One Indian Creek Ranch home stands out from the rest. Consisting of two ranch buildings attached to a central log cabin, it appears to be a lovingly refurbished historic homestead.
The mix of weathered siding, distressed timbers, hand-hewn logs and rusted metal roofing lead you to believe that the property evolved in phases over several decades. Guess again. This recently built home went from groundbreaking to move-in day in only 18 months.
The brainchild of Maryland artist Debbie Petersen and her late husband Jim, the timber-and-log hybrid cleverly combines reclaimed vintage wood with elements that only look old.
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In 2003, Debbie and Jim decided they were ready to do something different and Wyoming was the place they chose to do it. “We originally fell in love with a hand-crafted house that was for sale but we couldn’t reach a satisfactory agreement with the owner,” Debbie says. Instead of settling back into their Maryland home, the couple rented a house in the Jackson area.
The place they rented was built by John Jennings of Peak Builders, the same company that constructed the home they had unsuccessfully tried to purchase. After several months of renting, Jim and Debbie knew they wanted John to build a custom-designed home for them.
Their Realtor found a spectacular site with stunning views of Grand Teton and the surrounding mountains and introduced them to architect Chris Lee. From there everything fell into place.
Right from the start, Lee knew that Jim and Debbie didn’t want a typical lodge style home. “They were committed to using reclaimed wood and dreamed of a frontier style timber frame and log home cobbled together from individual structures,” the architect explains. The final plan assigned the main living area to a large structure they call the “Log Cabin.” The master suite would be contained in a smaller “Gray Cabin” sided with reclaimed barn wood. A sheltered porch room, guest quarters and Debbie’s studio would share space in the “Red Cabin.”
“The Petersens wanted every part of the house to have access to the land,” Lee notes. “Angling the cabins accomplished this and created interesting patio areas for dining and relaxing. A curved stone path connects the interior rooms with exterior stone walkways.”
The Petersens also worked closely with interior designer Jacque Jenkins-Stireman. “Our kitchen is typical of how the house came together,” Debbie says. “Jacque found the hickory bar stools and antique pendant lights.”
She also suggested adding two small square windows high on the gable end wall to direct extra light onto the signature black walnut countertop built by Jennings. Wayne Williams of Western Woodworks built the handsome alder cabinetry, while Debbie chose chalkboard paint for above the stove.
While most of the home’s massive log posts, square-cut beams, barn wood siding, and interior paneling are reclaimed from the past, the home’s geo-thermal cooling system is ahead of its time. The system uses a pump to channel ground water through conduits under the house. This not only saves significant energy, it creates one of the home’s unique design features — a glass-covered indoor stream.
Unfortunately Jim died before the project was complete. But, for Debbie, the home is a constant reminder of Jim and of his extraordinary contributions to the overall vision. Debbie now graciously opens her home to friends, family and the community.