Southern Accents

A multigenerational retreat mixes rugged Western materials and elegant Southern comforts

When describing the idyllic 20-acre Jackson, Wyoming, setting where he was commissioned to create a three-generation family retreat, architect Jerry Locati resorts to a Hollywood-perfect comparison: “Picture A River Runs Through It,” he suggests. “A river does run parallel with the site, and there’s a bird refuge, golf, fishing, hunting and skiing all nearby, plus spectacular views of the Tetons. This property has it all.”

A grand site, however, does not always translate into an inviting home. The challenge faced by Locati and project architect Darin Hoekema, both of Bozeman-based Locati Architects, was to celebrate the glorious setting with a traditional Western vernacular while combining it with the sort of elegant comforts one might associate with the homeowners’ native South.

The solution lay in finding a middle ground between rusticity and refinement. Since the house is intended as a getaway for the owners, their grown children and grandchildren, the design was sensitive to the requirements of a multigenerational family. Varied rooflines and angled walls break up the 8,000 square feet of living space into what looks like several smaller structures that might have been joined together over time. “It gives the house the feeling of a compound,” Locati explains.

Using regional materials consistent with the environment was a priority, according to Locati. The design team chose sustainably reclaimed timbers and barn boards; Chief Cliff stone, a type of slate quarried in Montana; and custom metalwork, including hammered-steel lighting fixtures. And while the house looks genuinely rustic from a distance, a closer view reveals that the materials have been fashioned and finished with subtly smoother surfaces and cleaner lines. “We made contemporary use of old materials,” Locati acknowledges.

At every step of the building process, the architects collaborated closely not only with their clients but also, more crucially, with the clients’ longtime interior designer, Janet Baker, who formally retired from the business a decade ago but nonetheless continues to work closely with the couple. With the aim of “softening all that stone and lumber and steel with a Southern flair,” she chose “light and airy fabrics” for upholstery and window treatments and combed furniture stores and antique shops for elegant old—or, at least, traditionally styled—chandeliers, chairs, armoires and other pieces that contribute touches of gracious style. 

The design team also took special care to include display areas for the clients’ extensive collections—including an impressive array of Cherokee Indian arrowheads, pottery and other artifacts. The overall effect? “When you explore the house, it doesn’t feel rustic at all. It’s warm and clean and light, with a lot of comfortable places,” Locati says.

Strengthening the home’s carefully orchestrated interplay of Western and Southern elements is the setting itself. “We drew our color palette from the vista, to bring it inside,” Baker explains. “That way, when you enter the living room, its colors carry your eye straight out the windows to the mountains.” Adds Locati, “As you drive toward the house, you experience the whole valley, but as you draw closer, the house blocks the view. Then, when you walk through the front door, you’re suddenly looking right at the Grand Teton. Basically, the house frames and enhances its surroundings. From every room, you feel like you’re part of nature.”  

Outside influences

Drawing from decades of experience designing homes across the nation, interior designer Janet Baker shares her tips for incorporating design influences from beyond the rustic West:

Mix it up There are many ways to incorporate your personal style. In addition to furniture and decorative touches like artwork and collectibles, consider fabrics, wall coverings and other ways to add textures and colors. 

Strive for balance Get an idea of the look you’d like to end up with, then stop, sit down and think it through. In the overall scheme, subtle touches can be as influential as the larger
decorative strokes. Not every element has to be spectacular. 

Don’t stick with the status quo Don’t feel limited by the prevailing style of the region, or even of the architecture itself. 

Be true to yourself Once you have a good sense of the landscape and the home’s architecture, ask yourself, “What are the colors and styles that I love, and what would be the most interesting way to bring those influences into this home?” The answer will make your home so much more fun and compelling.


ARCHITECTURE Locati Architects, Bozeman, MT INTERIOR DESIGN Janet Baker CONSTRUCTION Schlauch Bottcher Construction, Bozeman, MT DECORATIVE ELEVATION AND FURNITURE PLANNING Wendy Jackson CUSTOM STEEL AND RECLAIMED LUMBER CONSTRUCTION (LIBRARY, KITCHEN SHELF, BACKSPLASH TILES, OUTDOOR BBQ STEEL TOP, STUDY VANITY) Reworks Construction/Fry Design, Ben Baker and Russ Fry, Bozeman, MT, 406-599-9462, 406-580-5979 EXTERIOR LIGHTING, GREAT ROOM FIRESCREEN, DINING ROOM LANTERN CONNECTOR Heart for Ironworks, Jeff Morris, Jackson Hole, WY, 307-733-2229 CABINETRY (KITCHEN/GALLERY, HER MASTER BATH) Jackson Hole Cabinets and Design Group, Helen Green, Jackson Hole, WY, 307-733-5390 DESIGN/FRAMING OF ARROWHEAD COLLECTION IN GALLERY Alan Peeples, Dalton, GA, 706-271-5631 GALLERY/KITCHEN PENDANT LIGHTING Custom, South of Market, Atlanta, GA, 404-995-9399 HER BATHROOM LIGHTING Pearl Chandelier, Big Chandelier, Atlanta, GA, 404-872-3332 DRAPERIES, Grizzel and Mann/Classic Cloth by Dessin Fournir Company, Atlanta, GA, 404-261-5932 ANTIQUE FRENCH CABINET Foxglove Antiques and Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 404-233-0222 STAND-ALONE SOAKING TUB Millers Hardware, MPI Whirlpool, Jupiter, FL, 561-746-4800 GREAT ROOM ANTIQUE ITALIAN CHANDELIER, Foxglove Antiques and Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 404-233-0222 BARREL CHAIRS AND SOFA Fabric Old World Weavers/TRS, Brice Ltd., Atlanta, GA 404-261-5846 POWDER ROOM WALL COVERING Grizzel and Mann/Philip Jeffrey's Ltd., Atlanta, GA, 404-261-5932 ANTIQUE VANITY Maurice and Assoc., Jupiter, FL, 561-747-4539 MASTER BEDROOM ROMAN SHADES, Grizzel and Mann/Classic Cloth by Dessin Fournir Company, Atlanta, GA, 404-261-5932 BED, BEDDING AND SETTEE, CMA, Atlanta, GA, 404-521-0799 EXTERIOR FURNITURE Lane Furniture Co., Sunbrella Fabric DINING ROOM CUSTOM DINING TABLE Maurice and Assoc., Jupiter, FL, 561-747-4539 LIGHTING AND ANTIQUE LANTERNS Foxglove Antiques and Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 404-233-0222 CHAIRS AND BAR STOOLS Ernest Gastard & Assoc./Bausman & Co., Atlanta, GA, 404-233-8645 

Categories: Rustic Homes