Art Beyond the Walls—Contemporary Visions Shape Recent Construction
by Staff Writers
The Rocky Mountain region has long been a bastion for log frame construction—it’s been an instrumental and iconic construction method from the initial homesteading settlement in Jackson Hole, and one that has held fast in the local mountain built aesthetic for more than a century.
Increasingly, architects and designers in the region are incorporating these elements into their designs as accents rather than purely structural elements—a nod to the past, integrated within an imported contemporary aesthetic. Whether in new construction, or via remodeling, log and timber elements are being utilized to add texture to a space as accent walls, beams, or via a non-traditional hue.
Regardless of whether it’s labelled as “mountain modern,” “rustic contemporary” or some combination thereof, homeowners in Jackson Hole are increasingly seeking to blend the warm, natural tones and textures offered through the traditional vernacular of timber and stone with the clean lines and open floor plans more commonly associated with modern, post-modern and contemporary design.
An exemplary representation of how thoughtful renovations can transform an existing home can be seen at 505 W. Saddle Butte Drive, just north of Jackson. The home, originally built more than thirty years ago, underwent a complete renovation in 2018. Interior, white painted log posts and beams combine with structural I-beams to open up the floor plan while providing a bold contrast to rich black structural elements and trim. The exterior of the home is clad in more subtly contrasting tones of light, vertically-oriented, reclaimed barn wood and dark gray, horizontal logs for a modern interpretation of a traditional cabin.
Large, north-facing windows extend to the ceiling of the primary living area to capture stunning views of the Tetons, while bold color throughout the chef’s kitchen lends additional lightness to the space.
A private, 13.5 acre lot atop West Gros Ventre Butte serves as the siting for an iconic Carney Logan Burke-designed home at 255 Trader Road East. The design seamlessly integrates log accents, exposed beams, cedar and richly patinated exterior cladding into its surroundings while giving way to views of the Cathedral Group of the Tetons beyond. Here, otherwise-industrial accent components find unity with timber and log via a rich, warm palette that blends the disparate materials rather than contrasting them.
The result is a multi-winged, single-level home that contours to the sloping hillside and manages to feel both contemporary and sympathetic to its surroundings.
South of Jackson, just off the Hoback River and adjacent to the Bridger-Teton National Forest, 12390 E. Hoback Vistas Drive provides another example of how a comprehensive and visionary renovation can completely reshape a space. In this 5,600 square foot home, reclaimed barn wood and stone accent the central, double-sided fireplace. Light gray-stained log posts and beams accentuate the walls and open the main living space to a peaked barn wood ceiling.
The architecture of Jackson Hole remains steeped in the traditions and elements that surround the valley, but a thoughtful eye towards the future and a re-imagining of material uses is increasingly leading to the ongoing evolution of the mountain home.