Designing a Modern Day ‘Glass House’

Story by Anna Mason • Photography by Glenn Aronwits, GA Panorams

Surrounded by trees and with a stunning panoramic view of mountains and a snake-like river, Jay and Ann’s home is their own piece of paradise.

Building their dream was a multi-year process from concept to completion, but today the couple is thrilled to call it home. Some of their favorite features include an airplane hangar, an indoor sauna and the wall-to-wall windows that showcase those million-dollar views.

Their first step was a big one: Finding that perfect piece of land, Ann says. “Three key elements helped decide our location: water, views of mountains and an air strip. We searched for years before finding our gem. I think we nailed it!”

“Building your dream home takes lots of time and ideas that you have to blend together,” says Ann. “Thankfully, we both agreed that we want to see the beauty of where we live so I asked our architect to build us a ‘Glass House.’ We wanted a view from every room, capturing the sun all day, a feeling of being outside in the comfort of being inside.” Mark Ivy, of Ivy & Co. Architects, certainly delivered on that concept.

Mark says that when he asked Ann and Jay what was most important for them, “They both stood in the exact same spot and pointed to the views, and said the exact same thing: ‘We want to see everything.’ So the compass rose in the entry is in that very same spot now. The whole house is designed around the views.” Mark recalls being amused about how in sync Ann and Jay were, even in separate conversations.

Now, Ann says that the windows are her absolute favorite feature of the house (along with the kitchen). “They are a gift that allows us to enjoy watching the wildlife pass by,” she says. “We’ve had moose walk within an arm’s reach and because of the window reflection, the animals don’t see us inside viewing them. We even had a fox curl up just outside our kitchen door! Sitting in the master bedroom with binoculars spotting wildlife passing through when it’s cold or raining outside is very peaceful.”

As for the kitchen, Ann says, “We’ve learned from the past that a kitchen actually becomes an entertainment and congregation center. Our kitchen is large for two people and very well planned. It was actually my hardest room to design! We both love to cook and now we have elbow room to cook together at different stations.” Another of their priorities was having room to entertain friends and guests, and they certainly have that now. Along with their dream kitchen, a wide-open living room with expansive views and large outdoor gathering spaces leave them plenty of space to entertain.

One of the most unique features of the home is in the living room: a wall accented with trees. “The tree wall gives the flow from inside to outside,” says Ann. “However, harvesting trees that are 22 feet tall was not exactly a fun date. We cut the trees at 25 feet tall in the winter, so hauling them was not a picnic, and had its challenges. But the design of them going through the floating hallway makes every sore muscle worth it!”

Hauling those trees wasn’t the only challenge: “The structure for me was pretty challenging,” says Mark, “and rewarding at the end. The cable system above the main living area was a new concept, and very fun to work on. Having it tested by the November 2018 earthquake was really cool, as it did incredibly well.” While everyone can agree that the earthquake wasn’t a fun experience, having a new structural concept tested by something that massive, and having it pass with flying colors, is very impressive.

Beyond all of the unique design features, this home has something that very few others can boast: an attached hangar. The best part about having their own hangar? “Turnkey, ready to go, inside and warm in the winter, and easy to do maintenance and care,” says Ann.

“We tried to blend the hangar into the house design so it didn’t look like a tumor,” says Mark. They did an incredible job of it too, as a neighbor once asked Jay where he kept his plane, while standing in front of the hangar!

Key Contributors

Architect: Ivy & Co. Architects
General Contractor: Johnson Contracting Services LLC
Roofing: Johnson Contracting Services LLC; Rainproof Roofing
Concrete: MBC Concrete; Davis Block & Concrete Co.; Northland Concrete, LLC
Windows: Stevens Glass
Doors: Spenard Builders Supply; Builders Millwork Supply
Countertops: Hard Rock Designs; McKinley Countertops, LLC; Panco Inc
Spenard Builders Supply; Crosscut Cabinetry; Builders Millwork Supply
Flooring: Wilkes Quality Floors; Carpet World
Appliances: Allen & Petersen; Spenard Builders Supply
Shower & Bath: Ferguson, Steam Mist
Staircase & Bridge: Mike's Welding
Railings: Chris McDowell
Exterior Work: Frontline Construction
Paint & Siding: Recycled Corten Steel, sourced through Ivy & Co & KTUU
Garage & Hangar Door: Weiss
Landscaping & Dirt Work: B.C. Excavating; Big Dipper; Northland DirtWerx
Plumbing & Heating:
Boiler Man
Sprinkler: Colton Underground Sprinkler
Security: A+ Security; Elite Audio Video
Gate: McKinley Fence
Paving: Pioneer Peak Asphalt