Saddle Road House Molded to Match Environs
PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Brown
(page 4 of 4)
“Bamboo is all the rage right now, but we didn’t know it,” says Schwartz. “We like it because it’s as strong as any wood we can put down, and it’s a green material that grows quickly and is therefore easily replenishable. We wanted the black look because it was unusual, and it just jumped out to us as the absolute best way to integrate all our design elements. What draws the cabinetry and other elements together is the black floor.”
The exception to the black bamboo is the staircase leading to the guest quarters above the garage on the southwest corner of the house. Each stair tread sports a different color of stained bamboo, from red to blue and colors in between.
Schwartz suggested the colored stairs as a way to add punch to a home that majored in shades of black and gray.
“We realized that this was an open staircase that we were going to see all the time,” says Wolff. “And we realized it would be a great place to have color to grab people’s attention and add a little warmth.
“We went through some 40 colors available in the bamboo and picked these colors to give the stairs some splash and whimsy. After all, we don’t want our home so formal that guests won’t feel comfortable. We want a place where friends and family can hang out in their flip-flops and shorts and the color makes it a little more relaxed. Rhea loves it and says that every time she walks past it, she smiles.”
The garage boasts soft-frosted glass on the garage door, which allows the inside light to shine out without outsiders being able to see in.
Locker-sized cabinets offer storage, while open walls feature hooks for snowshoes and other outdoor gear. The mudroom sports a yellow rubber floor for easy cleaning.
Tucked away off the garage is Wolff’s pride and joy—his sculpting studio.
The first design of the house featured a one-car garage with a studio where the second car space would have been.
But because the house sits on a significant slope, excavators had to dig out an enormous space to “level” the house.
By the time they were finished, Wolff and Schwartz not only had room for a large storage space for patio tables and bicycles, but also Wolff’s sculpting studio and a wine cellar.
Wolff’s sculpting studio features a built-in exhaust, built-in vacuum and built-in power tools with track lighting above the workbench. Since it has no outside windows, it requires artificial light, which is better for sculpting, anyway, says Wolff.
“When you’re chipping away, you don’t want a glare or reflection because it can make you miss. You can make a mistake in a second,” he says. “The whole thing turned out wonderfully. We gained a wine cellar we hadn’t planned for, and the extra storage space is a real bonus.”
Outside, the slant of the yard and the excavation it required led to creation of a very interesting patio arrangement that, like the roof, features varying lines.
A breakfast nook on the west side of the house catches the morning sun, enabling Wolff and Schwartz to peruse the morning paper as the sun’s warming rays spill over them.
Around the corner is a patio in front of the great room. The patio, full of chaise lounges, sports Hydro-Press concrete slabs formed under pressure to resist cracking or damage.
Stairs lead down from it to a larger patio with a barbecue. Sheltered from the street noise and the evening sun, it’s the perfect place for dinner or an intimate cocktail party.
“Due to the slope of the site, the downhill portion of the house was elevated above the ground level. This created an advantage for the lower barbecue patio area, resulting in a more private and sheltered outdoor gathering area,” says Rixon.
Wolff admits he has trouble getting on with his golf game—or his hike—when he spots his home from Sun Valley’s new White Clouds golf course and hiking trail.
“It was love at first sight. We’re totally taken with it. Here you can be inside the home yet have a feeling of all the wonderful outdoors coming in,” he says.
“We give a lot of credit to Buffalo and to Adam. Buffalo was focused on designing the house we wanted and not the house he wanted for us, like so many other architects. Adam and his team did everything in their power to ensure the success of our ideas and Buffalo’s design. They were great and we are grateful to them both. A testament to both of their professionalism is that we are all still friends.”
“It was the collaboration that dictated the success,” Rixon says. “And it was made all the easier because both Paul and Rhea were intimately involved and decisive throughout the design process.”
Karen Bossick is a freelance writer who writes for a variety of publications, including the Twin Falls Times-News, The New York Times, USA Today and a variety of magazines, including Western Horseman.