Taking Root in a Home Along the Snake River
As their second home took shape not far from Jackson, Wyoming, a Houston family felt connected to their expansive property near the water
Seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, a Houston family conducted an extensive nationwide search to identify a more laid-back, natural environment in which to build a second home.
During their first visit to Jackson, Wyoming, they knew they had found the spot, ultimately investing in a 35-acre property in the alluvial plain of the Snake River.
They entrusted JLF Architects principal Logan Leachman to design their new abode. “We wanted to have some feel like it had been there for some time,” Leachman says, “as if it’s rooted in the landscape.”
Indeed, nestled into a thick grove of aspen and cottonwood trees, the sprawling compound-like dwelling has thick Montana moss stone walls accented with reclaimed wood siding and a mix of standing-seam metal and slate roofing. While built predominantly with traditional materials, however, the home’s form is strikingly modern, consisting of two opposing curves designed to emphasize the jaw-dropping natural vistas. “It appears as if you were looking through a lens out at the water,” Leachman says. “The house draws you to that view.”
Adding to its charm, most of the rooms open to exterior waterfront spaces. A front porch off of the living area, for instance, features a glass roof, offering protection without interfering with the natural light.
From there, a dock supported by steel pilings leads over the water to a waterfront outdoor dining room that’s open on three sides. “Their goals were to have a dog-friendly, family-friendly, functional house with lots of outdoor space,” Leachman says. A massive stone fireplace offers warmth and ambience.
Enhancing the connection between inside and out, the natural materials also define the interior. A custom-forged steel banister and a striking Sputnik-like chandelier with metal “branches,” for example, play off the stone walls, slate flooring and reclaimed wood in the front foyer.
Plaster balances the look while maintaining the hand-hewn quality. “It has a mottled effect with a series of darker and lighter areas, depending on how the trowel applied the plaster,” Leachman explains.
Thanks to the varying ceiling heights throughout the house, each room has a specific character. Weighty salvaged beams, for example, call attention to the living room’s high peaked ceiling. The kitchen’s lower wood-beamed ceiling, in contrast, creates a cozier milieu.
Designed to complement the rustic materials in an updated way, the space is outfitted with walnut cabinetry detailed with metal banding that plays off the seams in the range hood. Those materials also distinguish the wine cabinet, which is visible through an insulated glass window in the entryway between the kitchen and dining room.
As the home became rooted to the landscape, the owners and their two teenage daughters began to likewise feel attached to the land. In fact, the call of the proverbial wild was so strong that they soon decided to make Jackson their full-time home, quickly becoming part of the mountain town. “This lifestyle proved irresistible,” Leachman says, noting the clients enjoy hiking, biking, skiing and fishing. “It’s all right here, and they love it.”