Stand along the edges of a national forest outside Jackson, WY, and you might hear the sound of elk calling out as the sun sets on the horizon. It’s a wild spot, also frequented by moose, coyotes and deer – a place that’s home to mountain peaks and marshy land.

Homeowner Katherine Gwin wanted to celebrate this, yet she took a decidedly different approach: She went contemporary in the countryside, choosing a sleek style rather than the rustic approach you might find in homes nearby.

“It is more about the outside than the inside. I love it out here, and I have been coming here for years and years,” she said. “I wanted this place to be about the outdoors, not about the indoors.”

The result is a 4-bedroom, 6-bathroom home noted for its seemingly endless floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which can physically slide away and disappear. Gwin allows the grass and foliage around the property to grow wild, so when she moves the walls, the outdoors quite literally come inside.

And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Other design elements were also made to emphasize the home’s cherished surroundings while taking a modern spin. The centerpiece is a dining area that overlooks a reflecting pool and offers a view of the nearby national forest. At sunset, the sky glows in pastel shades of cotton candy and violet.

Inside, designers incorporated natural wood and leather trim, giving the home a contemporary feel without the impression of being too industrial.

Builders camouflaged modern necessities – from electrical outlets to thermostats to smoke alarms – to give the home a simple, sleek look.

It was almost too convincing.

“In fact, my insurance adjuster was out to look at some things, and he couldn’t find [the smoke alarms]. He said, ‘I thought you had a fire alarm in here,’” Gwin said, laughing. (For the record, the alarm exists.)

The entire second level is dedicated to the master suite and includes an expansive private deck, along with an office, library and bathroom. The soaking tub, naturally, has million-dollar views.

For the nights when the family wants to actually sleep under the stars, they pull mattresses onto their nearby deck and drift off to the scent of fresh mountain air.

“It’s just incredibly peaceful. I feel like when I walk through the door, it immediately takes my stress level down to zero,” Gwin said. “You see all the beautiful trees and the grass and the wildlife. It’s just a spectacular spot. You just feel like you’re living outdoors.”

A landscape architect was told to make the house look like it had been dropped into the natural environment. Besides the wild grass, aspen trees grow right up to the front door.

On the basement level, a climate-controlled wine vault keeps pinot perfect. The owners also made a fireproof room to store their valuables.

Beyond the property, there are ample spots for fly-fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing. Downhill skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports are about a half hour away at the Jackson Hole Resort.

The home was listed at $18 million. It sold in late December. 

“This house is about the space, the air and the peacefulness of the outdoors,” Gwin added. “I just wanted to feel that openness with the outdoors, and that just doesn’t happen with the heaviness – the weight – of a log cabin.”

David A. NeVille of The NeVille Group Real Estate carried the listing.

Photos by Josh Franer.

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Putting a Modern Home on the Map in the Wilds of Wyoming

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