Contemporary Mountain Retreat

For our design inspiration today, we are taking a look at a contemporary design mountain retreat located in the ski resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho. This 12,000 square-foot vacation home has been designed as a modern day interpretation of Craftsman style by Idaho architect Michael Blash. The architecture design mixes traditional Craftsman elements such as low pitched roofs and rafters, with more modern horizontal rooflines and floor-to-ceiling windows for a more contemporary effect. The residence has been created as three separate buildings over three floors, connected by glass-walled transitioning spaces with its exteriors composed of local stone, cedar, and steel built into the hillside. It has been positioned to provide clear views both up and down the Valley and to take in the dramatic views of Bald Mountain, the areas prime ski destination.

To be clear, the owners of this new mountain home did not want it to be at all like what one typically thinks of a “mountain home”, nor did they want a “western theme”.  There would be no antlers or Navajo rugs.  Nor would there be anything “rustic” or even “country or shabby chic”.  They had no interest in distressed woods or anything “barn style” either.  Their new vacation home would be smart, chic, and of contemporary design.  They called in the Chicago based interior designers James Dolenc and Thomas Riker of JamesThomas with a clear directive on the matter.  The designers were able to ultimately negotiate with the owners for some balance to ground the home with its surroundings, as all homes should do of course.  The owners agreed to allow a few references to the West.  Beyond that little detail, the designers thought it best to keep the interiors quiet and neutral. To allow the views outside the windows to shine, and not to distract from them.  They also brought the surroundings in by including lots of natural elements in the interior design, but in a most contemporary way. Their natural materials would be refined, not rustic or rugged.  The mahogany and walnut used throughout to create the wall paneling and bespoke design cabinetry and on the floors would be smooth and polished.  Sleek!


The designers felt that it was important when one initially enters the home, that they be presented with a mix of contemporary design with a bit of Western reference as well, so one doesn’t get the impression that they are just entering a cold, stark home.  Here in the foyer, a large Equestrian painting by artist Ashley Collins has been placed front and center.  Below it, a handcrafted console composed of an elm tree trunk mounted upon a steel base by John Houshmand has been placed.  The lattice light fixture above the space was designed by the architect Blash to create the effect of walking through natural light.



In the living room, the entire back is a wall of windows providing stunning views of the mountainside.  The wood burning fireplace wall, designed by the architect, separates the living and family rooms with its design repeated on both sides.  In front of the windows, a pair of Holly Hunt chairs upholstered in pale blue wool create an intimate conversation area.  The rest of the rooms furnishings have been gathered on a rug from Tufenkian including the Donghia sofa, and a Troscan Leigh chaise and bench.  A pair of onyx-topped coffee tables from Bradley Hughes and a pair of African cup stools from Christa create a bit of visual interest within the room.


The family room is a more intimate, cozy space where everyone just hangs and watches television.  The beams across the top are patented steel instead of the traditional design rustic wood.  The sofas are of bespoke design by JamesThomas and upholstered in wide wool corduroy.  The Ellipse Chair by Modernica is more of a statement piece.



The dining room has been designed to accommodate a few or as many as twelve.  The dining table is of bespoke design by JamesThomas and consist of two square tables which, when apart, can seat four each.  The two can also be combined and an additional leaf can be added to seat twelve.  The dining chairs are by Holly Hunt.  Above the table, the contemporary design, custom lighting fixture is by Pagani Studio.  The Atelier Credenza by Morlen Sinoway with candlesticks from Baker sit beneath contemporary artworks from the home owner’s collection.


Here we have the kitchen.  All of these public rooms are open on their inner sides.  An L-shaped bar with a raised counter-top clad with White Beauty granite lines and defines the space’s outer perimeters.  The bar stools surrounding it are from Berman Rosetti.  The designers used a more subtle, warmer granite for the center island and backsplash.  The cabinets have been created with the same smooth mahogany used throughout the home to maintain continuity.


The powder room in this home includes a custom-made concrete sink surrounded by a floating walnut vanity with a protective glass top, and a marble back-splash.  The sconces mounted on the mirror are by Fuse Electric and consist of a metal frame with black crystals surrounding the lights.



The home’s three floors are served with an elevator, but there is also a special steel and mahogany spiral staircase that connects the floors.  A 20-foot chandelier designed by Charles Loomis is suspended from the top down through the center of the spiral to dramatic effect.


Bespoke Master Bedroom

The master bedroom includes a bespoke design suede headboard that reaches the ceiling.  On either side of the bed, the designers have placed metal tables and storage cubes, also of bespoke design.  The lamps centered on the tables are by Baker.  There is also a pair of individual swing-arm reading lamps on either side of the bed.  The owners preferred bare floors, so the designers simply placed runners on either side of the bed.  At the foot of the bed, they placed a Nankin Bench by Christian Liaigre.  The club chair and ottoman are by John Hutton for Holly Hunt.  The look and feel of the room is very calm and certainly of contemporary design.



The master bathroom here makes the extra effort to earn the description “spa like” with its design while remaining completely simple and almost minimalist design.  The architect has used the latticework for the ceiling design in here as he did in the foyer.  The floors and portions of the walls are covered with travertine.  A custom concrete sink mounted on the floating vanity has been designed as a large single trough interestingly enough.  In addition to the glass enclosed shower, there is also a free standing soaking tub by Waterworks placed in a glass-walled corner with views of the nearby nature reserve.  The bathroom also opens to its own patio.  The light above the tub is by jGoodDesign.


The master bedroom’s 200 square-foot closet/dressing room is an organizers dream.  The space is finished with the same walnut used throughout the rest of the home, complete with closets, drawers, and plenty of concealed storage areas.  The space includes large bespoke design ottomans upholstered in suede.



In addition to the kid’s bedrooms, the home also includes a comfortable guest bedroom with en suite bathroom.





Some additional details:  A view of the hallway that leads from the parent’s room in one wing, across to the kid’s room in the opposite wing.  A view of the home’s wine room.  The patio room located just off the kitchen whose entire back glass walls slide completely away fully opening the space and uniting it with the furnished outdoor patio.  A view of one of the homes outdoor features, the chess board.



There you have it.  You can have your mountain luxury  home retreat with all of the familiar comforts you enjoy, such as natural and organic elements that blend with the surrounding landscape.  You can have these things without having to have any of the dated trappings of the old, rugged wild west, if that is what you would prefer.  Of course if that is what you do have and enjoy or aspire to have, that is all well and good too.  You absolutely should know that design and technology has made it possible for you to have a choice.  You can have it your way, whenever and where ever you like.

That concludes our design inspiration for today my friends.  I hope you all have enjoyed this Idaho home which has redefined the western traditional design by incorporating contemporary design details to create a family vacation home for this modern day family.

Interior Design:


photography:  Tim Brown

additional source:

Thanks so much for reading along my friends!  If you have enjoyed this post, please share it on the social media below.  Let me hear from you all in the comments!   Or if you would prefer, you can use the contact form on the home page, or else you can write me at the email listed on the contact form. What did you all think of this home?  Do you have any thoughts or ideas about this site, or maybe a topic you would like for us to cover?  Do you have an article or project that you would like for us to share here on the blog and our social networks?   Let’s talk!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Staci

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the modern mixed with the rustic. The view ain’t half bad either, lol!!

    • Johnny knight

      Thank you so much Staci. Im very glad you liked it. Thanks for reading along with us..

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