Before social-distancing became the norm, the owner of the Boar Shoat [a family term for youthful vivacity] was looking for some isolation - not to get away from a pandemic, but to gain distance from the clamor of city living.
So he went back to the place of his carefree childhood summer vacations, and that's where he found it - along a gentle natural berm, next to a quaking stand of aspen trees, nestled into a sixty acre parcel of rolling grassy hills surrounded by the great Rocky Mountains of Southern Idaho – perfectly in the middle of nowhere.
Intended as a crash pad and base camp, three small structures gather under an open air pavilion, encapsulating the client's main concept for the project - a spartan retreat within the Bear River range. Central to the project is a large outdoor living space under an expansive canopy that protects it from the weather. The triad of small structures (consisting of residence, guest quarters and utilitarian storage) flank this outdoor living room on three sides acting as windbreaks and framing views of Paris Peak.
With no utility connections for miles, the self-sustaining retreat is designed with energy in mind. Using passive solar strategies, the windows are positioned to harness free energy from the sun during the winter, and roof overhangs have been calculated for cool summer shading. A tight super-insulated building envelope and performance enhancing windows and doors ventilate and optimize interior comfort. Electricity and heat are provided by a photovoltaic array atop the canopy with supplemental battery storage and back-up generator.
Emphasizing the owner’s desire for low to no maintenance materials, the entire exterior is clad in accordion metal panels, well suited for the harsh winters of the open range. The panel's unique shape creates ever changing patterns of light and shadow throughout the day. Likewise, an oculus in the canopy traces sun angles throughout the year, from space to space, marking every moment spent there.
The interior is simple, complimenting the exterior experience by visually bringing views and vegetation inside through expansive floor to ceiling windows. Clean white walls act as a gallery for an extensive art collection created by the owner's daughters. Furnishings were selected by the client's talented wife, making the place uniquely theirs. Natural wood ceilings warm and soften the space from above. Below, intentionally untreated concrete floors offer a durable, worry-free surface that embraces the patina of life [foot traffic, spills, scuffs, and all], creating a living record of time well spent together.
Logan and Steven Schenk of locally based yNot Construction sourced labor and construction materials from nearby outfits and suppliers, orchestrating the entire build from the first spade in the ground through the ceremonious ‘house warming’ get-together.
Naturally, the landscape is left ruggedly wild to further induce awareness of being encompassed by nature and away from everything.
The central court yard is flanked on three sides by free standing structures connected by a floating canopy, giving the outdoor living space protection from wind and weather.
Paris Peak is framed by the central court yard. Nature permeates the perimeter on all sides.
The three structures physically connect only via the canopy and outdoor living patio in order to allow views and cross breezes to abound.
The central court with outdoor fire pit views a stand of quaking aspen trees where the nearest neighbor [a moose] resides.
Nestling into the hillside next to a stand a aspen trees gives the home a cozy, protected feeling in the exposed hills of Idaho.
Long rolling hills with dark rock outcroppings inspired the low-lying, horizontal form.
The oculus over an ever-growing stone cairn marks the time of day and the change of seasons as the light traces the suns path through each living space. Visitors are invited to add a stone to the cairn with each visit they make.
The guest house lounge spills out onto the outdoor living patio under the central canopy.
Views of Paris Peak are captured in the guest lounge.
A 25 foot wide, 11 foot tall multi-slide door opens the entire main house living space to the outdoor living area in the main court yard.
Floor to ceiling glass floods the living room with light and views.
A free standing, three-sided fireplace bookends the living room creating entry and privacy for the master bedroom.
Kitchen and dining are combined to keep the main house's footprint compact and functional. Floating cabinets provide separation and privacy for the guest room.
Wall to wall, floor to ceiling glass blurs the boundary between the master bedroom and the rolling hills of southern Idaho.
A recessed master tub views the rolling golden hills of the Bear River mountain range.
In the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho, the remote retreat is away from everything except solitude.
An oculus opened in the central court yard canopy brings light and warmth to outdoor living.
Nature is allowed to permeate the building site giving the impression that the retreat grew out of the ground rather than placed upon it.