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Coyote Rock Ranch

Penny Knight shares this tranquil high desert retreat with husband Phil, co-founder and chairman of Nike.

September 17, 2017

When Penny & Phil Knight are ready for a little solitude, a short respite from their busy schedule and some family time, they escape to Coyote Rock Ranch. The setting—a combination of high drama rock formations worthy of an old western movie, and bucolic horse pastures reaching out towards Cascade Mountain sunsets—is what first attracted the couple to the property.

The fact that Penny’s sister, Kim, would be a neighbor made it an easy choice. The location was phenomenal. The challenge: design a structure that would hold its own among one of the West’s most spectacular locations while keeping the focus on nature.

Penny, who grew up riding horses at her family’s beach house along the Oregon Coast, knew she wanted to “bring the outdoors in.” “I have always loved horses,” she confesses, “I enjoy the smells, feel, texture, and personality of each horse. I am a nature gal at heart.”

In fact, the rear of the home features a tall stone and glass-walled walkway that almost feels like being outside. In the evening, exterior lights illuminate the desert hill that hugs the property just beyond the glass, revealing the deer, fox, badger, and other creatures that share the ranch.

Indoors, Penny chose a chiseled-edge travertine for the floors, knotty-hickory cabinetry and woodwork, and extensive masonry, including the 31,000 lbs of natural blonde and brown stones (called Montana Buff) that form the rock wall and pillars that visually, and literally, link the master bedroom, rear hallway, and the couple’s dens.

The interior design of the Coyote Rock Ranch is a study in the artful use of organic textures and classic, unpretentious elements, sprinkled with irresistible cowgirl accents that give the home a sophisticated western style.

Fur bedspreads and hair-on-hide pillows adorn crisp linens and leather chairs. Sentimental antique saddles and bridles decorate the rooms and the foyer.

Almost everywhere, there are artful masks on display fashioned of animal skulls, feathers, beads, and hides, each one more striking than the last! “I started collecting masks about 30 years ago,” Penny explains. “My first mask was purchased at a gallery in Lincoln City, Oregon and just happened to be by my favorite artist, Denise Snyder. She has designed and made my masks since then. I have a collection of close to 100 masks and have given them as gifts to family members. I love her choice of furs, feathers and small animal skulls.”

Elsewhere on the ranch, is a gorgeous horse set-up. “We started our show string with a single stallion and have built a small but excellent group of show horses, brood mares, and foals,” Penny explains.

Photography by Steve Tague and Joseph Eastburn.

(Originally published in the January/February 2010 issue of Cowgirl Magazine).

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