Tips for Building Green in Jackson Hole

Local contractors B&B Builders give Homestead some input.

Founded by brothers Ben and Brent Johnson in 1999, B&B Builders has had its hands (or tools) in many local projects over the intervening 15 years. Involved in building custom homes for the luxury and vacation markets in Jackson Hole and other areas of the Intermountain West, years of experience have honed the partners’ knowledge of local homeowner concerns and desires.Cowboy 2 05

Among these is a concern for green homebuilding. Always an eco-conscious pocket of the West, many Jackson Hole homeowners bring the same conscientiousness to their building plans when approaching a home or remodeling project. However, green building in Jackson Hole is not without its challenges. How to adequately heat a home in our harsh winters? What about the preference for facing buildings away from the sun and towards the Tetons? The views are, quite rightfully, the building focus of many local residences.

Ben Johnson of B&B Builders

Ben Johnson of B&B Builders

Ben Johnson, the Vice President of B&B Builders, agrees that “extreme winter conditions can be a challenge” for homeowners hoping to go green, although the trifecta of a good “architect, builder, and subcontractors” can go a long way in ameliorating these challenges. Energy efficient buildings are cited as money-savers, but Johnson cautions that prospective homeowners should educate themselves as to the cost upfront. An informative sit-down with your architect and builder beforehand may help mitigate any possible cases of sticker shock.

“Some ‘green’ building practices can also be cost efficient,” he says “however, many can result in much higher expenses, which should be considered. We often have clients interested in going “green” who are extremely disappointed when they see the cost difference.”

Striking the correct balance between desired sustainability and efficiency with building costs and homeowner needs can indeed be tricky. What else should homeowners consider when dreaming up the ideal green home or remodel?

Get Familiar with LEED
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This rigorous certification system was put in place by the U.S. Green Building Council, and surveys homes on 8 different factors before granting a rating. Browsing the USGBC rating system can be an effective way to discover green building avenues, even without the need to attain accreditation.

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As a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council themselves, B&B Builders is quite informed on the topic of constructing with energy efficiency.

Arranging a Site
Situational concerns are especially significant in Jackson Hole, where homes are often constructed on bluffs or in areas that also constitute wildlife migration corridors. Considering these factors when choosing how to situate a home is key, as is taking into account the possible impacts of erosion. One way to combat this problem is to landscape with native plants that don’t require extensive watering. As forest fire danger is also a perennial concern for local homeowners, fire-safe landscaping presents a proactive approach to safeguarding home and hearth.

Exterior of a home constructed by B&B Builders.

Exterior of a home constructed by B&B Builders.

Check the Source
The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit that oversees the sustainability of the wood that is used in building projects. As wood construction is a foundation of local construction, paying attention to where timber is sourced can certainly mean a greener home. Reclaimed, local, or certified woods all meet the LEED standards. Many local builders and sub-contractors use Douglas Fir, as well as reclaimed hardwoods to construct everything from floors to window frames. Sealed concrete and even bamboo can also meet the criteria for greenness.

Lowering Consumption
Homes constructed to utilize energy-saving lightbulbs in kitchens, or outfitted with low-flow showerheads and toilets in bathrooms are less wasteful of energy and water—this is also one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to go green. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can include these greener substitutions. In the case of an extensive renovation, however, Johnson urges “if possible” to “arrange to live somewhere else during the remodel.”

Hansen 16The Jackson Hole Energy Sustainability Project has some tips of its own for local residents and prospective residents.

Clean Air
Living in a green home isn’t simply about how your builders build or how you and your household creatively think through ways to cut down on usage. It’s also about the air you breathe. LEED certified buildings must meet certain standards of non-toxicity, which comes down to painting and finishing with water-based stains, paints, and sealers. Natural vs. synthetic carpets also contribute to low toxicity around the home, as do proper ventilation and the usage of air filters. As Jackson Hole’s climate is already so dry, mold and the moisture levels of indoor areas are of lesser concern than they are in other regions of the United States.

Cowboy 2 04Ben Johnson affirms that while classic “rustic mountain” styles remain a mainstay of local home projects, “rustic contemporary” is gaining a foothold. As local homeowners hope to embrace green building practices and modern modes of construction, a team of expert builders, architects, and designers is key to outline the project, address the scope of the home, and highlight the newest innovations of the practice.

More than a temporary trend, green building is here to stay in the valley.

(all images provided by B&B Builders)

2013 Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes: Recap

This year as part of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, Homestead Magazine’s Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes presented something unique: the chance for patrons to leave the gallery space for the home interior space. In recognition of the vibrant architectural, design, and building community of the valley, the Showcase offered ticket holders an intimate glimpse into every aspect of three magnificent local homes, and the opportunity to interface directly with the design professionals who made it so.

From airy modern to warmly-textured western to updated lodge luxury, the three featured properties—Gros Ventre Overlook, Owl Creek Elk Refuge, and Tucker Ranch Retreat—meant a full sampling of the latest in architectural and design innovation. “We loved the fact that all three houses were very different and all three spectacular!” noted one guest. Spaced over two glorious fall days in Jackson Hole, 200 guests experienced a treasure hunt of a day with rambles through “dream homes” that are usually sealed to the public, hors d’oeuvres, and most importantly, the chance to enjoy face-to-face conversations with premier valley artisans in the fields of architecture, building, and interior and exterior design.

The Showcase of Homes was successful in raising $9000 for local charities selected by the generous homeowners that opened up their doors, including The Grand Teton National Park Foundation, Center for the Arts, and JH Land Trust. Each organization will also receive a matching grant through the Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities. Event organizer Megan Jenkins counted the event a resounding success based on “the enthusiasm showed for each project by all of the attendees” and the “opportunity for people to have one-on-one conversations with the design professionals.  You could really appreciate the work and craftsmanship of each home.  People really had a great time and were extremely complimentary. ”  She hopes that the attendees were inspired and motivated to try “innovative things with their own spaces.”

This was echoed by multiple guests, who indicated that they attended precisely to network with design professionals and were looking forward to following up with the artisans who designed, built, or furnished the homes they visited during the tour. One noted the “informative,” “friendly,” and “welcoming” aspect of the Showcase, while another enthused, “I loved seeing the exquisite houses and having all of the builders, designers and others present to answer questions.”

Participating design professionals were able to connect with patrons in the context of their own design schemes and craftsmanship, illuminating their work in new ways. “It really is rewarding to have great clients who let you show off their home and attendees who comment on what a great job we all did,” noted Sharon Nunn, Vice-President of Ellis Nunn & Associates, Inc., whose firm designed the Owl Creek Refuge. “I look forward to doing it again next year.”

Bradley Suske of The Bradley Company—landscaping firm for the Tucker Rancher Retreat—felt similarly. “I thought it was an amazing experience for me,” he said. “I really felt like I was in my element.”

Megan Jenkins was pleasantly surprised at “how excited people were to be able to tour some of the masterpieces that are in this valley.” The three homes on the self-guided Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes tour allowed a multi-layered peek into all the creativity afoot in the Intermountain West, and the Renaissance in western style being forged by our singular community of creators, drafters, and craftspeople. With the canvas of the Tetons as its backdrop, Jackson Hole’s creative identity continues to evolve, and these exciting new properties are on the vanguard of it all.

Our mission at Homestead Magazine is to highlight Jackson Hole’s top-notch residential architecture and design community for local homeowners and visitors. Next year, we hope you’ll join us to tour one-of-a-kind homes, learn the ins and outs of the design process, and be inspired by the myriad possibilities of your own spaces.

Inside Views – The Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes

As published in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Wednesday, September 04, 2013.  Written by Richard Anderson.

Contrasting Materials
This Owl Creek Refuge was designed by Ellis Nunn & Associates, built by Two Ocean Builders and landscaped by MountainScapes, Inc.

Some of the best art in Jackson Hole doesn’t hang on the wall of museums, galleries or even homes. Some of the best art in Jackson Hole is the walls themselves.

This year’s Fall Arts Festival shines a light on the architecture and interior design of a handful of private residences with a “Showcase of Homes.” Hosted by Homestead Magazine, the showcase will spotlight several custom made homes in the valley and the architects, interior designers and landscapers who helped turn each one into something spectacular.

Some of us have been lucky enough to be in some of these homes. A few of us may even be lucky enough to live in such digs. But most of us, and certainly most visitors during Fall Arts Festival, have never before had the chance to step through the doorway of these prime properties. “It’s a shame nobody ever gets to see it,” said Latham Jenkins, president of Circ, which publishes Homestead, an annual magazine in which several of the homes have been featured. “These are beautiful pieces of art, and very few people get to experience them. The showcase is a platform to go and appreciate these works …and enable you to speak to the artist that created them.”

“There couldn’t be a better fit in time than the Fall Arts Festival,” he said. I view the design and craftsmanship that goes into these homes as its own art form, like what hangs on the walls. How great would it be if we could open up some of these homes for people to view?”

The tour will be self-guided. Visitors go to JacksonHoleShowcase.com to purchase tickets – limited to just 250, with sales benefiting charities of the homeowners’ choices – then can pick up the program guides at Circ Inc. 215 West Gill Ave.; Altamira Fine Art, 172 Center Street St.; Willow Creek Design, 115 E. Broadway; or the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, 112 Center St.

At each home principal designers will be present to greet visitors, show off highlights, and answer questions. At most sites, light refreshments will be offered.

“We’ve got a great base of committed people with homes,” Jenkins said, “and longtime valley professionals – architects, interior designers, contractors and landscapers. …We approached the design community at large to include all those groups to see who had projects they could showcase.”

So not only will a selection of fantastic Teton homes be on display but the talent that created them will be, too – firms such as Jacque Jenkins-Stireman Design, Berlin Architects and Stephen Dynia Architects, MountainScapes Inc., and Bontecou Construction, Two Oceans Builders and Mill Iron Timberworks.

It’s a great way to be able to interact with possible new clients, “ said John Walker, of Mill Iron Timberworks, the general contractor of the showcase residence on North Gros Ventre Butte. Walker said his company does just about every kind of work, though this house, designed by Dynia, is quite contemporary. It was built just a year and a half ago, he said, and it appeared on the cover of last year’s Homestead magazine. “We’ll be on hand, as will the interior designer” and architect Dynia, the builder said.

“The stories behind the homes are best told by the architects that worked on them,” Jenkins said. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to the professionals behind the projects in a meaningful setting. They won’t have 1000 people coming through all trying to talk” to the designers. With just 250 tickets sold, buyers will have the luxury of spending time with the residences and professionals.

“A lot of these homeowners really value the design community that came together to create this work of art that they live in,” Jenkins said. “We felt this is where the pairing with the Fall Arts festival was really important.” The festival has over the past 28 years offered art patrons plenty of opportunities to come to galleries and meet the artists whose work hangs on the walls. The Showcase of Homes allows similar epicures the chance to see art on a different scale.

“That’s the alignment we were trying to take,” Jenkins said, “to come view art in a different form and talk to the artists.” The 2013 Fall Arts Festival is the first year for Homestead’s Showcase of Homes, but Jenkins hopes the event will grow. “Our goal this year is to put on a quality event and to set the stage for the future,” he said.

Homestead to host 2013 Showcase of Homes

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jacksonholeshowcase

The Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes is a two-day, self-guided fundraising tour to experience the craftsmanship and meet the artists behind some of Jackson’s most spectacular homes.

More than the ordinary walk-through, the Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes has a superb catch: face-to-face conversations with the finest professionals in architecture, construction, interior design, landscaping and electronic systems. They will reveal the art—and perhaps the magic—behind their achievements in some of the most exciting living spaces in the West.

All ticket proceeds will benefit local charities chosen by our generous homeowners.

Dates
Friday Sept 13, 10am – 4pm
Saturday Sept 14, 12pm – 6pm

Limited tickets available. For more information and to purchase tickets please go to: www.JacksonHoleShowcase.com.

 

 

Outdoor Dining Season… It’s (Almost) Here!

This may be a little premature, but all this warm weather is putting us in the mood for some outdoor entertaining. But we’re not talking about just any old B-B-Q. We want to do it the Homestead way, which means we want to enjoy a tasty dinner served in an elegant outdoor setting while gazing at a view of the Tetons.

Cooking an entire meal in an outdoor kitchen in our backyard sounds pretty ideal. We’d enlist Bontecou Construction to help install a beautiful patio like this one so we could entertain all our friends outside, or simply relax solo and enjoy the upcoming summer evenings.     

[Read more…]

Home Office Inspirations

At Homestead, we’ve been having a debate about the importance of offices. Is it better to have face-to-face meetings, as argued here in this recent article from Inc. Magazine? Or does working remotely (and with unlimited vacation!) spur productivity, as Fast Company claims? [Read more…]

2012 Homestead Cover Revealed!

 

We are so excited to reveal the cover of our 2012 edition of Homestead! With all of the beautiful architecture, art, and interior design featured in this year’s book, picking our cover photo was certainly no easy task. But this stunning photo of the Shooting Star Ranch home by Stephen Dynia Architects and Dynamic Custom Homes shone through as one of the most extraordinary of the bunch. [Read more…]

With a Little Paint, This Timber Frame Home Feels Fresh

Timber frame homes seem to be universal. They’re practically the standard here in rustic Jackson Hole where you can’t walk up a flight of stairs without them being made of knotty pine. [Read more…]

Slope Side Living in Style

Much to everyone’s excitement, the big storm last week left Jackson covered in 5 feet of snow, and got us all out on the slopes after a dry start to the season.

All this fun at the resort got us thinking about our favorite places to relax après ski. And at Homestead, you can bet we prefer the luxury and solitude of a beautiful slope side home to any bar. [Read more…]

Ben Roth Takes Outdoor Showering to a Whole New Level

 

There’s nothing quite as glorious as an outdoor shower. You’re naked. You’re outside. The air is warm and the water is warmer. When you’re coming in from a long day spent in the sun, even rinsing off in a tiny space made with driftwood walls feels like luxury.

But this outdoor shower by local artist and designer Ben Roth takes the experience to a whole new level. Jackson couple Scott and Sandy approached Ben to design this shower as part of an addition to their private residence on North Gros Ventre Butte. The addition, designed by Carney Logan and Burke, was Sandy’s gift to Scott; as a lover of outdoor showering, the feature was his top requirement for the renovation.

Scott wanted an outdoor shower that would allow him to view the Tetons while he bathed. And while he didn’t want to offend his neighbors, he loved the idea of his head and feet being visible to passers-by. So Ben took measurements to tailor the shower specifically to Scott’s body, and came up with a chic elliptical design that provided privacy without compromising the Tetons. The carbon steel screen is also meant to rust over time, allowing the shower to blend into its surroundings while requiring zero upkeep – so Scott could shower nearly camouflaged by his surroundings (except for his head and feet of course!).

But when Sandy asked that her measurements be incorporated into the plans, the ellipse became much shallower and the design lost its original appeal. Realizing that she’d probably never use the shower, she asked that Ben return to the Scott-specific design. With that, the shower became Scott’s completely custom personal outdoor shower. Now that sounds pretty glorious to us!