From a reimagined farmhouse to a mountain getaway bordering a national forest, here’s a peek inside four residences that celebrate the West.
[Cedar Creek, Texas]
With the help of a Dallas-based interior designer and architect and a local builder, a couple rebuilds its cedar creek lake house and freshens it up with custom furnishings and artisan accents.
The decision for Robert and Sharon Van Cleave to reconceive an original log cabin at Wavy V Ranch on Cedar Creek Lake they’d owned for 10 years arose from one need: more space. “It became more and more popular for family and events such as engagements, weddings, reunions, and we realized we needed more space, especially bathrooms!” says Robert, a recently retired building company chairman and CEO. The couple enlisted architect Robbie Fusch, interior designer Jason Lenox, landscape architect LandVisions, and local Cedar Creek builder Bill Ackley. “We just decided to start from scratch, but in keeping with and honoring the log cabin, outdoors feel, and metal roofing that we loved. The design concept was to create maximum comfortable sleeping and bathroom facilities, with additional flexible sleeping spaces. We also wanted the home to feel comfortable and intimate when it was used by just a few. And we wanted all four levels easily accessible by all, especially our senior family members, so we incorporated the four-level elevator into a stone ‘chimney.’ We also loved the idea of reclaiming and re-milling old lumber for the walls and floors, again honoring some of the past, and creating wonderful character.”
For the new 14,400-square-foot stone-and-cedar home with a galvanized metal roof, Lenox, owner of Dallas design boutiques Antéks Home Furnishings & Antéks Curated, created custom pieces throughout and layered the large, open spaces with leathers, natural woods, and statement pieces such as elk antler chandeliers (measuring 7 feet in diameter) made by local artist Terry Wilson, a collection of waterfowl and shorebird decoys painted and carved by artist R.D. Wilson, an iron fireplace screen handcrafted by local artist Tom Winkelvoss, outdoor furniture by Old Hickory, and a photograph by Laura Wilson mounted on a lift that conceals a 65-inch television screen when not in use.
“They wanted a home that was very livable and comfortable,” says Lenox, who also helped the couple design the original cabin. “It’s a really special setting, and it’s so beautiful. We think that the design we created really lends itself to family living, and it feels like it’s been put together slowly. We picked custom pieces, and we really feel like what we’ve pulled together looks like it’s been there a long time and that rooms have some level of timelessness.”
“I love the blend between the rustic feel of a ranch house and the outdoor feel of the lake and land coupled with the sophistication and interest of the different stones and tiles throughout the baths, bars, and kitchen — all personally selected by Sharon,” Robert adds. “Our favorite aspect of the design was the blend of scale and sophistication with the intimacy and warmth of materials and space. It serves the two of us wonderfully for an intimate weekend together as well as accommodating 30 sleepover guests for a weekend reunion, not to mention Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holidays.”
A Chicago couple builds a Southwestern retreat that blends right in with the existing landscape of cactus groves and massive boulders.
Eleven years ago, Illinois natives Kathy and John Andersen decided to build their dream home in Marana, Arizona, about 35 minutes northwest of Tucson. “We both went to college in the West, where we developed a deep love of the West and Southwest cultures, artwork, and history,” Kathy says. “During the time that we raised our two children in the Chicago area, we often vacationed in Colorado and Arizona. It was this love of the West that made us decide to move to Marana.”
To design their ideal home, the Andersens hired architect Marc Soloway of Soloway Designs Architecture + Interiors and interior designer Lisa Reeves of Talents Interiors LLC. “When I first met John and Kathy at their lot, I was floored by how amazing it was,” Soloway says. “It was a sheer cliff of huge boulders, many that seemed they could fall at any minute. I love the integration of the home into its environment. Because the slope is made up of boulders as big as cars, we wanted to use any boulders we were removing and place them around the home, pool, and yard so it felt that the house had been built right out of them. When you are at the house, you question how a house could be built with all those boulders surrounding it. It gives you such a warm feel because of it.”
Inside, they settled on a vibrant palette and Southwestern artwork by Cowboy Artists of America members, including painter Howard Terpning. “Our desire was to build a Southwestern-style home that combined a contemporary feel with components of the Old West,” Kathy says. “Lisa introduced us to many wonderful Southwest artisans who designed plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, lighting fixtures, furniture, and metalwork for us. We love color, so we incorporated reds, turquoise, and copper features into the home and colors that define the Southwest.”
Construction of the wood frame, masonry, and stucco residence and guest house took three years to complete. Now that they have settled in, they feel right at home. “There is so much to love about living in Marana,” Kathy says. “The sunrises and sunsets, the amazing weather, the desert animals and cacti, and the aroma of the desert after a rainstorm.”
Out of the Woods
[Pagosa Springs, Colorado]
Along with the expertise of a local architect in Southwestern Colorado, a Southern California duo dreams up the ideal mountain getaway complete with custom doors and details.
When John and Marilyn Dahlberg first got a glance at Bear Tooth Ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, it was nothing short of love at first sight. “We wanted to have a place in the mountains that could be a place to bring our 10 grandchildren to so they could experience the ‘real world’ rather than just malls and video games,” says John, whose primary residence is in Newport Coast, California. The Dahlbergs befriended the previous owner, and when it went up for sale, they jumped on it and have since bought more surrounding land for their growing cattle business. “We did not have a full appreciation of what a wonderful location we had until the fellows that were working on the house kept pointing out the exceptional views and the fact the ranch was located with the [San Juan] National Forest bordering the property.”
To customize the home, which now has seven bedrooms and 8,000 square feet, they looked to local architect Mike Moore of Moore & Company Inc. The project included adding a great room, a porte-cochere, and a homestead for the ranch manager and his wife.
Marilyn designed the interiors using items culled from travels around the world. “Our plan was for the house to be overrun with children and friends, so everything was designed with that in mind,” John says. “She gave great attention to every detail.” Each bedroom door and the double front door features hand-carved scenes of local wildlife. Even the fir mantel has a custom bronze inset with a bear and horses.
“My clients said to me when we were done that they probably could not have designed a house from scratch that works as well as this one does for them and their family,” Moore says. “From the reclaimed oak-plank flooring, old fir timbers, hand-distressed woodwork, and even a real bear trap used as a support in one of the trusses, it has an amazingly warm and cozy feel.”
Old Makes New
Taking cues from the local landscape, a couple creates a modern iteration of an existing farmhouse in the Big Sky State with plenty of character.
The project began as a relatively modest remodel and became more involved as the layers were peeled away,” says Diana Rudolph of the Livingston, Montana, farmhouse she shares with husband Jerry Siem and their son. For the project, Diana, who had previously lived in the home while she split time between Montana and the Florida Keys, assembled an all-star design team: architect Andrew Brechbuhler of Brechbuhler Architects, builder Tim Rote of Dovetail Construction, and interior designer Laura Fedro of Laura Fedro Interiors. “There were simply too many issues with the old farmhouse structure. We wanted to keep the same feel as the original house and did not want to alter the footprint too much, as the site has many mature trees, something that isn’t terribly common in Montana.”
On that, Diana and the team agreed. “Some of the most important amenities were the seasonal creek along the south side of the home, the big views of the mountain ranges that surround the house, and the general rural nature of the site that afforded more windows, more doors, and more open elements to the exterior,” Brechbuhler says. He chose siding that closely matched (or was a fresh iteration of) original materials, such as replacing gray wood on the existing house with reclaimed redwood. “Our design concept was to interpret the classic Western home and update it in a way that was unique to the clients and their site.”
Inside, walls feature lithographs and an oil painting by Russell Chatham, as well as vintage mounted saltwater fish caught by Diana’s father in the Keys. Additional features include bar stools topped with plaid upholstery, a custom wool rug, and a dining area sideboard table built by Kevin Cain at Yellowstone Traditions. There’s also a screened-in porch with redtwig dogwood furniture. “Some of the farmhouse was saved [a wall in the master bedroom was reconstructed from the original home’s framing], so the rest of the palette sprung from the farmhouse ‘motif,’ including reclaimed timber framing, smooth plaster walls, simple wooden cabinets, and interior doors,” Fedro says.
“I like how comfortable the home is,” Diana says. “It felt like we belonged here when we first walked through the doors. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s our home.”
From the January 2017 issue.