’s heavy snowfalls, some of the timbers have been hollowed out to conceal a steel skeleton. “It was a unique opportunity to build around this piece of history,” explains architect Matt Miller.
The area’s prodigious snows proved challenging for builder Keith Reese, who often employed snowmobiles and snowcats to reach the site. The result, however, was worth the effort. “The people that put it together for the first time did a good job, and I hope we did them justice when we put it back together,” he says. “It’s a bit of authentic American history that kind of bridges the gap between east and west.”
It also links the past and present. While the barn is eminently rustic, for example, the architects incorporated a new stairway with a modern steel railing. And to humanize the space, they lowered the ceiling in the kitchen, where plaster walls play off the rustic wood boards. With little space for often unused bedrooms, the architects opted for two bedrooms on the main level supplemented by built-in bunks in the loft. Sliding panels allow them to be closed off when not in use.
Perhaps most strikingly, they designed a two-story fireplace that tapers toward the ceiling using locally harvested field-stones. “They were excited to have this powerful element in the room,” says architect Chris Clay. “It’s a very traditional look for this kind of architecture.”
Every decision was vetted by the owners, who regularly led meetings during the nearly two-year project. In addition, the couple spearheaded the interior design, searching the internet day and night for rarified pieces that would complement the barn. Among their finds is an industrial half-metal, half-wooden table originally used to build aircraft during World War II. Illuminated by a pair of Indian grain bins-turned-pendants, it makes a wonderfully intimate dining table.
Boasting a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, both covered and uncovered, the result lives up to their expectations and then some. It proved to be a magical setting for their oldest son’s nuptials, which included the wedding itself and a series of dinners. And while the house is perfect for just the two of them, they love that their adult children and family friends seem so drawn to the place. “It’s become more of a family headquarters than we ever imagined,” the wife says. “It works just beautifully.”
MAKE IT PERSONAL
To furnish their reconstructed Dutch barn-turned-mountain retreat, the owners eschewed traditional furniture stores, instead scouring the internet for the sort of rarified pieces with the kind of soul the structure merited.
Converted into pendants, for example, a pair of Indian grain bins illuminate a narrow counter-height workbench from a World War II aircraft factory in Long Island, New York. “It creates an intimate dining situation where people are a little bit closer together,” the husband explains. And the weighty, patinated marble-topped island (a great find that sold for about $60 in 1930) served as a printing table in its first incarnation. “You could never duplicate it with new,” the husband says. It was kismet or “dumb luck,” as the husband put it, when they discovered the old fire door that they purchased from a separate vendor in New York City, from the same factory where the printer’s table was made. Often shipped by smaller outfits, one piece arrived in the middle of the night; another via a horse trailer in a snowstorm. But the owners say there’s nothing like living with such pieces. “We started getting into the history of these pieces, and it was fascinating,” the wife says. “That made it deeply personal.”
ARCHITECTURE Miller Roodell Architects
CONSTRUCTION Sawtooth Valley Builders
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING Liv Jensen
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Field Studio Landscape Architects
BARN PROCUREMENT Heritage Restorations and Construction
LIGHTING DESIGN AND SPECIFICATION Robinson Design
ENERGY SYSTEM APPROACH AND SPECIFICATION John Reuter Greenworks
PHOTOGRAPHY Lucy Call
MUDROOM BENCH by Rejuvenation TABLE by Fireside Antiques from 1st Dibs LIGHT FIXTURE by Antique Alley LIGHT FIXTURE by RR Custom Design RUG by Pendleton Woolen Mills KITCHEN ISLAND by Rejuvenation PANTRY DOOR by Richmond Fire Proof Door Company from Olde Good Things STOOLS by Toledo Metal Furniture Co from 1st Dibs LIGHT FIXTURE from Old School Warehouse RUG from Kilim DINING ROOM TABLE by Hallowell Manufacturing Co. from Garange Industrial CHAIRS by Crate & Barrel LIGHT FIXTURES from Asia America CONSOLE by Liz Spradling Antiques from 1st Dibs CABINET by Otto’s Antiques from 1st Dibs BUREAU from Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage LIVING ROOM COUCH, CHAIR and OTTOMANS by RH COFFEE and SIDE TABLES by RH CHAIRS by Calico Corners CONSOLE from Asia America CHANDELIER by Fish Fisher from Fish’s Antler Art WALL ART by Honefoss Norway from Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage FIREPLACE ART by David R. Stoecklein from Stoecklein Photography RUG by RH MAIN BEDROOM SIDE TABLES from Olde Good Things HEADBOARD by La Lune Collection RUG by Kilim WALL ART by David R. Stoecklein from Stoecklein Photography GUEST ROOM ARMOIRE by The Antique Warehouse from 1st Dibs HEADBOARD by la Lune Collection LIGHT FIXTURES by RH WALL ART by David R. Stoecklein from Stoecklein Photography LOFT RUG by Pendleton Woolen Mills END TABLES and COFFEE TABLE by RH SCREENED PORCH CONSOLE from Asia America COFFEE TABLE by Maitland-Smith from Kubisak Modern Design FURNITURE by La Lune Collection DINING FURNITURE by Old Hickory Furniture Co. WREATH by Fish Fisher from Fish’s Antler Art COVERED PORCH and DECK TABLE from Past Perfect FURNITURE by Old Hickory Furniture Co.