Modern meets rustic

Mixing his-and-her design styles for a one-of-a-kind home


After Jena and Jay Frawner’s 2015 wedding, life as a married couple began in the home Jay shared with his two sons. But with two growing boys, the family pets and, in 2017, the addition of a baby sister, it quickly became clear that the home no longer fit their needs. That’s when they turned to fellow hockey mom Natasha Schmidt, principal with RIM Design in Anchorage, for the assist. Working closely with Jena and Jay, she was able to blend Jena’s modern style with Jay’s rustic lodge aesthetic to create a large, open home perfect for their growing family.

Key Contributors
RIM Architects
General Contractor:
Colony Builders
Interior Design:
Natasha Schmidt, ASID, and Kelsi Swank, Allied ASID, RIM Design
Custom Cabinetry Design:
RIM Design
Cabinetry & Finishes:
Specified by RIM Design, procured by One of a Kind Design
Specified by RIM Design, procured by One of a Kind Design
Restoration Hardware, Décor Lighting
Staircase, Railings:
Custom design by RIM Architects
Spenard Builders Supply
Spenard Builders Supply
Garage Door:
Overhead Door
Plumbing Fixtures:
Pacific Plumbing Supply Company
Majestic Sales & Co. Inc.
Specified by RIM Design, procured by Capital Office
Modern twist on a rustic lodge

Jena and Jay agreed that they wanted a large, open layout well-suited for entertaining, with lots of windows to take advantage of the South Anchorage home’s forest and mountain views. But they had different ideas on the home’s style and feel.

“Jay’s against grey, and doesn’t like modern,” Jena says with a laugh. “I like grey and a little modern.”

The couple settled on a “Colorado mountain home kind of feel” for Jay, with fixtures and finishes providing the modern touch Jena likes. The lodge feel begins with the homes wood and brick exterior and extends into the interior. Four high-back, tufted leather chairs sit in front of the stone fireplace in the great room, while the ceiling-high wall of windows flood the room with natural light and offer private views of the wooded lot. Eight-foot tall doors and taller than average wall bases give the room the feeling of extra height and lead the eye up to a metal wagon wheel chandelier and exposed wooden beams with modern hardware.

“They’re purely aesthetic, but they really add to the space,” Natasha says of the beams. “They add that warmth, and that lodge-like feel that Jay was after.”

The floating wood stairs with metal cable railings that lead to the second floor are a nod to the modern, as is a second, spherical metal chandelier above the landing. The modern touches continue into the kitchen, which has quartz countertops, white and brown cabinets, stainless steel appliances, seeded glass wall sconces, and a classic glazed backsplash. American walnut flooring with a matte finish throughout the first floor adds warmth, while a reclaimed wood-clad wall extends from the basement to the second floor adding another touch of the rustic while tying the two levels together.

Wide, Open Spaces

The Frawners love to entertain, so they needed a home that would accommodate the steady stream of visitors. But many of the homes they looked at before deciding to build were choppy, with the dining room separate from the kitchen and living room.

“We didn’t like that,” Jena says. “We wanted an open space. We wanted it to fit our lifestyle.”

That desire helped guide Natasha’s design. She worked with Monica Sullivan with RIM Architects for the final mapping of the home’s exterior. But, because the home was custom-built from the ground up, Natasha wasn’t confined by the parameters of existing exterior walls when designing the interior layout.

“The layout of the house, and even the exterior wall placement, is a result of the interior floor plan and the flow of the interior space,” she says. “It was neat because we got to drive the design, and ultimately the mapping of the building.”

The first-floor is large and open, with seamless transitions between great room, dining room and kitchen. Two kitchen islands provide plenty of space for guests to mingle, and the kitchen’s location between the great room and an eight-seat, two-tiered home theater ensure that guests are never too far from the action.

On the second floor, an 8-foot wide catwalk adds to the home’s feeling of openness as it bridges the master suite and the children’s wing.

"(The catwalk) was one of the big focal points,” Jay says. “When you walk into the house, you see that. I’ve never really been in a house where you walk in and go, ‘Whoa.’ ”

Private retreats

Even in such a large, open space, sometimes you just need to get away. The Frawners' home has plenty of options for both the adults and kids.

Upstairs, the Frawners' master suite has a walk-in steam shower, large shower and private deck. The original design placed the master suite and the garage on opposite sides of their current location. But when they discovered that the lot sloped more than originally anticipated, Natasha says they decided to mirror the home’s floor plan rather than bring in additional fill. The last-minute change ended up being a “blessing in disguise,” Jena says.

“Now we have peek-a-boo views of the mountains and the city,” she says. “If (the master suite) had been where the kids are, we wouldn’t have that.”

Downstairs, the completely finished basement boasts a 2,000-square-foot man cave with a 12-foot bar. There’s also a fully equipped gym and a game room complete with a pool table, bubble table hockey, foosball, pinball machine and arcade games.

“The kids spend a lot of time down there,” Jay says with a laugh.

Adjacent to the kitchen, a spiral staircase descends to a 1,250-bottle wine cellar, complete with table and chairs.

“They made it so fun,” Jena says. “The girls come over and we go down there; it’s cool.”

Almost a year after moving in, the Frawners are thrilled with what they were able to do.

“We’re finally feeling settled in,” Jena says. “It feels like our home.”