To the max

An East Jackson home is designed to maximize a lot’s zoning. 

By Samantha Simma / Renderings courtesy of Farmer Payne Architects

On a 0.17 acre lot on Cache Creek Drive, Jamie Farmer, of Farmer Payne Architects, designed a modern farmhouse-inspired home for Robert Huggins, president of New West Building Company, his partner Shawn Cripps, and their two young kids. Although the size of the home was limited by the small lot size, Farmer was able to design an open, family-friendly 2,961-square-foot main house, a detached 1,000-square-foot guest house (with its own garage) and a 755-square-foot accessory residential unit, or ARU, in the basement that the family can rent out. “We want to provide some housing that is desperately needed,” Huggins says. 

It was challenging to fit such a massive program into the small lot, but, Farmer says, “The most successful designs use limitations as opportunities.” In this case, it was an interesting and challenging exercise for him to design the absolute largest structures allowed by the zoning. Farmer says these large-structures-on-small-lots are “definitely a departure from the traditional East Jackson vernacular but [are] exactly what the town planners and the community have been working toward over the last decade with respect to centralized density, reallocating county development to town.”

Large, east-facing windows welcome natural morning sunlight into the main home’s voluminous, two-story great room. Farmer says he “focused on using the volume of the space to make the interior feel more open and bring natural light and passive solar heating into the home.” The great room is the centerpiece of the home; a second-story landing looks down into it, and an open staircase leads up to where a bridge connects the kids’ rooms to the master suite. 

Huggins has more than 30 years of experience in the building industry, but it was unique for him to work on a personal project, he says. “I believe in trusting the architect and designers, but when it’s your space it is very personal.” While Huggins tends to get very involved in the programming of spaces for clients, he found making such decisions for his own home intense.

Farmer says that because most lots on Cache Creek Drive accommodate row-style housing, “the views to the sides are difficult.” To give the guesthouse privacy and its own alley access, it was sited north of the main home. (North is the direction of the Tetons from Cache Creek Drive.) While this makes the guesthouse feel separated from the main home, it means the master bedroom in the main home doesn’t have Teton views. Instead the master suite sits at the south end, where, Farmer says, it has “a great view of Snow King and direct sunlight through big glass doors.” 

The main house isn’t totally without Teton views though: The range can be seen from a rooftop deck. On the main home’s main level, the great room opens onto a south-facing terrace, which is covered by the second-story bedrooms that extend out over it. To extend the functionality of the terrace, it has ceiling heaters and a fire pit. A spiral staircase connects the terrace to a second-story deck and also to the rooftop deck. Because the couple enjoys entertaining guests, Farmer says, it was important to provide connectivity between the indoor and outdoor public spaces. 

“The most successful designs use limitations
as opportunities.”
[ Architect Jamie Farmer ]

The exterior materials palate includes neutral, vertical white siding and a stone veneer on the chimney. “Delicate wood screens enclose the entryway from the parking area,” Farmer says. Similar natural cedar screens enclose the covered back patio. For the interior, Huggins and Cripps factored in their two young boys into some materials selections. The basement—both the rental apartment and the family’s area—has concrete floors. “Over the concrete we plan on placing Flor carpet tiles that can be easily cleaned,” Huggins says. “The baths have a less expensive melamine cabinet, rather then a solid oak, as it’s easier to clean and is bulletproof, so to speak.”  

From his own experience in building, Huggins knew he wanted the basement to have 10-foot ceilings to achieve an airier feel. Farmer says, “Basements are always challenging with respect to natural light, comfort, and views. Our solution was to create tall ceilings and large, full-height light wells. The east wall of the basement is basically floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a sense that the space is above grade.” 

The project is on schedule to be finished by spring 2020.  

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