When a family survives something as challenging as a childhood leukemia diagnosis, there is certainly cause for celebration. That’s what led a Michigan couple and their two children to take a sabbatical to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They thought they’d move to Jackson for one school year after their son’s leukemia went into remission.  However, after living in the area for just a few weeks, they were hooked and decided to stay. “It’s a pretty typical Jackson story,” says the wife. “People are drawn to the area who want to heal, who want a healthy lifestyle; it’s very peaceful here.”

The high clerestory windows wrap around the great room, ensuring the right amount of light comIng in throughout all hours of the day. Fireplaces on both ends of the room create a magical, warm feel. A dark-topped table (Restoration Hardware) provides important color contrast to the wooden bar in the kitchen, which opens to this space. Iron chandeliers (Rose Tarlow) combine with high-tech string lights.

They enlisted the help of Michigan architect Jeff Visser, principal at J. Visser Design, to help them create their peaceful retreat in the West. They had a history with Visser, who had recently designed a cottage home on Lake Michigan for them. 

Running perpendicular to cedar beams, masterfully mixing modern and traditional. The flooring is quarter sawn white oak.

Rather than remodeling the house they had purchased in the Jackson area, the couple decided to take Visser’s advice that “We can do better,” and start from scratch on a 3-acre site in nearby Wilson, Wyoming, a charming community nestled against the west bank of the Snake River.

The family utilizes every aspect of the outdoor living space, including the sunken fire pit on the bluestone-surfaced back patio with built-in bench seating that is inviting even when the snow flies.

“The property is amazing,” says Visser. “My job was to try to capture the best of what’s offered in Jackson–the outdoor living. We feel very strongly about how the outdoors lives with the indoors, so that’s part of our design process and layout.”  Visser adds that a sense of scale was also important to the homeowners, who didn’t want the house to be too grandiose or too rustic.

The butler pantry serves as a “mini-kitchen” that enables effortless entertaining. It is tucked behind a wall and offers a second sink and dishwasher where dirty dishes can be hidden from the open-concept kitchen/dining/living room areas.

Capturing the best views and maximizing the natural sunlight throughout the day was also key to the design and factored into the decision about where to orient the house on the lot.

The mix of textures in this bedroom – a barn wood wall and the woven raffia-style wallpaper bordering the built-in window seat – create interest while bringing additional natural outdoor elements into the home’s décor.

The resulting home features five bedrooms (including a master suite and a guest apartment), an open-concept kitchen, great room, cozy sitting areas, a yoga room, and plenty of outdoor space where the family gathers.

The sitting area has a lower ceiling than the main living room, giving it an intimate and cozy feel. The use of the stone from the exterior creates the illusion that this room was once an outdoor patio that was enclosed. The triangle-shaped windows wrap into the corners of this room, making the most of the view and adding a modern touch. Cowhide chairs by Serena and Lily.

Visser broke down the mass of the home by creating a “village of buildings” and stretching out the house on the lot, fashioning several outdoor spaces and capitalizing on the views.  The various sections of the home–from the master suite on one end, through the main building with the living areas, to the wing that houses the upper-floor bedrooms–are connected by low-pitched copper roofs that create nooks for indoor/outdoor living.

Beehive tiles (Ann Sacks) – the first decorative element the wife chose – frame the wall of windows in the kitchen (DeGiulio Kitchen & Bath), which is devoid of upper cabinets to capitalize on the stunning view. Mercury glass pendant lights (West Elm) illuminate the wooden island, which complements the painted cabinets under the windows.

The wife decorated the home herself with the help of her sister, who ultimately moved to Jackson, as well.  Textiles and prints–showcased in block-pattern curtains, colorful rugs, textured wallpaper, interesting tile and bold throw pillows–were the main design focus. Everything else, including the natural-colored barstools, dining chairs and couches, are intentionally understated to support, rather than compete with, these materials and the natural surroundings.

The master bathroom is a sanctuary space that features gorgeous honed marble floors, warm brass fixtures (Waterworks), and vanities custom-made (Benchmark Studio) to replicate an antique dresser the owner loved. The freestanding oval tub (Waterworks), flanked by Kathryn Ireland curtains, is set into an alcove with a lower ceiling, creating an intimate space.

Photography by Roger Wade.

Architect: J. Visser Design; jvisser.com.

Builder, Kurt Wimberg Construction; kwcjh.com.