Although Roy and Jackie Cronacher have lived in Naples, Florida, for the past 18 years, they wanted a second home in a totally different climate. For several years, they vacationed in Colorado and frequently stayed in log homes. “We fell in love with the comfortable feeling of the surroundings,” Roy says, “and decided our next residence would be handcrafted logs.”
As much as they enjoyed the amenities of the Colorado mountain communities, they were drawn to the relaxed, family-oriented lifestyle of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They had definite ideas about what they wanted in their home, but after months of looking, they were unable to find an existing house to suit them. They turned their attention to locating property where they could build and found 7 acres in the private Tucker Ranch subdivision. “We wanted to have horses for our children and guests to ride,” Roy says. “Fortunately, the acreage we were considering is one of the acreages at Tucker Ranch where horses are allowed. With its views of the Teton Range and its exposed location on the valley floor, it was ideal.”
Roy, a homebuilder for 20 years, and Jackie looked at building their Jackson home as a creative challenge. “For me, the project is not just about a structure; the project also is the setting,” Roy explains. “The home must blend with its surroundings and vice-versa. Thus, building a high-end home takes teamwork to assure that the interior and exterior of the home and the landscaping all fit together. In our projects, we always bring all of the team members together in the beginning.”
Jackie and Roy began by touring several homes by Ellis Nunn & Associates Architects and decided its experience designing high-end log and mountain homes in Jackson Hole made the firm a natural choice. They selected Teton Heritage Builders as the general contractor, who in turn subcontracted with Lost River Log Specialists in Rigby, Idaho, to erect the log shell. Laurie Waterhouse of Laurie Waterhouse Interiors and Brad Suske of the Bradley Company rounded out the team charged with creating a Wild West residence appropriate to the history and heritage of Jackson Hole.
Based upon the Cronachers’ input, Ellis drew the plans, and the firm’s Danny Béasse completed the elevations and technical drawings. Danny also acted as the project architect and was on site frequently to oversee the progress. “Our overall goal for this home was to maximize the views of the surrounding mountains,” Ellis notes. “We set the home such that the front of the house has a panoramic vista of the Sleeping Indian Mountain in the Gros Ventre Range and the Teton Range from the back.”
Dan Clancy, co-owner of Teton Heritage Builders, points out the home’s distinguishing feature is that it is 100-percent log construction. “Most log homes of this size are actually a combination of log and conventional framing,” Dan says. “All-log walls create a true challenge when placing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment. The result is very much worth the extra effort.”
The architects started by enhancing one of the ranch’s irrigation ditches to form a stream, over which the Cronachers drive to access their home. Once there, after passing through the dramatic entrance, the homeowners step into the great room to be greeted by an immediate view of the majestic mountains of the Teton Range. The 4,600-square-foot main floor leads either to the guest wing, which holds Roy’s office and two guest suites, or into the main living area. A full bar connects both the great room and the formal dining room. A cozy family room is adjacent to the kitchen, kitchen bar and adjoining breakfast nook. Somewhat secluded from these living areas is Jackie’s office. The utility-laundry room and mudroom lead to the three-car garage.
A curved handcrafted log staircase winds to the second story and a bridge overlooking the dining and family room. The guest master suite is above the kitchen, while the master bedroom is at the opposite end of the bridge. Each upper room has its own deck to enjoy the views. “With a teenager still living with us, a media room was a must-have on our list. This fit perfectly in the bonus space above the garage. We added a full bath in case we ever decided to sell the residence and the new owners wanted another guest suite,” Roy says. “One of the excellent suggestions Ellis had to offer was that we add a second staircase to the media room. This contributes to the positive flow throughout the home.”
This story ran longer in the <a target="_blank" href="/slideshow/slides/BREAKERsidea.jpg”>May 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.