Four fabulous homes we wish we could move into
Mohn residence designed by Williams Partners, Architects.
Photo: Tim Brown
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To be creative is one of architecture’s highest ideals. It is the quality from which innovative design, functional simplicity and vibrant living spaces all proceed. The “dream homes” in this issue are remarkably all original compositions. In the end, the following homes remind us that cottages can be as moving as castles.
Modern in the Mountains
Creativity seems to thrive when faced with constraints. Consider the Japanese haiku: “Given its compactness, the poet must be inventive by default.” The finest haikus sound effortless; content and form blend so well that one forgets there were rules in the first place. Architecture is no different: the finest homes never appear forced into existence, but instead use nature’s limitations to their creative advantage. For a shining example of organic design, look no further than the sagebrush hillsides of Elkhorn, where natural parameters sparked the construction of a home deftly integrated with its surroundings.
Although nothing about this dream home feels contrived, there were initial complications with the property, which, despite spectacular views, was fairly steep and littered with boulders. Yet, the homeowners saw promise and approached architect Jeff Williams to design their contemporary mountain abode. Williams’ plan was to embrace the incline by putting the driveway below the main level, thereby connecting the home with the ground on both floors. In addition, said Williams, “We tried to slope everything down, so that when you approached, the scale was low despite it being a two-story house.” So sympathetic were Williams and his clients toward an organic philosophy that builder Brian Poster didn’t blast a single boulder; residence and landscape were to be an interrelated work of art.
Besides integrating habitation and habitat, the owners also wanted to go modern. Apart from the chic lighting fixtures, there’s an enjoyable absence of ornament. Natural light floods the open living spaces, its glow juxtaposed by tasteful elements of blackened steel. This motif begins at entry, with a beautiful custom-made front door, and courses throughout the home. Finally, natural hardwood flooring brings a subtle warmth to the contemporary aesthetic. “This is a house that, at the end of the day, I would live in,” said Williams. With its modern stylings, packaged to fit the sagebrush surroundings, and views that inspire poetry, we completely agree.
ARCHITECT: Williams Partners, Architects
BUILDER: Poster Construction
LANDSCAPE DESIGNER: Clemens Associates, Planning and Design Consultants
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Jennifer Hoey Interior Design