mountain contemporary in greenhorn
Photography: Tim Brown
(page 2 of 3)
Four stone steps take you up to a covered entryway where two sandblasted concrete columns stand on either side of the glass-paneled front doors. Standing on the front landing, you are surrounded by a symphony of textures; glass, cement, wood, metal, and stone are all in this one space.
Cedar shingles share exterior wall space with board-formed concrete, a lumber-like material that is created by pouring concrete into a form lined with cedar boards, which gives the concrete a rough, sawn-wood texture.
Williams notes that the use of board-formed concrete has somewhat of a local history in the Wood River Valley, as the Sun Valley Lodge is also constructed of the material, which has been stained brown to resemble wood.“Many people think the Sun Valley Lodge is wood, but it’s really concrete,” Williams says. “They did it that way because when they built it in the late ’30s there was no fire department in the area.”
Unlike the Lodge, the McGowan house was left a natural concrete grey.
McGowan says the use of board-formed concrete was very deliberate. “We wanted a wood texture on the house but we didn’t want to have wood sitting in the snow because it becomes a maintenance issue.”
Inside the front entryway, board-formed concrete appears again, creating an arrival point that feels private and somewhat removed from the rest of the house. Straight ahead is an open-stepped stairway made of rich red mahogany and fir.
“We tried to use a combination of materials and let each material be expressive of its own natural qualities,” Williams says of the home’s contrasting textures.
On the second floor you are led into the natural flow of the house by way of a bridge-like hallway that traverses the length of the home and opens up to overlook the living area below. But this is more than just passageway from one point to another. Tucked along one side of the hallway, Williams has built a cubby office for McGowan that takes full advantage of the wall-to-wall vistas surrounding the home. The main laundry area is also built off the hallway, hidden behind sliding wood doors. Its location on the second floor, near dressing and undressing areas, makes sense. A second washer and dryer is downstairs near the mudroom.
On one far end of the U-shaped home, above the three-car garage, the guest quarters features a large living room and bedroom, a spacious walk-in closet and a substantial full bathroom.
When designing this suite, the owners took into consideration the privacy and comfort of their guests, making sure to give the suite a view of Greenhorn Gulch and its own separate entrance and a personal outside deck.
Up the hallway are the childrens’ bedrooms, each with a full bathroom and large closet. Walking into Chloe’s room, McGowan points out the panoramic views from her window.
“Her room faces north, so she has the ski report view,” he laughs. “She knows when the storms are coming or going. I love that view—not bad for a kid.”
All the bedrooms share a view of the hills to the north and a shimmering lake below. The size of the property is four acres, but with vast, green common areas and several lakes surrounding the home, it feels like limitless spaciousness.
Looking out his bedroom window, McGowan points to a wee blonde figure walking hand in hand with a bigger person out on the green. “That’s Chloe down there, and she’s going fishing,” he says of his daughter, who is heading for the lake with her mom. When asked what she might catch in the lake, he laughs and says, “Not a damn thing, but she has a blast.” >>>