Photography: Tim Brown
The rustic appearance of the home’s living spaces is natural, with a focus on recycled wood, some of it coming from barns dating back to the late 1800s.
(page 1 of 2)
Ranch (ranch) n.
1. An extensive farm, especially in the Western United States, on which large herds of cattle, sheep, or horses are raised.
2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised.
3. A house in which the owner of an extensive farm lives.
The Wood River Valley lures visitors from every corner of the globe with world-class recreational pursuits to match every season. What turns first-time visitors into Valley regulars, however, is the combination of charm, sophistication and casual hospitality so pervasive among Valley residents. Nowhere are those qualities more evident than on the ranches, nestled among the aspen and cottonwoods that stitch the Valley together in a patchwork landscape of pastures and hayfields.
Of the many ranches that exist throughout the Valley, two have personalities and purposes as varied as their owners. Dick Barker, owner of Emerald Meadows Ranch, raises a hay/alfalfa crop that provides two annual cuttings for his horses, as the pasture gives way to the season.
John Chapman, owner of Cloverly Ranch, delivers champion Arabian stallions to an international clientele. While each enjoys the casual lifestyle their respective ranches offer, both have stamped their own personal brand of comfort into the welcome extended to Valley guests.
Emerald Meadows Ranch
A Family Retreat
A famous Hemingway inspiration, “Il faut d’abord durer,” translates from the French meaning, “First, it is necessary to endure.” Dick Barker knows the meaning of such a challenge. He saw his original main house at Emerald Meadows Ranch destroyed by fire in 2002, leaving only a signature Asian elm in its fury.
Barker also weathered personal challenges that complicated the reconstruction process, but has succeeded in building a retreat that will serve as the setting for generations of pleasant memories.
Driving down Lower Broadford Road between Hailey and Bellevue, one comes to a turn toward the hills along the west side that leads to Fox Hollow Gulch where Emerald Meadows Ranch spreads gracefully over the gentle landscape.
The 60+-acre working hay ranch harbors a new main house, pristine, one-acre trout pond, a state-of-the-art red “American clay” Har-Tru tennis court, a guesthouse, and accompanying barns and outbuildings that shelter the horses and equipment involved in day-to-day ranch operations.
Barker’s willingness to hand the vision of rebuilding his family sanctuary over to Sun Valley architect Eddy Svidgal, contractor Blair Sturges of Sturges Productions and interior designer Jennifer Hoey, was rewarded by a synergistic effort from the creative group. Barker worked with the team in an integrative way to blend their talents in building a seamlessly beautiful and functional house.
Independently, each professional describes the pleasant experience of working with a client such as Barker, expressing the exquisite results when professionals work together using expertise, ability and insight.
“Mr. Barker is one of those seldom clients who although having a vision for their home, instinctively trusted our collective experience and knowledge to make the right decisions,” says Svidgal.
Barker’s main request to Svidgal was that the house fit in with the surrounding farm landscape, appearing to have been constructed in an earlier era.
To achieve that, Svidgal suggested a choice of vintage lumber, a variety of recycled materials and the selection of stone and wood finishes in harmony with surrounding natural colors.
The overall look and feel of the house is achieved effortlessly by casual simplicity in design. Svidgal’s interpretation of Barker’s vision transforms the raw materials into a true log house with all modern accoutrements. Stately but unassuming, the slab-log exterior is crowned with a recycled, faux-slate roof. The interior has a sophisticated European taste with rich woodwork and luxurious accommodations for every task from tack room to caretaker quarters. Cowboy porches with corrugated metal roofing edge the perimeter, maintaining the rustic appeal and help achieve the Old World look the homeowner desired.
The Barker ranch is not only a retreat, but a working hay farm with two cuttings per year. The home's expansive porches, a tribute to historic ranch buildings, offer both shade and a comfortable place to rest.
Sturges’ fine craftsmanship and clean detail contributes to the sense of permanence that perfect construction lends. Clearly, experienced craftsmanship featuring square-pegged beams and handsomely-fitted cabinetry reflect Sturges’ advanced knowledge and love of the work.
Hoey’s final touches, from natural-hued silk drapery sheers embroidered with aspen leaves to simply beautiful, chocolate-hued chenille great room sofas, soften the roughness of the natural textures. Her design signature in the combination of new with old is displayed in the placement of sleek and stylish Holly Hunt tables next to large, weathered candlesticks and richly textured fabrics. The harmony of architectural, construction and design disciplines is evident in the smooth flow of wood and stone to fabric and fixture.
“This is about living and welcoming people,” Barker says with a confidence that broadcasts his satisfaction with the end result of construction. He adds that he was not looking for a “statement home,” but a place to wind down from his busy life in San Francisco. Barker says he is retired but continues to remain active on the boards of six non-profit organizations, four in California and two on the East Coast. In contrast, Emerald Meadows offers a relaxed, peaceful refuge.
“I don’t use a chain saw in San Francisco,” Barker says with a smile, emphasizing the difference in lifestyles.
From the moment of arrival at the ranch, opening the oversized wooden door into the stone hallway, a big, wide, unobstructed view across the great room encourages the first exhale of city pressures. The 23-foot-high ceiling and rock fireplace extending to the timbers serve as an expansive introduction to the house, yet conversation on a human scale is invited by the sumptuous, squared sofa arrangement.
“Three hundred years ago these Douglas firs were still growing,” Barker says, glancing up at the ceiling timbers. Chris Gammon, whose IGL Recycled Timbers and Millwork in Carey is responsible for supplying the recycled woods, says most large timbers are retrieved from warehouse structures and sawmill buildings along the I-5 corridor of the northwest. The antique hardwoods used in the finer cabinetry, Gammon says, tend to come from barns built back east, circa 1860 to 1900.
Just past the doors of the great room and the stone patio, the tennis court invites an active match. Barker extends friendly invitations to stop by and hit a few balls on the red sand court installed by The Tennis Company of Salt Lake City. Barker proves that the surface plays like the grounds of the French Open, giving a demonstration of the smooth game that keeps the ball in play longer while neutralizing big serves. Barker says it is cool to play on, easy on the knees and needs little care other than a quick sweep.
One of Barker’s passions shared by many in the Valley is fishing. While Silver Creek and the Big Wood are favorites easily accessed from the ranch, Emerald Meadows offers its own pond, stocked with rainbow and brook trout, a short hike from the house. The convenience and privacy are relaxing and rejuvenating for Barker as he transitions from city to ranch.
Boomer, Barker’s stately chocolate Labrador retriever, blends perfectly into the earthy, tone-on-tone color palette of the interiors. The high, softly-lit, coved ceiling in the master suite suggests nothing above but sky save for the chandelier. The fixture, exuding the romance of lit candles, is created from halogen bulbs sunk into individually poured wax columns. The natural rock fireplace stands watch between the panoramic view through paired glass doors on each side. Flawlessly simple, natural and inviting, it is a retreat embellished by Hoey’s design choices that welcomes its inhabitant after a full day of outdoor activity, whether that’s hard work or a day with a fly rod in hand.
The house also embraces Barker’s family members in the design of the upstairs suites with connecting loft library and workspace. The character of each of the two bedroom suites is tailored to family personalities, one on a contemporary and sophisticated theme with art from Christopher Reilly at Gail Severn Gallery, the other a feminine, upscale “shabby chic” collection accentuated by spirited art from Tom Judd at Anne Reed Gallery. The suites are not used for guests but reserved for family gatherings, inviting reunion and celebration in the pampered, comfortable atmosphere.
Acting as inspiration for the future, Emerald Meadows combines the traditional and the old with the contemporary and the new, providing a gracious setting for an album of most memorable days. >>>
visit www.jenniferhoey.com for more information