Life in Hawaii may sound like paradise, but after living in Waimea on the Big Island for 19 years, Lizzie and Mark de Reus longed for a change of scene. They had previously lived in Idaho and missed the dramatic seasonal changes.
“We love the seasons,” said Mr de Reus, 68, an architect who enjoys fly fishing and skiing. “But in Hawaii you really only get one season.”
For years they dreamed of building a home near Sun Valley, Idaho, a mountain-surrounded vacation town. “It has always been my absolute favorite place,” said Ms. de Reus, 58. “I love the cold weather, I love the mountains and I love the wildlife.”
But one thing kept her bound to Hawaii. “We have been waiting for our daughter to come through school,” said de Reus. “It was successful so we didn’t want to disturb that.”
A few years before her daughter Sophie left college in 2019, it seemed time to start planning her new home. The couple searched for a construction site in Idaho for about a year before finding seven acres of forest on the Big Wood River and Carbonate Mountain in Hailey, a small town about 13 miles south of Sun Valley.
“It’s just a beautiful setting with a protected alluvial forest,” said de Reus of the property they bought in 2015 for about $ 600,000. “There are many willows, aspen and poplar trees.”
Mr de Reus’ company, de Reus Architects, has offices in Hawaii and Idaho, but most of his projects are in Hawaii, where he has private resorts and luxury homes with deep eaves, indoor and outdoor pavilions and lavish lanais made from materials such as Teak creates and lava stove. “I’ve made a career creating contextual architecture and designing buildings that are appropriate for the region,” he said.
He wanted to do something different for his house in Hailey, where the climate isn’t the least bit tropical. It took some trial and error and a few false starts, but after months of effort he finally found his design concept.
“What I set out to do was come up with a simple, modern barn shape for the exterior,” he said. “And then inside a modern cabin.”
The main body of the 3,765-square-foot, three-bedroom home is a gable-roof structure clad in black-stained Douglas fir with a standing seam charcoal wood roof. The structure is connected on one side to a low, one-story box that houses a two-car garage. A deep overhang in the back of the house protects a stone terrace, which is equipped with a gas fireplace.
Inside, Mr. de Reus created a cabin-like cosiness with wood and stone, using clean lines and bold proportions to make the space look more like a contemporary haven than a rustic lodge, with the help of interior design by Sequoia Contract Works of Hawaii.
Much of the home is made of whitewashed white pine, including the walls, ceilings, doors, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom vanities. Mr de Reus chose a single type of stone – a polished, dark gray granite – for the floors and counters in the kitchen and bathroom as well as for the raised fireplace by the living room fireplace. Doors and cupboards have white bronze colored fittings from the Kyoto collection that de Reus Architects designed for Sun Valley Bronze.
The range of hard-wearing materials – including the oak floors and blackened steel elements in the kitchen island and fireplace – are designed to withstand decades of wear and tear.
“I like durable and honest materials – as they are, not dressed,” said de Reus. “Restraint is my friend these days and I try to keep things very, very simple and reserved.”
The master suite is on the ground floor, next to the living room. On the upper floor there is a combined media room and a home office as well as two additional bedroom suites, one for Sophie and one for guests.
After years of design and planning, Young Construction began construction in September 2018. The project took a little over a year to complete and cost around $ 1.95 million. The couple moved into their new home a few months before the pandemic in October 2019.
Although Mr. de Reus had visited the site many times to manage the construction work, Ms. de Reus saw nothing of it until the day of moving in. “It was just an aspen forest the last time I saw him,” she said. “When I went into the house, I was stunned. I was absolutely blown away. “
It didn’t take long to settle down. “By March, I had six of the best months of my life,” she said. “And then we were closed.”
While waiting for their social lives to resume, the couple have found plenty of creatures to keep them company. “My favorite pastime is taking the dogs outside and hiking,” said Ms. de Reus. “And literally being with the moose, the moose, the owls and the eagles.”
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