Spotlight on Idaho

Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
Cover Image Credit To Latham Interiors

Photo courtesy of Latham Interiors

Conversations of luxury mountain towns don’t often turn to Sun Valley, Idaho, but it was actually the resort that started it all.

The mountain town located in Ketchum, Idaho was the first winter destination in the United States, assisting in bridging the gap between opulent vacation and outdoor haven with the premier of high-end lodging in 1932 and first-ever ski chairlift in 1936 on Dollar Mountain.

It would also become an attraction for Hollywood elites and affluent clientele year round, including Ernest Hemingway, Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe to name a few. This was just the beginning. Today’s design community echoes that trailblazing mindset from the resort’s 1930s inception, serving up forward-thinking talent that continually uses the outdoor playground as a muse for design inspiration.

Trend doesn’t exactly live in their vocabularies; their focus is to imbed innovative features that are timeless and enduring alongside the historic rustic-charm.

Here, Mountain Living is highlighting some of these leaders that are continually repaving what a luxury mountain home has to offer– from inventive floor plans that mimic the vistas to environmental stewardship on a jobsite. These construction firms, architects and interior designers devote their livelihoods to delivering Sun Valley’s next big thing in design.

Peruse through their work and you’ll find a humble approach to luxury, with minimalistic aspects meeting traditional style that continues to illustrate Sun Valley’s cutting-edge status in the Mountain West design community.

Sustainably Smart


Meet Paul Conrad of Conrad Brothers of Idaho, where environmental stewardship and client collaboration have driven their thoughtfully-crafted residences since 1997.

How are your homes reflective of Sun Valley and Mountain West design?

It starts with a plan that properly incorporates the site, setting and environment. Once that is accomplished, the home is part of the landscape and the experience is Sun Valley. Then you focus on the proper plan for the lifestyle you lead here, and then the palette– which you want to incorporate colors and materials that resonates with a Rocky Mountain setting.

What specific design elements are you drawn to right now?

At CB, we love it all. We are really enjoying implementing clean lines with authentic materials. There are so many amazing materials these days, but I am partial to organic materials in earthy tones. Sustainability and environmental stewardship are big practices of your company.

In what ways do you put these values into action for your clients?

It really has become the norm within the building community and it is not difficult to do the right thing. A few of our practices include a jobsite recycling program; using VOC free and no added formaldehyde products and utilizing and participating in LEED and Energy Star Programs which strive for environmental sustainability.

Paul Conrad, president
208-726-3830 |
Ketchum, ID

Creating a Legacy


Get to know Lloyd Construction, the Sun Valley firm that unites tradition and design innovation into each of their homebuilds.

What kind of experience do you provide for homeowners throughout the construction process from start to finish?

Four decades of experience has taught us that a well-organized construction process and transparent communication are the keys to a successful custom build or remodel. The foundation of our business or “The Lloyd Way”, ensures we are communicating and serving our clients from the initial planning stages throughout construction, and providing continuing support for years to come. You design projects all across Idaho.

What specific elements in your projects are unique to Sun Valley?

The teams we work with here, architects and designers alike, take extra care and consideration into integrating with the natural environment. They’ve mastered working in harmony with the local topography, using colors and textures that are unique to our landscape. Any manner of biophilic design is woven into our homes.

What serves as your biggest source of inspiration in Sun Valley while building a project?

I’ve always been inspired by by my dad, John. He’s honest, hard working and an all-around great guy to be around. A lot of incredible homes in our valley are his work and I work towards leaving a similar legacy for my children by being the best contractor and person I can be every day.

Lloyd Construction has been producing homes for four decades and won numerous accolades– what sets you apart from other construction firms?

Personal and professional growth is a pillar of our business model. The last thing we want is to become complacent, so we’re constantly striving to provide the very best product, client experience and value.

Describe your dream project and what it would look like if you had an unlimited budget and creative freedom.

We’ve had the good fortune to be involved with numerous dream projects with unlimited creative freedom that are fun and rewarding. The common thread is that there is always a strong team culture between the owner, architect and contractor.

David Lloyd, president
208-726-4263 |
Ketchum, Idaho

Pacific Islands Meets Mountain West

4.dereus Architects Kolomuo Matthew Millman Photography

Hawaiian-native firm De Reus Architects has found a home in Sun Valley and they’re delivering enduring design and exceptional experiences to mountain homeowners.

Describe your design aesthetic to our readers.

At De Reus Architects, we don’t focus on a particular style; we design specifically for our client and their location. With both comfort and livability combined with quality craftsmanship, our design delivers an exceptional experience for the client and end-user. Good design has the power to enhance the lives of those who occupy and engage with it. Although we don’t have a particular style, quality resonates through each of our built spaces.

What kind of elements do you bring from resort design into a residential home?

Resort Experiences are shifting from strictly branded hotels to more boutique like environments. This allows the architect and designer a more adventurous approach with fewer limitations. As resorts shift in this direction, we are seeing residential elements begin to influence the design approach. The focus here is creating a human-centric environment that feels both familiar and relaxing. The relationship between spaces becomes just as important in a large-scale resort to a single-family residence.

How would you describe Sun Valley’s unique architecture to someone who has never visited? What kind of features would be included?

Speaking directly to the design and construction industry, authenticity reigns supreme in Sun Valley. The architecture here adheres to a very high-quality craftsmanship and a connection to the land. It reflects the culture of the community, rooted in a relationship with the outdoors and a rich quality of life. You design in Waimea, Hawaii and Sun Valley.

How do these projects differ and how are they similar?

Our core design principles evolve from the particulars of place. From Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest, we encourage a more enduring design approach with an appreciation for innovation and well-crafted architecture. We lean towards details and materials for durability, design contribution and a sense of place. You’ve been recognized with countless awards and featured in many publications for your work.

What’s your next goal for the remaining year? Five years?

Quality over quantity. We are a boutique architecture firm with a strong professional design culture. As a core part of our practice, we strive for excellent delivery of our services. The goal is to continue designing responsive places for people to find comfort and refuge in. Whether a boutique resort or a luxury private residence, we hope that we can continue bringing exceptional service to our clients and communities.

Mark de Reus, partner
208-720-1817 |
Ketchum, Sun Valley, ID

Modern on the Mountain


With a dedication to simplistic yet modern techniques, Latham Interiors brings refreshing and timeless style to each of their Sun Valley clients.

Describe your creative process when working with a new client. What does your “Full Service Interior Design” experience entail?

Our full service interior design experience includes involvement in every aspect of a project: spatial planning, finish, plumbing and lighting design, furnishing, window coverings and even flooring. We are making sure every detail is perfect for our clients.

Do you have any advice on giving a home a timeless yet modern aesthetic that you see in your projects?

Keep things simple. Embrace a few key items in your home, and then make them the center of attention instead of losing their focus by burying them in unnecessary clutter. Natural elements when designed into a home–whether a unique stone wall, well-crafted wood table or interesting metal detail–are all ways to keep the modern timeless feeling.

What types of design aesthetics are unique to Sun Valley and how do you incorporate it into your design?

Sun Valley became well known as Hollywood’s ski playground in the early 1900’s and has developed into a secret hideaway for outdoor and design lovers alike. From its traditional roots in mountain ski decor including antler chandeliers and plaid fabrics–to our driven award winning modern architecture and interior design, Sun Valley is finding ways that push us to new approaches and materials that last year round.

Sarah Latham, principal
208-928-6366 |
Ketchum, ID

Categories: Spotlight on Design