2019 Homestead Magazine

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A Rare and Revised Masterpiece

> Story by David Porter
> Photography by Steven Long

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Fish Creek: A braid of Fish Creek flows serenely through the property.
Southern Exposure: Golden logs and siding, chimneys and pedestals of river rock, and native-plant landscaping establish this home as a deeply personal mountain lodge.

Architect
Ellis Nunn Architects

BUILDER
BONTECOU CONSTRUCTION INC.

CABINETRY
Craftsman Kitchens

COUNTERTOPS and BATH
Davis Marble & Granite Inc.

SECURITY
Watchguard Security Systems

LANDSCAPING
The Tree and Landscape Company

Just south of Wilson, Wyoming, stands a magnificent log home, replete with light. Abundant windows, soaring beams, and southern exposure draw the sun inside. This particular five-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 5,600- square-foot home underwent an extensive remodel in 2012-13: It had changed ownership, and the new owners desired an update. They returned to Ellis Nunn, the founding architect on the project and principal of Ellis Nunn and Associates, who says, “We had the perfect opportunity to review the home we’d designed in the 1980s to see what we could do better.”

Meetings and shared ideas among the homeowners, architects, and contractor, Steve Bontecou Construction, converted the house to a beautiful family getaway—a cozy lodge in a stunning setting on Fish Creek.

Everyone involved in the project emphasizes two keys to their success: the owners’ infectious enthusiasm for redesigning the home and the high level of communication and collaboration that followed. Nunn says, “At the very beginning, we all met on-site and went over everyone’s thoughts. Steve [Bontecou], along with his superintendent, then coordinated all aspects of the project, working with the owners and us. This very large remodel ended up far better than expected in the end. The owners could not be happier.”

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Main Approach: The crushed-granite walkway and indigenous plants, such as phlox and larkspur, guide visitors to the home’s main entrance.
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Grand Entrance: Modifications to the main entrance are grand yet instill warmth—creating a perfect place to welcome family and guests.
Loft Walkway: On the upper walkway, one can access bedrooms, read in the summer light, or work at the antique desk. Bontecou reframed the nook in order to accommodate one of the family’s favorite pieces of furniture.

The goals of the remodel were at first modest, but became manifold. Originally, says Bontecou, “They wanted to update the kitchen and open it to the great room by removing a wall.” When his clients saw drawings emerge, the original plan was revised, and the remodel began to grow, eventually resulting in a refashioning of the entire home, from expanded doorways and vaulted ceilings to new tile, cabinets, and fixtures throughout. The only remaining elements from the original design comprise the foundation, frame, and wood shakes. Also included in the extensive update is an alarm system installed by Watchguard Security Systems. The system secures the home and alerts the homeowners should interior temperatures begin to drop, thus protecting plumbing and all the home’s custom finishes.

Now, the great room and kitchen have been joined to create an inviting space for family to gather. A load-bearing wall was removed and extra support added in the crawl space and ceiling to compensate. John Kjos, an architect in Nunn’s office, was instrumental in working with engineers to “ensure structural integrity throughout the remodel process.”

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Great Room: Finishes lend the great room a lodge-like feel, with log paneling, trophies, and Molesworth-style furniture.

Another goal was to enhance the great room’s southern exposure. To accomplish this feat, the loft above the room was significantly reduced to open the ceiling, exposing large timbers. Then, larger doors and windows were added, flooding the honey-colored room with light. In concert with the larger openings, Harry Statter and his team at The Tree and Landscape Company, known for their high-quality landscape design, installation, and maintenance, “removed some old growth and created new landscaping to enhance the already dramatic location.” Consequently, views of Fish Creek, a private pond, and Munger Mountain in the distance were unwrapped.

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Kitchen Close-Up: The heart of the home gleams in the combination of alder, glass, bronze, and granite.
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Kitchen Opens Wide: The home’s vast kitchen can accommodate the whole family, cooking and eating together.

One can easily come and go from the kitchen while preparing a meal or snack. Craftsman Kitchens, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, made the trek to install their custom-made alder cabinets throughout the home, providing ample and handsome storage. Granite countertops installed by Davis Marble & Granite, also from Salt Lake City, augment the lovely space and offer the perfect surface for preparing or lingering over a meal.

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Great Room: Cozy furniture and a river-rock fireplace that rises from floor to ceiling craft an ideal space where weary skiers can warm themselves or the grandkids can stretch out to play a board game.

From the initial steps of redesigning the great room and kitchen, the project evolved. All of the interior doors, trim, and moldings were replaced with high-grade alder. Bathrooms were gutted, enlarged when possible, and finished with marble and granite, custom cabinets, and top-of-the-line fixtures. Stair rails were rebuilt by hand by the carpenter who crafted the original rails in the ’80s. He, too, was happy to revisit his work.

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Marble Bathroom: The master bath is finished in striking marble panels.

To access the upper floor, one ascends the stairs adjacent to the main entry. Here, a number of rooms and bathrooms welcome family members and guests. Nunn redesigned all of the ceilings on the second floor; new trusses allow for vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms and hallway. The vaults enlarge the rooms, dappling them with sunshine, while the hallway evokes a gallery with high ceilings, spot lighting, and wool rugs.

Everyone involved in this labor of love credits the high levels of contact among all parties. Nunn and Bontecou agree that they most enjoyed the owners’ willingness and excitement to do everything that was required to make this home the best possible in updating it. Nunn adds, “Steve and his crew kept the project running as it should have with excellent construction management and the finest carpentry.”

This gorgeous log home “gets back to ‘Jackson rustic,’” says Bontecou. When asked about his favorite part of the project, Nunn agrees, “The whole completed home is my favorite, as it creates a home that is timeless and not dated, which was my original intent.”