Current Issue : web
 Current Issue : PDF
  At home in the lodge
  The art of
  collecting art
  23 days to rehab
  your habitat:
  A homeowner's diary
  Habitat Hits
  Organize it
  Know it
  Fix it
  Buy it
  Grow it
  Pick it
  Spring calendar 2007
  Luxury Living
the guide
  Last Winter
  Last Fall
  Last Summer
  Editorial Submission
  Calendar Submission
  Advertising Submission
  Advertising Rates
  About Us

Copyright © 2006
Express Publishing Inc
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is strictly prohibited. 

Contact Us

The Sun Valley Guide magazine is distributed free three times a year to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area communities.

Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper will receive the Sun Valley Guide with their subscription.

Photo by Chris Pilaro

At home
in the lodge
Inspired by River Run Lodge, a Sun Valley couple builds their own elegant mountain retreat. Words by Betsy Andrews. Photos by Chris Pilaro

It began with a broken leg. Unable to ski for the winter, one part-time Sun Valley resident whiled away the days at the base of Bald Mountain’s River Run while his wife and guests enjoyed the mountain. By the time the break was mended, says his wife, “He’d fallen in love with River Run Lodge.”

Paula and Darrell Rubel had already found a sunny mid-valley lot on which to build a home that would graciously accommodate guests, children and grandchildren. Darrell always wanted a log home, but Paula dreamed of something more refined. “He told me, ‘If I can have a log house, then the inside can be yours.’” The Rubels found common ground in River Run Lodge’s union of massive logs and elegant, highly detailed walnut-stained woodwork. They hired Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton Architecture P.A., the firm responsible for the Sun Valley Resort base lodges, to build their dream home.

A 12-foot-long, antique inspired dining table provides a focal point to the home’s great room.

Nick Latham, a project architect on both buildings, found inspiration for the Sun Valley ski lodges in the National Park Service lodges designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the early- to mid-20th century. With River Run Lodge, Latham had set out “to produce the highest quality resort architecture that had ever been built, anywhere.” But his challenge now was how to scale down such a design to make it a welcoming family retreat.

It started with choosing the right logs. “One of the biggest design challenges was getting the scale and proportion of the logs just right, letting the owners feel comfortable and not overwhelmed by the scale,” said Latham. “Logs too large, and the architecture can look awkward and overbearing. Logs too small, and the design is too light and doesn’t feel supportive and substantial.”

Twenty-four-inch diameter load-bearing posts, courtesy of Montana Idaho Log Homes, support an expansive loft overlooking the great room—which includes the living room and dining area—and its wall-sized views of the valley. Slightly smaller logs make up the walls, which rise to a 25-foot peaked roof supported by 30-foot trusses.

The grand entryway echoes the building that inspired the creation of this home, Sun Valley Resort’s River Run Lodge.

The home site is blessed with long southern and northern exposures. “We wanted to produce architecture that took advantage of the views and the light,” explained Latham. On the ground floor, the great room is central, with ambient light washing over it from the north-facing floor-to-ceiling paned windows, which provide 180-degree views of rolling greens and the mountains beyond. Summertime brings bursts of color into the foreground, as 37 cast-concrete urns overflow with hundreds of carmine geraniums mingled with blue and white petunias. A generous fireplace with a dark, carved wood mantel rises majestically against the north wall, visually anchoring the stunning vista with its artful arrangement of smooth, dove-toned river rocks.


With its soaring ceiling, the room’s scale might overwhelm the senses, except for the clever ministrations of architect and interior designer Lauren Tyler of Osborne Tyler Design Inc., who worked with the Rubels to create a feeling of two separate spaces within the vast interior. By positioning an intimate grouping of small, comfortable sofas and soft armchairs around the hearth, Tyler distinguished the living room area. A simple iron chandelier neatly centers the dining area, and as a bonus, draws the eye down to Paula’s prize find: a 12-foot-long, antique-inspired dining table, designed by Mike Bell—an internationally renowned master of English and French reproductions. The floor’s wide planks of oiled, antique oak barn wood, the color of molasses mixed with honey, offset the table’s handsome presence, while contrasting with the pale pine logs, which in turn amplify the sun-drenched tones of the plaster on interior walls.

Lowered ceilings in the kitchen impart a cozy feel—although the room is large enough to easily accommodate a 10-by-4-foot island, lined with bar stools for informal dining. Recessed and track lighting softly illuminates the expanses of walnut-stained alder cabinetry as well as the island’s countertop composed of a single slab of dark green and black-veined Utah granite.

Pale pine logs litter the structure, amplifying the sun-drenched tones of the interior walls.

The west end of the structure houses an enclosed master suite, which includes an office. To the east, the great room opens into the kitchen. A cheerful, casual sunny breakfast room takes advantage of the morning sun and boasts its own river-rock fireplace and family-sized dining table. The south-facing entryway rises to high clerestory windows in the gable, which floods the centrally located stairway with natural light. Ornately milled newel posts and banisters on the stairway, created onsite and augmented by patinated bronze detailing, look like more delicate versions of their River Run counterparts.

Practical features of the home include a mudroom with built-in floor-to-ceiling cubbyholes and a wine cellar located off the basement under the portico, where it remains the optimum temperature year-round. A bath and shower room off the mudroom was designed for bathing a large dog, although a large dog has yet to make an appearance—the resident Cavalier King Charles spaniel gets bathed in the laundry room sink.

The quirks of building with logs result in some of the home’s most charming features: a trapezoidal pantry and a triangular broom closet. It brings bonuses, too: dead space under the eaves became an unplanned rumpus room. “Our five little grandchildren and their dog camp out here. They love it,” said Paula.

Another favorite feature is a sun porch nestled against the south wall of the master suite. Protected from the wind, it collects the heat of the day even in the middle of winter, and today—10 years after the home was inspired by not skiing—it offers a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine after a day on the slopes.

Architect: Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton Architecture P.A., Ketchum, 726-5608. Interior Design: Lauren Tyler: Osborne Tyler Design Inc., Sun Valley, 726-4838. General Contractor: Sawtooth Construction, Inc., Ketchum, 726-9070. Cabinetry: Treasure Valley Woodworking, Boise, (208) 378-1165. Plaster: Base Mountain Plaster, Picabo. Hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware, Ketchum, 726-2345. Windows: Peak Glass, Ketchum, 726-1840. Doors: Wood River Door Company, Hailey, 788-8555. Fireplace: Don Fraser, Wood River Masonry, Hailey, 788-3304. Floor Installation: Rob’s R & R Hardwood Floors, Bellevue, 788-3320. Tile: Cassile Granite and Tile & Matt’s Tile and Stone, Hailey, 578-0311. Electric: Pace Electric, Hailey, 788-9712. Plumbing: Idaho Custom Plumbing, Ketchum, 726-8483. Glass: Glass Masters, Ketchum, 726-1420. Landscape Design: Richard Emmick. Landscaping: Webb Landscape, Ketchum, 726-7213. Security: Sentinel Fire and Security, Ketchum, 726-4788. Radiant Heating: Professional Radiant Systems LLC, Bellevue, 788-4979. HVAC: Dane Sheet Metal and Heating, Ketchum, 726-9332. Appliances: Fisher Appliances, Ketchum, 726-2622. Closets: The Closet Company, Ketchum, 726-7517. Theater: Home Media Inc., Ketchum, 725-0075.