The Elegant Barn
Inspired by the rustic design of Vermont's historic Shelburne Farms, the home is bright and cozy with a character unique to the area.
Photography: H. Durston Saylor, courtesy of Arbonies King Vlock Architects
The stately entrance to The Elegant Barn, a one-of-a-kind home in Golden Eagle.
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Builder: Dembergh Construction
Architect: Arbonies King Vlock Architects
Location: Golden Eagle Ranch
American architect Robert A.M. Stern once said, “The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you’re talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams.”
For a couple from Piedmont, California, it was both dialogue and an amazing team effort spanning three states that brought forth their dream of building a Vermont-style barn home in the Wood River Valley.
Nestled in the Golden Eagle Ranch subdivision off Highway 75 between Ketchum and Hailey, the two-story home blends the simple with the sophisticated.
Inspired by the rustic design of Shelburne Farms, a complex of historic barns and farms in Vermont, the home is bright and cozy with a character unique to the area.
The owners call it their “Elegant Barn.”
Connecticut architect Sandra Vlock was first brought into the project after the Piedmont wife read an article in House Beautiful about one of Vlock’s designs and the close relationship she had developed with those homeowners during the process.
“It was a very personal description about our working relationship and how collaborative it was,” Vlock recalls. “There was something in the article that prompted her to pick up the phone and call me. We talked at length, and there was an instant rapport.”
The wife said that calling Vlock was “out of the blue.”
“I was heading back East at the time and gave them a call,” she says. “It was just out of the blue, because we weren’t planning on building at that time. We had the property, but had decided to wait awhile.”
Vlock and her husband Glenn Arbonies live in Branford, Connecticut, and own Arbonies King Vlock (AKV) Architects. She says that when she first got the phone call from the homeowner, she had never heard of Sun Valley, Idaho.
But, that soon would change.
“A few weeks later, on our way to a conference in Portland, Oregon,I convinced Glenn that we should schedule a stop to meet them at their home in northern California,” Vlock recalls. “Designing houses is a very personal experience. The two-day get-together confirmed my initial impression—and I suspect hers, too—that this was the perfect fit.”
“We’re very process oriented,” Vlock continues. “We encourage a lot of give and take with our clients. Sorting through countless magazine clippings and books, endless sketchings and quick study models, and a lot of conversation—in the end, this house is an expression, literally, of their vision of ‘an Elegant Barn’.”
Says the wife, “After we got together with Glenn and Sandra, the project just started evolving, working together beautifully. And then we met the folks at Dembergh Construction, who had built the Potters’ barn complex out in Greenhorn Gulch, and that’s what drew us to them,” she says.
Construction on the new home began in May, 2005, and was completed in November, 2006.
“This past year has been the first full year that the family has enjoyed the house,” says the wife. “Our youngest just left for college. That’s partially why we built the house. The kids all love Sun Valley and the house was built with the hopes that they will always come home.”
And this home truly does give them a reason to come back again and again.
Situated on a little more than two acres, the 7,000-square-foot home includes all the touches of a Vermont barn, including board-and-batten wall paneling, custom-made carriage house doors, a cupola on the roof sporting a brass weathervane, and an expansive gambrel-style ceiling running the length of the spacious living area.
The front of the home has two wings coming off the main part of the house that create a welcoming center courtyard in the front. Natural all-wood shingle siding is painted a soft brown color, which harmonizes with the hues in the granite entryway and stone molding surrounding the base of the house. Windows and eaves are trimmed in white, and it is here that you first begin to see the skillful blending of materials and details that give this home both its individuality and complexity. >>>