Privacy with Views
The challenge of this Shooting Star home was making the most of the views without sacrificing privacy.
By Samantha Simma
A family of six from New York hired JLF Architects to design a Jackson Hole sanctuary for them on a 0.73-acre site in Shooting Star, a luxury community near the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). The site presented two main views: Sleeping Indian to the east and, to the northwest, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the Teton Range. The program the couple requested from Logan Leachman at JLF Architects included five bedrooms, a shared office, a library, a TV room, a large mudroom with ample storage space, two dining areas, and, anticipating sharing the house with guests, a kid-friendly area. (Leachman overachieved in the latter by including two separate, gender-specific bunkrooms.) Also, the clients wanted the home to feel private despite the density of the neighborhood, and they wanted a hot tub on a second-floor deck.
During a home’s design phase, JLF Architects—which was founded in Bozeman, Montana in 1979, opened an office in Jackson in 1989, and has designed seven other custom homes in Shooting Star—uses what it calls “conceptual bubble diagrams.” Bubbles are drawn for each of the spaces clients want their home to have and then labeled with the name of the space—master suite, pantry, game room, library, kitchen, etc. The size of each oval is scaled to correspond to the size of the room it represents (e.g., the living room oval is bigger than a bathroom oval). Leachman says, “The loosely drawn bubbles free up your mind and engage the client in understanding room relationships and site relationships without being confined to thinking about the details of how rooms fit and function.” Leachman worked with the clients arranging and rearranging bubbles on a diagram of the lot until they settled on the final design. The process took about 12 months.
Teton County building codes allow single-family residences to include up to 8,000 square feet of habitable space, but certain Shooting Star lots, including this one, limit homes to 7,000 square feet. Fitting the client’s program into this square footage was a challenge and required unique angles and even a curve. The latter “was an interesting way to connect the angles we needed,” Leachman says. Adding to the challenge were neighbors on two sides (north and south) who had built right up to the setback (as this house will be). “We wanted to strike a balance between creating privacy to the next-door neighbors while taking advantage of the views in both directions,” Leachman says.
Because the eastern side of the lot borders Shooting Star’s practice golf range, which ensures that side will remain undeveloped and eastern views will remain unobstructed, the home was ultimately sited and designed with the Sleeping Indian as the main view corridor. But Leachman also maintained views (and privacy) looking toward JHMR to the northwest by creative use of angles and by working closely with Verdone Landscape Architects. Windows in the main entry, living area, master bedroom, and kitchen frame the Indian. A second-story game room, hot tub deck, and second guest master suite look out to the tram and JHMR.
Another significant design move was siting the garage almost parallel, rather than perpendicular, to the street. This helped inform the home’s horseshoe shape and allowed for an interior courtyard that Leachman says “creates privacy on a lot that wasn’t all that private.” The courtyard is hugged on three sides by the house and “serves as an entry while offering privacy,” Leachman says. This main entrance also offers direct access to a guest suite and the mudroom. Second-story rooms and decks overlook it.
Because of the home’s horseshoe shape, it looks smaller than it is. “If you drive past this project, it’s similar in size to other Shooting Star homes, but from the street it doesn’t appear to be that large of a house,” Leachman says. Throughout the home, the materials palette is contemporary and clean—steel, glass, stacked stone, and reclaimed wood.