There was a home in Architectural Digest that really caught my eye. Maybe it’s because the Roger Wade images perfectly captured how the house blends into the hilly landscape of Ketchum, Idaho. I don’t know…maybe I was just intrigued by the hoops the architect Jim McLaughlin had to go through just to get the darn thing built. The architect had height restrictions to deal with and still managed to squeeze in 9,000 square feet of space. The interesting thing about this house is that it has a contempory-interior, modern-exterior, traditional home-type feel to it. I mean, it doesn’t look like one of the prefabs I like to talk about, but it’s extremely contemporary.
They excavated 25 feet into the hill and built from within the rock to make the house seem like it’s flowing from the rocks. The architect designed the home to use local Montana stone on the facade and accented that with reclaimed beams inside. With all the windows, the builder (Gary Storey) and architect found a way to incorporate motorized sunshades the shoot up from the floor to the top of the windows. What that does, in turn, is blur the boundaries between the interior and exterior and provide an effective method to maximize the balance between natural light and shading.
While I know some of my devoted readers will scream because this place has a 9,000 sq.ft. footprint and doesn’t really use alternative energy, I think the house illustrates a lighter shade of green. The place looks good and uses local materials and reclaimed wood. That’s a start.
As far as the interior is concerned, the kitchen has zinc counters and wenge-wood cabinets with white-bronze inlay. Designed by Libby Brost, a former chef and restaurant owner, she recently sold her restaurant to concentrate on design. She designed the kitchen so that it didn’t necessarily look like a full-blown kitchen. It’s there, but it blends into the other room. And that goes the same with the other rooms. I think it’s a handsome place.