The clients for this 500-square-foot addition to a very traditional log house wanted something different for a contemplative study away from the rest of the house. Being avid art collectors, they also had several key pieces that needed to be incorporated into the design including a large outdoor sculpture.

Located on a butte overlooking Jackson Hole, the addition responds to views, playing upon the contrast of prospect and refuge. This was achieved with rammed earth walls on the south and east, and a full wall of glass on the north. Horizontal slot windows in the rammed earth walls provide framed views to the Sleeping Indian and Wolf Mountain to the east and south. A simple shed roof floats above the entire composition, reinforcing the grounding effect of the rammed earth walls. A skylight parallel to the east wall illuminates the horizontal striations of the earth layers, celebrating the inherent beauty of the materials. A curving wood and copper gallery links the existing house and new space. An outdoor shower, sheltered by a steel screen commissioned from a local artist, occupies the space between the existing house and the addition.

The form of the addition creates a protected courtyard that mediates between old and new. A monumental bronze sculpture is placed strategically to frame views from both the existing house and the new studio. Bronze-clad windows, bonderized steel walls, and rammed earth deliberately contrast with the existing traditional log house. Stained concrete floors, clear vertical grain millwork, integrally colored plaster, and a copper ceiling complete the interior expression. The room is minimally furnished with classic modern furniture and a 400-year-old Chinese Buddha head.

The firm was hired for a second project that consisted of a 225-square-foot bath renovation. Similar to the approach taken at the addition, the character of this renovation was a deliberate departure from the existing log house. A large floor-to-ceiling window connects the space to the outdoors and creates a light, bright interior. Walls and floors are clad in Salvatori lava stone to provide a spa-like feel. A free-standing bathtub and a functional light sculpture become focal points for the room. A minimalist approach to the vanities include cantilevered counters and deliberately off-set sinks to maximize space.

Project Team

John Carney, Jen Mei, Monica DeGraffenreid

Awards

  • 2014 Excellence Award, AIA Wyoming Chapter
  • 2013 Merit Award, Detail, Custom Home Design Awards

Publications

NEXT