Honoring Tradition Through Artistry and Craftmanship
article by hannah olson | photos by audrey hall
Big Horn, Wyoming, derives its name from the majestic mountains that serve as the host for this small town that sits just outside of Sheridan. Situated on the sacred grounds once cherished by the Crow and Cheyenne tribes, and positioned along the historic Bozeman Trail during the gold rush era of the 1800s, this unpretentious dwelling stands as a testament to a bygone era. With the passage of time, a humble cabin was built on this land in the early decades of the 1900s, enduring a wealth of captivating history where it still stands today.
Throughout the years, the modest cabin has undergone careful preservation and thoughtful expansion with the help of architect Dennis Deppmeier and contractor Larry Baker, culminating in a picturesque sanctuary for its present occupants. While the breathtaking mountain vistas that fill its windows could be considered art in themselves, the dwelling also showcases an impressive collection that ignited the imagination of Jeremiah Young, the visionary behind the interior design firm Kibler & Kirch. As both the owner and creative director, Young was inspired to transform the cabin into a masterpiece of timeless Western artistry.
“Every screw, every handle, every light fixture, everything about this is made by hand,” Young says as he showcases each feature of the home. “There is nothing machine-made.”
Careful curation and meticulous execution were invested in every detail of this home, as the preservation of its inherent character was paramount to the design process. The flooring and ceilings, constructed from reclaimed wood, not only enhance the authenticity but also embody a sense of history. Each room is thoughtfully adorned with hand-painted light fixtures that harmonize with the overall elements, uniting every corner in a seamless tapestry of style.
“Projects like this are piece by piece,” Explains Young. “We do the research to know what kind of furnishings would be original to a ranch like this in that era, and then find out who makes something like this or who can build something like this.” Even if the search for artisans takes him beyond the region, Young and his team will find the right artist for the task.
The rocking chairs that welcome you to the home are identical to those original to the Old Faithful Inn, which have been produced for over a century.
Each and every door handle, dresser pull, and stair rod were custom-created by blacksmith Frank, the artist behind Wood and Iron Works in Roscoe, Montana.
The kitchen table was built in Canada by Ruff Sawn, which is named for the style of wood furniture that is “rough sawn” or cut to be as close to the condition of the original wood as possible.
Crafting a Cozy Western Haven
Amidst the sunlit rooms, a gentle darkness envelops the wood and natural elements of this home. While contemporary trends often favor bright and open spaces, the inherent style of this cabin begged to preserve its unique warmth.
“Sometimes you have a place that’s not big, the ceilings aren’t high, and it’s pretty dark and intimate—you just have to lean into that,” Young said of the design choices that adhered to this approach. “There’s nothing you’re going to do to make it bright and open, so you just embrace it, and that’s what we’ve done with this home.”
The eye-catching fireplace is one of the bright spots in the main living area. Young asserts that River Rock gets a bad name because of the overused and poorly executed trends of the 1990s, “but if you do it well, which this is, it is a beautiful thing.”
Preserved and reproduced Navajo rug blankets surface throughout the home and balance beautifully with the handcrafted furniture, each piece crafted in the style inspired by Thomas Molesworth. Revered for his timeless contributions to Western aesthetics, Molesworth epitomizes the essence of classic Western style. Adding to the allure, a set of vibrant red chairs were skillfully crafted by Marc Taggart in Cody, Wyoming, a place once called home by the esteemed Thomas Molesworth himself.
At the heart of the home, the kitchen and dining area reign supreme. Notably, the refrigerator door boasts a captivating motif meticulously fashioned from locally-gathered materials, adding a touch of unique artistry to the space. The bar, expertly constructed from poplar, was artfully crafted by La Lune, renowned artisans of rustic furniture from Wisconsin. Each piece of furniture within the kitchen and dining area has been thoughtfully tailored to perfectly fit the space for which it was intended.
The office stands as a cherished sanctuary within the home. This space is particularly beloved, offering captivating views that inspire and a handcrafted desk. “The best projects feel inevitable, like it’s always been there, Young says of creating a space that preserves the integrity of time. “I try to make something that is so thoughtfully done that it just always existed, and it was just always perfect.”