Wyoming is located in the Rocky Mountains of midwest America. The state’s name is derived from an Indian language, meaning “prairie” or “valley”. The vast and sparsely populated region, nicknamed Cowboy State, has retained the early nomadic legacy and the western spirit. The state is also home to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. And this is where a wonderful story begins.
“This is where we want to be” was the first thought that Clay Heighten and his wife, Debra Caudy, had when they stepped off the plane at the Jackson Hole Airport eight years ago. As Dr. Heighten said, “Those mountains really make an impact.”
Dr. Heighten, 57, a physician-turned-entrepreneur, and Dr. Caudy, 56, an oncologist, have four children and were in town visiting a business associate of Dr. Heighten’s who had built a house with an enviable view of the mountains. But then, Jackson is virtually surrounded by mountains – the Teton Range to the west and the Gros Ventre Range to the east – so it’s hard to avoid having a spectacular view. It wasn’t long before they were looking for a house of their own here.
A good house is the embodiment of the home. A house reflects the personal experience and preferences of its owner and supports his living habits. Their strong personal requirements confronted the couple with a problem. “We saw a lot of tired log cabin homes,” Dr. Heighten said, “and none were what we wanted.” What they wanted was a house that took full advantage of the outdoors. At last, they reached an extreme decision: they’d buy a piece of land and build their own house.
They bought a 5-acre plot of land for 1.2 million dollars in 2011, and turned it over to Larry Pearson from a well-known architectural design company of Montana, whose firm had a 5,400-square-foot (486 square meters) house built and furnished for them in just 16 months for about 4 million. Heighten and Caudy entrusted Larry to take over this whole house, they only gave their general requirements: “We want the house to blend with the outside, and we can leave the doors open, and walk in and out. And have living areas outside.”
Pearson perfectly understood their wishes and designed a house with a lot of wood and tempered glass, which are natural and transparent materials harmoniously blending the house with the surrounding mountain forests. Every winter, snow covers the mountains and plains and from afar this secluded house looks quite like a fairytale cottage.
The interior of the house also emphasizes a return to nature. Piles of logs in the corners, buffalo skulls mounted on the walls, and rich earthen colors all around exude American country-style comfort and freedom. This freedom is also reflected in the entrance hall, which was changed into an outdoor room with the best views of the whole house.
Wyoming winters are extremely cold, and the snow is knee-high, so a fireplace is essential. In addition, the house has sliding doors to keep the cold wind outside. But what’s a little discomfort when you’re surrounded by this kind of beauty?
The Heighten couple moved in last fall and spent their first winter there. Their entry hall is often covered with snow, but that doesn’t seem to trouble them. They even said proudly: “This white carpet is Mother Nature’s gift to us.” As the white snow piles up against the door and swirls around the house, the couple and their family are snug inside, enjoying every moment from enchanting dawn to magical dusk.
This article appeared on The New York Times