Set in Stone

A spacious new abode that combines Craftsman and Asian architectural styles blends into a wooded property along the Big Wood River in Sun Valley

Photography by Roger Wade

After raising their children in a 3,000-square-foot log cabin on a two-acre lot located between the Big Wood River and Bald Mountain in Sun Valley, the owners decided to replace it with a larger abode, inviting the family to watch—tearfully in their adult daughter’s case—as the excavator demolished their beloved house. “My father said that this would break some men,” the husband recalls. “It was a day of mixed emotions.”

An Ultrasuede wall covering by Gina Berschneider complements the stone walls, tile floors and woodwork in the large entry foyer, which is furnished with an armoire by Norton Design Approach and a console table by Vance Hamerstadt.

Although it was difficult in many respects, the husband also caught himself smiling at times. After all, he knew what architect Jim McLaughlin and interior designer Marybeth Norton had in mind for the new dwelling: a sprawling stone and cedar-sided lodge with Craftsman and Asian influences. The home’s two-tiered roofline integrates the central two-story structure with a single-story guesthouse along one side and the garage on the other. “It’s a large home, so we tried to break down the scale,” McLaughlin says.

Highlighted by wall sconces from Holly Hunt, a wall clad with Rain Forest stone adds a graphic statement in the powder room.

The designer used the same approach inside. In the great room, for example, Norton lined the area between the ceiling beams with Ultrasuede, and she created panels for the double-height fireplace with hand-stitched boar leather with a grid-like bronze reveal. “It really creates a warmth of texture and cuts the stone, so it doesn’t feel too castle-like,” Norton says.

Illuminated by one of two wooden pendant lights by Norton Design Approach, the dining table is surrounded by a mix of chairs, including upholstered ones by Gregorius Pineo from Kneedler Fauch`ere.

Two large custom wood light fixtures with a decidedly Japanese/Craftsman aesthetic define the living and dining areas. In front of the ceramic tile-clad fireplace, a pair of large chenille-upholstered sofas creates a relaxed spot for long conversations. Matching metal Vietnamese rain drums and an antique leather-covered gymnasium platform serve as cocktail tables. “There are a mix of styles, but they all have a Craftsman quality,” Norton says.

Carpeting by Hokanson from Scott Group Studio fosters comfort and relaxation in the master bedroom; the upholstered bed is by Norton Design Approach.

The Asian/Craftsman aesthetic is even more prominent in the kitchen, where Norton incorporated custom oak perimeter cabinetry with reeded doors, and a unique countertop made of ceramic-covered lava stone panels. Along one wall, etched, patinated copper panels with a floral pattern conceal an appliance garage. “There was a lot of wood and timber, and I wanted to bring in some muted color and pattern interest,” Norton explains.

“It harkens back to a Frank Lloyd Wright spirit.”

She also designed the wooden hood over the central island, and she worked closely with McLaughlin on the latticed panels that allow the pass-through between the kitchen and great room to be closed off for catered events. Latticework also shows up on the bar face as a consistent architectural detail in the second-floor game room, where Norton covered the walls with billiard-green suede.

Asian screens from Charles Jacobsen open to the tub in the master bathroom. The large pendant light is from Lawson-Fenning. The ceramic tile inset is from Country Floors.

“The attention to detail and craftsmanship is apparent throughout the home, creating a seamless transition.” McLaughlin says. To that end, the adjacent breakfast room and nearby family rooms also sport Ultrasuede-covered walls and wood-beamed ceilings. In the family room, comfortable furnishings face a fireplace with built-in cabinetry that includes a pair of benches on either side of the thick granite hearth.

“It harkens back to a Frank Lloyd Wright spirit,” Norton explains. “There needs to be continuity between architecture and design in a project of this magnitude, and that’s what I do best.”

Knoll Sofas from RH Furniture and lounge chairs from Palecek offer the comfort of indoors on the outdoor terrace.

While there are plenty of comfy spots inside, the owners spend as much time as possible on the large covered stone patio outside the great room. In addition to hosting gatherings, it has been the site of many philanthropic events. “It’s a family home, but the homeowners are very generous about opening it up for fundraisers and charity events, and it plays very well in both scenarios,” McLaughlin says.

The home’s roofline connects the central structure with a relaxing single-story guesthouse.

Indeed, the owners recently hosted their only daughter’s wedding, watching as she and her groom exchanged vows along the banks of the river. After all, the spectacular environment is what attracted them to buy the land decades ago. “The life of the river is unchanged,” the husband says, pointing to a bald eagle flying overhead. “It’s a magical setting.”

Landscaping by Arentz Landscape Architects creates a seamless connection between the grounds and the wilderness surrounding the home, which is located on the Big Wood River.

A spacious great room with soaring ceilings makes a grand impression, but especially when coupled with stone walls, the result can feel a bit cold or even overwhelming. However,  a sense of hominess can be achieved, explain architect Jim McLaughlin and interior designer Marybeth Norton, who offered these tips:

BREAK IT DOWN To create a variety of materials and interesting shadows, McLaughlin added a wood knee-brace to the stone pillars along the front porch. Norton employed a similar approach in the cavernous great room, incorporating strong horizontal lines into the design of both the fireplace and the dining room buffet. INTRODUCE TEXTURE To both absorb sound and add subtle visual texture, Norton inlaid the ceiling beams with Ultrasuede and covered the tall fireplace wall with hand-stitched boar skin, and she incorporated plush furnishings covered in soft, textured fabrics that quiet any echoes. MAKE IT GLOW Lighting also plays a key role. Echoing the McLaughlin-designed sconces flanking the front door, a pair of custom Asian-style wood chandeliers make good use of the tall ceilings, imparting a warm evening glow. “You just don’t get a sense that this home is that large, and that was one of our goals,” McLaughlin says. “We wanted it to complement the nature that exists with the site.”


ARCHITECTURE McLaughlin & Associates Architects INTERIOR DESIGN Norton Design Approach CONSTRUCTION Wilson Construction LANDSCAPE DESIGN Arentz Landscape Architects


ENTRY WALLCOVERING Ultra Suede from Gina Berschneider CUSTOM ARMOIRE Norton Design Approach/MDesign Global CONSOLE TABLE Vance Hamerstadt GREAT ROOM WALLS Ultra Suede by Gina Berschneider FLOORS First, Last & Always Flooring CUSTOM AREA RUG Hokanson/The Scott Group CUSTOM SOFAS Norton Design Approach UPHOLSTERED WING CHAIR Gregorius Pineo/Kneedler EMBROIDERED PILLOW Villa Savoia RATCHET/ARM LOUNGE CHAIR Formations VIETNAMESE RAIN DRUMS (COCKTAIL TABLES) Charles Jacobsen VINTAGE GYMNASIUM WORKOUT LEATHER PLATFOR (COCKTAIL TABLE) J.F. Chen END TABLE LAMPS Gregorius Pineo from Kneedler-Fauchere SOFA TABLE Cache Antiques FIREPLACE WALL PANELS Boarskin Leather from The Ranch CUSTOM CABINETRY FLANKING FIREPLACE  Custom Metal Shelves/Soffit CUSTOM FIREPLACE TILE Fire Clay Tile CUSTOM FIREPLACE SCREEN Wiederick’s Custom Metal Works CUSTOM PENDANT/LANTERNS Norton Design Approach UPHOLSTERED DINING CHAIRS Gregorius Pineo from Kneedler-Fauchere CANE DINING CHAIRS McGuire (Baker) WINE ROOM CUSTOM DOOR McLaughlin Architects/Norton Design Approach WALL SCONCE Gregorius Pineo from Kneedler-Fauchere POWDER ROOM STONE WALL Rain Forest Quartz stone WALL SCONCES Holly Hunt CUSTOM VANITY AND SOFFIT Norton Design Approach FAMILY ROOM WINDOWS Conrad Blinds WALLS Ultra Suede from Gina Berschneider CUSTOM AREA RUG Hokanson/The Scott Group CUSTOM SOFA Norton Design Approach LOUNGE CHAIR Mimi London CUSTOM BUILT-IN SHELVES Norton Design Approach/MDesign Global CUSTOME FIREPLACE TILE Fire Clay Tile ANTIQUE JAPANESE CHESTS Charles Jacobsen BREAKFAST ROOM WINDOWS Conrad Blinds WALLS Ultra Suede from Gina Berschneider ANTIQUE BUFFET CABINET Charles Jacobsen ANTIQUE GREEN & GREENE LANTERN PENDANT J.F. Chen KITCHEN CUSTOM CABINETRY/HOOD-VENT COVER Norton Design Approach/MDesign Global CUSTOM ETCHED COPPER PANELS Norton Design Approach/MDesign Global COUNTERTOPS Concept Studios MASTER BEDROOM CUSTOM FLOORCOVERING Hokanson/The Scott Group WINDOWCOVERING Custom Embroidery by Billa Savoia, CUSTOM UPHOLSTERED BED Norton Design Approach CUSTOM CHEST Norton Design Approach MASTER BATH FLOOR TILE Country Floors ANTIQUE ASIAN SCREENS Charles Jacobsen PENDANT LIGHT Lawson-Fenning EXTERIOR TERRACE SOFAS RH Furniture LOUNGE CHAIRS Palacek

Categories: Rustic Homes