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By Christy Nielson
Photography by Drew Orlando
Daisy Springs Ranch is a 37-acre property just outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A swath of Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-designated land stretches between the property and the mountains, preserving Daisy Springs Ranch’s pristine vistas and offering hundreds of acres to hike, horseback ride, fish, and hunt. The property also features several underground springs that bubble up to form a private pond and the Daisy Creek.
A number of underground springs bubble up on the property to feed Daisy Creek and create a beautiful pond.
Daisy Springs Ranch serves as the ranching headquarters and homestead for a couple that has a long history with cattle and horses. The husband’s family has been ranching in the region for generations and traces its lineage back to the Jackson Hole pioneers who settled in the area in the early 1900s.
“It’s not like they are hobby ranchers; these folks are the real deal,” says Chris Moulder, AIA, principal, and co-founder of Dubbe Moulder Architects, the firm that designed the home that was built on the ranch. “When it’s branding season, they are part of a group of ranchers that pitch in to handle approximately 5,000 head of cattle from the collective ranches,” Moulder continues. “They are a big part of that community.”
The house is clad in durable cedar siding stained to look weathered, while tightly-stacked Montana moss stones are applied to appear as if they are part of the foundation.
The family’s strong connection to the land, the ranching community, and the ranching lifestyle informed the home’s unassuming design. The shape of the building was inspired by a single-pitched hay rack shed on the property. Additionally, a 100-year-old tack shed provided important context for the textures that were incorporated.
“The hay rack shed is a quintessential form on the ranch landscapes in the region,” notes Moulder, who specializes in vernacular architecture. “So I thought, why don’t I take that form and repeat it for the ranch house, giving a contemporary spin to this existing vernacular which are all over the place?”
The views of the verdant valley and the Gros Ventre Mountains act as artwork that is framed by the window wall on the high side of the living space.
Moulder says the team went “back to the basics” when designing the 2,782-square-foot home, taking into account how the pioneers who settled the valley would have built their homesteads. “Typically, they utilized materials that are easily accessible to the property–rocks, stone, logs, and rough-sawn materials,” he says of the practicality imparted into the design. “Textures are very, very important.”
The footprint of the structure also has historical significance and portrays a collection of buildings that appear to have been connected over time. The layering of materials–board and batten cedar siding, Montana moss rock wainscoting at the base of the building, and a metal standing seam roof–creates consistency between the new home and the other buildings on the property. Inside, the clean design features substantial Douglas fir beams on the vaulted ceilings and knotty oak floors in random-sized planks throughout. Minimalistic décor focuses on function and directs attention to the view ,creating an exceedingly comfortable and livable space. “There’s a lot of ‘less is more’ application to it,” Moulder concludes.
The interior of the home is clean, simple, and pragmatic with sparse, yet meaningful, décor that lets the view steal the show.
Easy access to buildings and organizations is key to the layout of any ranch or farm, according to Moulder. “We paid close attention to the natural environment from a weather and solar standpoint, thinking of ways to offer protection from the environment while at the same time respecting the environment. It’s a delicate balance, and we feel it was successful,” Moulder says.
Moulder points out that the way the design-inspiring hay rack shed is oriented–with the roof sloping down toward the south and west–not only offers protection from the elements, but also allows snow that accumulates on the roof during the winter months to slide down and melt more quickly. Using this silhouette for the house provided the same pragmatic benefits in an area that gets about 67 inches of snow each year and can potentially experience 120-degree temperature swings from the coldest day in the winter to the hottest day in the summer. At the same time, the upward pitch of the roofline accentuates the sweeping views of the Gros Ventre Range to the north and west.
The lack of upper cabinetry in the kitchen adds to the modern ranch house aesthetic.
The house boasts super-insulation values, achieved with the use of modern building materials and double-paned windows, and doors that deliver high performance. The single pitched roof extends beyond the length of the home’s interior, creating a large covered deck that provides coveted outdoor gathering space and an escape from inclement weather.
It’s all about the views of the Gros Ventre Mountains at Daisy Springs Ranch, which serves as the headquarters and homestead for the owners’ working cattle ranch.
Moulder says the home’s functional design considered how the couple would utilize the buildings that were already on the property, how they would physically get from one building to the next, and how to incorporate the new house in a practical way on the property. “The owners are the definition of what ranching life is really, truly about,” Moulder says. “The fabric of these people is very intricate as well as robust, and we wanted to give them a place where they can continue to be inspired and as comfortable as possible after a long day working cattle.”
This photo illustrates the design impression that the home is a collection of buildings that have been connected over time because of the practical need to get from one building to the next.
Chris Moulder, AIA, Principal & Co-Founder
Dubbe Moulder Architects