Moon Dance Ranch
Wide-open spaces and a spirit of adventure are the lifestyle of northwest Wyoming. Shoshone Native Americans, trappers, and ranchers all discovered a life of rustic experiences in Jackson Hole. Today, Jackson blends the original frontier spirit with an elegance and affluence rarely found elsewhere.
It is here, in the unique 3 Creek Ranch, that OSM created the Moon Dance Ranch. The home sits quietly between towering cottonwood and evergreen trees and features a fly fisherman’s dream come true of a restored pond and enhanced creek.
“A river truly runs through it … the house that is, not just the ranch.” says OSM Wyoming’s Managing Director and Principal Mark Pollard. “The homeowner enjoys evenings watching native cutthroat trout rise as the sun sets behind Wyoming’s towering peaks. Fish can be caught or simply watched.”
Moon Dance Ranch’s inspiration stemmed from European farmhouses. The construction is a pleasant respite from the timber and stone of so many homes in the area. This elegant simplicity is complemented by the creation of the ranch’s unique water features—the result of combining the passion of the homeowner with the talented team at OSM. Like the ranchers who call the area home, these enhanced water elements pay tribute to the agrarian heritage of Jackson Hole.
“Because so much water flows underground in the Jackson Hole area,” says OSM CEO and Principal Peter Belschwender, “we had to work with the homeowner to combine inspiration with practicality.”
OSM built specially designed pillars and walls in the crawlspace to allow for the enhancement of the creeks and pond without creating any risk of water damage. The front of the house gazes outward to the pond while the creek runs through the house itself, reminiscent of an age-old European water mill, epitomizing the juncture of old-world traditions with new West ingenuity.
The homeowner, an avid fly fisherman, wished to blend reclamation of the creeks into an exhilarating component of the home. As the creek water flows underneath a walkway and through a reclaimed irrigation draw, it tumbles through an enhanced meadow and into the pond.
Like the pioneers before them in this valley, OSM and the homeowner inspired to create a truly unique château. The expansive detail and design invested into the water features combine and truly set Moon Dance apart from the many other large western ranch homes.
Birch Creek Ranch
Montana’s Madison Valley is known for grandiose beauty. Backdropped by three mountain ranges—the Madisons, Tabacco Roots and Gravelleys—it is fitting that a family’s long search for a mountain retreat ended with the building of a home featuring breathtaking views of Ennis Lake and the mountains of the Madison Valley.
Birch Creek Ranch is the perfect blend of mountain rustic and contemporary sophistication. The home melds into the natural landscape and appears modest, nestled amongst the pines and aspen. The exterior centerpiece of this custom home by OSM is an enhanced creek, pond and wetland.
Because of a desire for easy access to water, the homeowners chose a site adjacent to existing marshland. For many builders this would pose enormous challenges. But for Belschwender, OSM’s CEO, it provided inspiration to create a union of an outdoor sanctuary with a contemporary western ranch home.
OSM, along with senior designers at JLF Architects, designed a glass- and steel-lined bridge over a small portion of the wetland. The bridge connects two living spaces and a small creek runs between them, linking a reclaimed wood-sided master bedroom en suite with a modern looking stone-based structure home to a guest house and the main living spaces. Walking across the bridge is akin to walking outside as the floor-to-ceiling glass panels bring the outdoors in.
“I can hear the creek running,” says the homeowner.
“We had to build foundations on both sides of the creek,” Belschwender says. “But we had to do it in a way that wouldn’t harm it. We built a temporary bridge across the stream and then built two foundations on either side and then finished the glass- and steel-lined bridge.”
The home’s sanctuary adjacent to an invigorating natural water feature allowed OSM to design a foundation as unique as the topography. The foundation is technologically designed to function in the alpine wetland environment. The dining room is built on concrete and steel piers, the master bedroom and kitchen foundations are heavily waterproofed.
Birch Creek Ranch may be high in the wilds of Montana’s mountains, but it is the perfect place to drift away from the bustle of everyday life.