Apr 23, 2021

Balancing Act – Big Sky Journal

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JLF Architects and Signature’s beautiful design-build project was featured in the new Big Sky Journal HOME issue titled “Balancing Act,” written by Chase Reynolds Ewald and photographed by Audrey Hall photo. We are always delighted to partner with JLF Architects to create another remarkable home. Check out the article at https://bigskyjournal.com/balancing-act/

IT’S ONE THING TO CREATE A COMPOUND ON THE SPRAWLING acreage of a ranch. But it’s quite another to create a compound-like setting on a site that sits at the edge of a golf course. However, says John Lauman, of JLF Architects, in this case, his clients were specifically not interested in a starter castle. Rather, they were seeking a more modestly scaled presence for what was to be their full-time home. They would use a layout of buildings to create a sense of arrival, screen out neighbors, and direct one’s gaze to the primary southern views over open space toward the Teton Mountains. And the multiple structures, mostly attached, would create privacy and a sense of remoteness.

Originally conceived as a U-shaped structure with a parking courtyard, big views over the open landscape to the south, and a guest cabin connected by a covered walkway, the design expanded and evolved over the course of the project. The intended guesthouse became the husband’s office and retreat, and the guest quarters moved across the driveway to the corner of the property. Meanwhile, the covered walkway became a glassy connector to offer shelter from the elements and a major “Aha!” moment as one glimpses the mountain views en route.

The arrival sequence leads guests to the front door, which is located under a gabled porch in the center of the main mass of the reclaimed-timber and cedar-shake-roofed house. A low stone wall creates a division between the structure and the driveway, and a barn-like garage wing sits off to the right. To the left, the attached log cabin retreat has its own entry, and a glass-walled, metal-roofed connector links it to the main house and lightens the mass by offering transparency and views to the mountains.

Interior designer Jet Zarkadas, of the Santa Fe-based Los Griegos Studio, helped the owners balance the masculine and feminine, the heavily rustic with the more refined, and the family’s East Coast past with its New West present. She assisted the husband in creating his retreat, which features an elaborate bar, cigar-smoking accoutrements, and animal mounts.

Having master craftsmen — such as those with Big-D Signature (JLF’s construction partner) — executing the details accentuates this project, as does the sense of place conveyed by the work of Wyoming blacksmith Jeff Morris, who created much of the hardware, light fixtures, chandeliers, and fireplace doors. The solidity and tactile nature of hand-forged metal and antique materials imbues the home with a palpable regional authenticity and helps this cabin-like compound celebrate its spectacular Wyoming setting.