A restrained design approach yields a house that makes the most of its idyllic setting.
The master suite has windows that frame the craggy peaks of the magnificent Teton Range. Off the living room, a sheltering patio is a welcoming spot for outdoor meals and sunset wine. In the yard, a manmade pond is large enough to practice standup paddle boarding and, in kayaks, Eskimo rolls. These are among the joys of life in an elegantly spare family home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, designed by a team from CLB Architects, a firm based in Jackson that’s known for a restrained, modernist approach to high-country design.
The team, led by principals Matt Thackray and John Carney, as well as interior designer Jenn Mei, created a home that fits perfectly with the setting—and the family’s active lifestyle. “The house is part of a five-acre compound that also includes a guest house and a gear barn for sports equipment,” says architect Thackray. “The owners, a couple with three children, have a minimalist aesthetic and wanted a house that’s informal, connects with the outdoors and is in tune with the surrounding landscape.”
“The house is part of a five-acre compound that also includes a guest house and a gear barn for sports equipment.”
The flat site, which Thackray explains is riparian bottom land, is dotted with native conifers and aspens and has views of the mountains. The 6,300-square-foot main house was sited to make the most of these vistas, as well as to provide privacy from a nearby road. In response to the clients’ request for an informal great room concept, the architects designed an L-shaped plan, with an open kitchen, dining area and living room—which make up the core of the main floor—and access a generously sized, covered terrace. Offices for the husband and wife, a game room and a media room are also on the first level. Upstairs, a reading nook and the master suite are connected by a bridge over the entry to the three children’s rooms.
In elevation, the home includes a flat metal roof—angled to take in mountain views and extended over the terrace—and a series of crisp volumes, clad in zinc panels, cedar planking and pale sandstone, which blends the home into its wooded site. An expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows connect the great room to the outdoors.
Indoors, walnut flooring sets the stage for the simple, modern furnishings chosen to withstand the rigors of family life, while hemlock cladding adds dramatic interest to the vast ceiling planes. Glass railings on the bridge above the entry reiterate the home’s modernist roots. Custom cabinetry, crafted of anigre, imbues a natural look in the kitchen, where a large island offers informal seating. The exterior’s sandstone cladding was repeated indoors on the living room fireplace, which is understored by a massive sandstone slab hearth and detailed with built-in, blackened steel shelves and wood storage.
When it came to furnishings, less is more was the operative approach. Interior designer Mei collaborated with the homeowners—as well as with the wife’s mother, a retired interior designer—to choose furnishings in a neutral palette, simple lines and natural materials. With numerous built-ins, including a banquette in the kitchen, the reading nook’s daybed and slab desks in the offices, the home requires few other pieces of furniture. Family heirlooms, contemporary art and dramatic glass light pendants in the entry and dining area add finishing polish.
With views of the Tetons and visits from elk or moose, the setting is bucolic and at one with nature. “Who wouldn’t want to live here?”
Outdoors, the landscape, created by Hershberger Design, was largely kept in its natural state, except for an expanse of mowed grass in the back yard that’s perfect for lawn games. The pond—a larger upper basin and a smaller lower basin connected by a boulder-lined spillway—invites watery adventures and serves as reflecting pool for the outlines of the house. During Jackson Hole’s milder season from late spring to early fall, the family lives on the terrace, nurtured by a built-in pizza oven and warmed by an outdoor fireplace. With views of the Tetons and visits from elk or moose, the setting is bucolic and at one with nature. “Who wouldn’t want to live here?” asks Thackray. “This house has the quintessential Jackson vibe.”