Hi, everyone! Welcome back to my series on our new home. If this is your first time with us, you can catch up on all the details by taking the links below:
In a sense, we’ve been covering the architectural details (or the “hard” design….versus “soft” design which is furnishings, fabrics, rugs, pillows, and window treatments). Today we are continuing the discussion of architectural details. There are so many decisions to make beyond cabinets, and we’re going to look at those today.
Before we dug a hole for our house, we had the plan and we knew that we were going to put in a wood burning stove.
Why a wood burner? First of all, I love the heat. Gas fireplaces heat the air around you, but they don’t penetrate. Maybe it’s an internal wiring from our ancient ancestors, but nothing feels as good as wood heat. It goes to your bones. Second, if the power goes out, we can still heat our house. That’s important when the mercury drops to 30 degrees below zero. It’s a guarantee that we’ll get a cold snap that bad once every winter. Third, this is mountain country, and using wood is cheap and beneficial to the forests. There are large patches of evergreens in our forests that have been killed by beetles, and hauling it out keeps us warm and helps clear debris that would otherwise be fuel for forest fires.
There are two robust arguments to the gas vs wood debate, but the argument for burning wood is that it is carbon neutral…meaning that burning wood releases the same amount of CO2 as one rotting in the forest (Green Building Advisor). Plus, we aren’t subject to the oil price games played domestically or overseas. I love feeling independent from that, don’t you? We actually won’t fuel our home with any gas. In our rural area, we have to use propane, and I don’t like the smell or the thought of a tank buried under in my yard that could leak. We are strictly wood and electric (and I’m researching solar).
Choosing to use a wood stove was an easy decision.
The hard part came when my design brain got involved. Wood burners haven’t looked good for generations unless you want a quaint cottage look. That is not what I’m going for in my modern farmhouse.
Enter the new Napoleon High Country 7000 fireplace. I could kiss whoever designed this gorgeous stove. Thank you for putting something clean, modern, and elegant on the market!
The next architectural decisions we had to figure out were our windows.
The windows in our house ARE the house. They give it its curb appeal. Curb appeal aside, Star Valley, Wyoming is one of the most beautiful places on earth. What a shame it would be to build a house that didn’t take advantage of the views!
Although it looks like a pretty traditional cabin, we’ve modernized it by doing a couple of things.
First, we are making sure the pitch of the angled windows matches the pitch of our roof. It requires a ton more work for Dave and the trusses are more expensive, but it’s worth it. I don’t like when the angles have different pitches.
Second, I’m bringing all the windows down to the ground. That changes everything. As we get further along in the framing process, I’m excited to show you how cool this makes the home.
Because of the size of our windows, we had to go with wood and metal casings. We’re going to get them from Sierra Pacific. The frame on the exterior will be a dark brown, and the inside will be painted white. I’m so excited about this! I’ve loved metal windows for years, but the ones I loved in Architectural Digest and other magazines were all in warm climates. They have no insulation. Obviously, we don’t want frost on the inside of our house in the winter, so we had to go with the next best option, and this is it.
Our home will be vertical Hardi board, painted white. The contrast of the dark casing against the white paint makes my design heart happy!
I did make one change to the following elevation. As much as I loved the arches of this house, we decided to make the french patio doors from my office and the two lower windows square again. This was simply a budget decision that will save $.
In the long run, it didn’t matter whether they were arched or not, and we’re still going to trim them out beautifully. The trim is inspired by moldings I saw in the National Museum of Art in Washington DC.
Now let’s jump into doors.
Our front door is still in flux, but I do have an idea of what I want. Stay tuned for those details.
I’ve picked this Masonite door for our interiors. I loved its modern feel. It will help me create the perfect modern/traditional mix I’m after.
Our handles will be Emtek. We love their product. It doesn’t wear out like other brands, plus they have beautiful varieties to choose from. I’m going to go with a square glass on a square rosette. I am waffling on the finish. My lighting is mostly antique brass, but I think having all of my knobs be gold as well will be too much. Right now I’m leaning to a silver finish for a softer look (plus my kitchen faucet is satin nickel), but I am toying with the idea of a flat black. My island will be black, as well as my stair railing.
Which would you choose and why? Let me know in the comments! But first, you’ll need more information about my railing.
The kitchen layout has changed. A refrigerator will be going where the oven is (and maybe a nook to stack wood….a post for another time).
The loft will be our new office/painting studio/library. It’s going to amazing (think library wall with sliding ladder) but that’s for another time as well. What I want to share is how important the railing is to this design, because it’s exposed all the way across the loft. You see it everywhere in the house when you are visiting.
I’ve been inspired by these stair railings on Pinterest. Whatever happens, I want this railing to be black, minimal, and modern.
One last thing: you may have noticed there isn’t a garage hooked onto the house.
Nothing stirs up more discussion (especially from the old-timers) asking why we didn’t attach the garage.
In our current house, a remodel, we have a garage included with the house. It’s located under it. When the horses came along and altered our lives drastically, our vehicles changed as well. Mine did, anyway. We all drive trucks. Dave has two for his construction business, and I have the “family” truck for traveling and pulling the horse trailer. We are a true Wyoming family…haha! Well, our trucks don’t fit in our garage. The ceiling is too low, so we’ve been parking outside and carrying groceries in for years. It hasn’t bothered me.
Truth be told, the intermountain West has killed beautiful architecture for years by attaching mammoth garages onto houses.
I get it. We want to be protected from the weather, and it’s especially important if you are aging. You don’t want to slip on ice. When Dave and I figured out our perfect house (for this stage in our lives) it simply looked better to detach the garage. We opted for an architectural win. I know we’ll continue to hear about it from friends and family, but we are happy with our decision. You’ll see more about the garage in later posts.
All right, friends. We’ve discussed a lot of information over the last five posts. I’m going to take a small break from blogging about the house. It won’t be long, so don’t fret. I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile, so I’m going to get one to you in the next couple of weeks. If you want to see building updates that usually don’t make it to my blog, follow along on Instagram.
Happy, happy Wednesday!