The interior design team at Est Est tops itself with a Jackson Hole residence that magnificently breaks many “Mountain Home” design rules.
The 50-year-old interior design firm Est Est may be Scottsdale-based, but time and again, they have achieved an international reputation through their designers’ ability to create a sense of place that’s in keeping with the desires and lifestyle of every client. One of their latest successes is a 4,700-square-foot Jackson Hole second home that fits in the landscape of Wyoming, but in a variety of unexpected ways. The couple commissioning the project also wanted to weave in their East Coast roots and tastes.
“We pride ourselves on really listening to our individual clients and taking the time to not only learn about what they like but also how they plan to live in the home.”
“We pride ourselves on really listening to our individual clients and taking the time to not only learn about what they like but also how they plan to live in the home,” says Blake Sutton, the firm’s Director of Operations, who emphasizes the importance of timeless design over trendiness.
“With this particular repeat client, we were able to tap into our past relationship and how we tailored their other properties in Scottsdale and elsewhere to fit the family’s lifestyle. After the client purchased the land in Jackson Hole, we teamed up with the architect to create a space incorporating those interests but, in a way, fitting the natural landscape of Jackson Hole and the other buildings in the area. With this house, we’re produced something very different for this client than we did for his other home.”
“The client wanted a cleaner and more modern design in comparison to the couple’s other homes,” he continues. “This meant going with more contemporary materials and color to fit the room layouts. Our goal was to take different design styles that fused together nicely and also that also nicely frame the views outside as if they were photographs. As the client is an avid art collector, it was important to showcase the pieces selected for display in the property.”
“She wanted us to weave a bit of a New York loft sensibility as well as the interior colors of a Cape Cod home."
According to Est Est interior design firm designer Nora Johnson, who oversaw the project, it was important to the couple to steer clear of familiar heavy mountain home tropes, especially dark woods and heavy décor and brash accents using the dark end of the fall color palate. The wife wanted the overall effect to play as a bright blank canvas that would offset the art collection, which is very colorful and benefits from a lighter color palate.
“She wanted us to weave a bit of a New York loft sensibility as well as the interior colors of a Cape Cod home,” says Johnson. “We selected lighter woods and a much softer palate as opposed to the dark palate associated with older mountain vacation homes rendering a cavernous cabin-like feel.”
Johnson notes that the couple’s desire for this more subtle and refined ambiance dictated the use of lighter and more modern materials, as well as forward thinking contractors and designers. While the new home had to be built in accordance to the strict guidelines and ordinances established by the Teton Pines Community, she also had to take into the account that their adult children and grandchildren would be visiting at different times through the year, and their needs would also evolve over time.
“I believe the house will transition beautifully as time passes, as we designed it to not go out of style thanks to the simplicity and lines of the rooms and overall structure,” she says. “We made sure the palate was both sophisticated and timeless, so a major overhaul in five years will not be necessary.”
The kitchen gets that point across very clearly, through traditional cabinetry in light-colored woods accented with modern hardware to achieve a contemporary expression of a Cape Cod flavor that also makes the space look larger. “The tile backsplash draws in all the natural hues of the materials and the metal appointments for a modern touch that doesn’t overpower,” Johnson details. “We found a local artisan able to create those faux finishes on the wood to achieve this open, airy look. Drum lampshades with polished chrome over the marble counters further underscore this effective mix of traditional and modern.”
The home’s entryway and foyer achieve the all-important “wow factor” using striking components as a modern geometric light fixture and motifs with elements from the outdoors, such as the tree limb-shaped front door handle.
The home’s entryway and foyer achieve the all-important “wow factor” using striking components as a modern geometric light fixture and motifs with elements from the outdoors, such as the tree limb-shaped front door handle, that also match up with selected pieces from art collection capturing native American culture and the area’s natural environment. While this welcoming space flows beautifully into the living room and ties visually to its fireplace, the boundaries between indoor and outdoor dining areas follow suit. Johnson adds that the patio can be readily enclosed, which maximizes entertaining space while providing a visual connection with the natural environment and seasonal weather changes.
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The home’s floating staircase, meanwhile, not only ties the home’s levels together functionally but also visually while providing the public spaces of the home with a defined “art gallery feel,” according to Johnson. “It is simple but has a striking mix of natural materials and metals and the railings look almost like guitar frets,” she says. “There is contrasting woods on each level–blonde wood on the floors offset by walnut wood on the steps. The way we designed the stairways enabling visitors to see the couple’s bold, statement-making canvases on both floors.”
Each room has its own personality. One bathroom has an intentional luxury hotel/spa feel with high windows allowing in natural sunlight. Johnson explains this approach enables visitors to enjoy use of the bathroom on their own terms, whether the guests are a couple or a family with children.
Rather than have a throw-it-together loft, Johnson and the clients envisioned it as a readily adaptable family room/game area anchored by a neutral sectional couch (the one piece brought in by the clients before the commission). Johnson notes that the bedrooms were spaced out, “so nobody would be on top of each other and each family, couple, or group of kids could have their own space to relax and play without disturbing others in the house…allowing kids to be kids.”
“We needed to create a balance between what the clients wanted and what the local building rules and climate dictated, which was somewhat challenging in that it required me to think outside the box during the course of the building and interior design process,” assesses Johnson. “However, the most satisfying thing about the project was surpassing the clients’ expectations. The husband’s enthusiasm for what we accomplished was really heartwarming, with his writing a beautiful, detailed letter on how much he has enjoyed the house.
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