A single dad with a working cattle ranch near Daniel, Wyoming, builds a kid- and horse-friendly modern industrial ranch-style home in Wilson.
By Maggie Theodora | Photography by Tuck Fauntleroy
JJ Healy’s life was in transition when he decided to make a new family home near Wilson. He and his kids, Cormac, 11, and Sawyer, 9, had lived on the Double J Ranch, a real cattle operation near Daniel, Wyoming, with Healy’s then-wife since 2004. He still has the ranch, and he and the kids still spent a lot of time there, but, “I recognized that having something closer to Jackson would make things easier now that the kids are getting older,” he says. Still, he wanted to bring some of the ranch with them. “I wanted to be able to keep horses so the kids could continue working on their equestrian skills,” he says.
A 3.5-acre property adjacent to open space protected by a conservation easement in the Schofield Patent subdivision just east of Wilson fit the bill for what he originally envisioned as a more compact version of the Double J. “We had this home that we loved and I thought we could just re-create it outside of Wilson,” he says. But Peggy Gilday, a co-founding partner of GYDE Architects, which he chose to design the new home, quickly and gently talked him out of this. “She was helpful in inspiring me to do more than re-create [the Double J]. In a very delicate way, she pushed me to go a little more on the modern side,” Healy says.
While Healy’s idea to build a Double J 2.0 was abandoned early in the design process, he says he was still thinking “of just a main house and a barn with a guest unit above it.” But that too evolved. “[GYDE] is big into imagery and I kept liking the images they showed me of compounds. But I was still asking for just a house and a barn,” Healy says. “Then in a meeting I remember Peg saying, ‘Don’t hate this,’ and then showing me an idea they had come up with that was a compound. It wasn’t what I had asked for, but I immediately knew it was what I wanted.”
The compound includes a 5,700-square-foot, two-story main house and attached garage, a 985-square-foot, two-story detached guesthouse, and a two-stall barn with a hayloft. The main house/garage is one building, but to reinforce the compound feel, it was broken into two parts separated by a glass breezeway. The result is that it looks like two buildings. An added benefit is that from the oversize sliding glass doors that make up the breezeway walls, there is immediate and easy access to outdoor living spaces.
While Healy chose not to re-create the Double J, he and GYDE did use it as inspiration for this house. “We started calling the style of this house ‘modern industrial ranch,’” he says. “That was our mantra throughout the project. With every move we made and finish and material we selected we asked, ‘How does this fit?’ Having such a well-defined theme made decisions easier. If something wasn’t true to the theme, we didn’t do it or use it.”
The forms of the various buildings are modern. Exposed metal work is industrial. The palette for siding and materials is ranch. “I think the powder rooms have all three of these in one place,” Healy says. There, the cabinetry is made from reclaimed barnwood, the sinks are very modern, and the fixtures are industrial. The combined kitchen/dining/living room is similar to the main living space at the Double J, down to the Tulikivi woodburning stove. “I like the flow of it and know that it works,” he says. But here, sitting at the built-in swinging stools at the kitchen island that are copies of the stools in the ranch’s kitchen, you look out the windows and see the Tetons instead of the Wyoming or Wind River Range.