mountain contemporary in greenhorn
Photography: Tim Brown
(page 3 of 3)
A beautifully-crafted Italian bed sits in the middle of the master bedroom allowing the couple to enjoy the full benefit of both the magnificent views and the coziness of a large fireplace. One wall of the bedroom is paneled in rich fir wood slats, lending a soft warmth to this minimally-furnished room. Dark wood beams overhead abut with the grey board-formed concrete planks surrounding the fireplace.
Two separate bathrooms with large closets and dressing areas give both McGowan and O’Malley abundant private space, although McGowan smiles and says, “The small one is obviously mine.”
In the spacious bathrooms, oak floors and wood ceilings create almost a spa-like environment. Add in a large, luxurious soaker tub that sits directly under a picture window looking out over the Gulch, and you have an oasis of relaxation.
A sleek cabinet installed in his dressing room shines under 10 coats of high-gloss polyester and is topped with a rich limestone counter. This beautiful piece of workmanship was made by Poliform, a northern Italian home décor manufacturing company. In fact, virtually everything in the house—furniture, cabinetry, bathrooms, closets, kitchen, doors and more—was manufactured by Poliform, for whom McGowan is a dealer.
Downstairs is where some serious living takes place. The enormous great room flows into a dining area, which flows into the state-of-the-art kitchen. “We wanted one big room where everyone kind of hangs out,” says McGowan.
Floor-to-roof windows drench the room in sunlight and bring out the richness of the oak floors and wood ceiling beams. A comfortable bar sits to one side of the room, framed by windows that look out on the lake.
The focal point of the great room is a large stone fireplace built directly into the wall of glass. Here again, Williams has blended various textures. Black granite surrounds the fireplace opening, and the mantelpiece is of the same rough Frontier Stone used to pave the terraces around the house. Finally, the rock that forms the main fireplace was chosen for its grey and brown tones that match the exterior concrete and cedar shingles. This is one of four fireplaces in the home.
Architect Jeffrey Williams says creating the home was easy despite its scale because the clients were well versed in what they wanted.
“This is my favorite part of the house—the corner in the living room with all the glass,” says Williams. “There are a lot of great parts to the house but, ultimately, I think what makes the house so neat is there are so many great views out to the lake, the backyard and the house itself.”
Sharing the space is a contemporary kitchen that is so incredibly elegant that it doesn’t look like a kitchen. The clean black and stainless cabinetry is simple and unobtrusive and seems to be an extension of the great room, not a separate area. And when it comes to the joy of cooking, this kitchen is outfitted with top-of-the-line appliances including a below-counter oven by Gaggenau, a Miele dishwasher and a Sub-Zero refrigerator.
Just around the corner is another of McGowan’s favorite spots in the house, the media room. With its big-screen TV, fireplace and electronically-operated blackout blinds on the windows and doors, you could get lost in movies or wall-to-wall sports for days.
And while the rest of the home is done in neutral colors—“I think it’s really important in a house for your objects to have more color than the thing they’re sitting on,” says McGowan—the media room is one place where McGowan has tapped into the brighter spectrum of the color palette.
“This is our (Poliform) cabinetry and I thought there’s one room that has to have some pop,” McGowan says about the shiny, orange-lacquered cabinets leaping out from the front of the room. The surface of the cabinets creates a vivid focal point and reflects back the light and views from the window, almost like a mirror.
At the northern wing of the house is a unique, 50-foot indoor saline lap pool that is kept heated to a cozy 92 degrees. Concrete columns surround the pool on one side, while on the other a full wall of windows looks out onto the courtyard.
The pool features two levels of security to protect against accidents. First, there is a code to open the main door. Next, another security code retracts the Aquapro cover over the water. The cover attaches to tracks on four sides of the pool and can support the weight of a 150-pound adult.
“You can never have enough protection,” says McGowan, who points out that both controls are high enough on the wall to be out of reach of curious children.
While McGowan is an “avid tennis player and an aspiring golfer,” and has skied since he was three years old, he notes that the pool is where O’Malley spends time. “She does about 100 laps a day,” he says of his wife.
“We have a stairway that goes directly from our bedroom down to the pool, and it’s carpeted, too, so my wife’s tootsies don’t get cold,” he says with a smile.
The pool area roof was designed with an upward tip to allow the southern sun into the room. It also is tipped downward on the north side to keep its profile low for the neighboring property. To further soften the aesthetics of the pool structure, an earthen berm along the north wall sits at about six and a half feet above the pool deck level, leaving only about a foot and a half of wall exposed to the neighbors.
Other rooms in the home include a mudroom and a below-ground wine cellar, both located off the front entryway. The entire house, including garage, mechanical spaces and other non-living areas, is a sprawling 9,700 square feet.
The home is heated by high-efficiency gas boilers and in-floor pipes set in an inch-and-a-half-thick concrete slab poured over the plywood sub-floor. High, electronically-operated clerestory windows cool the house by allowing flow-through ventilation during summer weather. Williams said air conditioning was an afterthought.
“It wasn’t part of the original plan, but was a last minute addition made due to the summer heat during construction.
“This was just one of those jobs where everything went well, largely because the client was so interested in the project,” he says. “You always have problems in a job, but when you have a client with a really positive attitude, problems are not a major issue.”
McGowan agrees and says his family is enjoying getting to know the home’s personality, glitches and all.
“We’re learning how to use the house,” says McGowan. “For example, we’ve learned to use different terraces during different times of day, or in different seasons,” he says, noting that they enjoy them all but each has its own unique personality.
Like the rest of the variations in the house, that’s just another one of those delightful contrasts that gives this home its distinct and many-layered character.
Click here for more photographs of the McGowan Home
Patti Murphy is a Boise-based writer who has family in Ketchum. She enjoys writing for Sun Valley Magazine because it allows her to explore some very beautiful and remarkable homes, talk with interesting people and visit her family at the same time. Murphy is personally attempting to streamline her own home décor, so this article has inspired her to simplify, simplify.