Home & Design August 4, 2008

Ranching Redefined

Ranch (ranch) n.
1. An extensive farm, especially in the Western United States, on which large herds of cattle, sheep, or horses are raised.
2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised.
3. A house in which the owner of an extensive farm lives.

The Wood River Valley lures visitors from every corner of the globe with world-class recreational pursuits to match every season. What turns first-time visitors into Valley regulars, however, is the combination of charm, sophistication and casual hospitality so pervasive among Valley residents. Nowhere are those qualities more evident than on the ranches, nestled among the aspen and cottonwoods that stitch the Valley together in a patchwork landscape of pastures and hayfields.

Of the many ranches that exist throughout the Valley, two have personalities and purposes as varied as their owners. Dick Barker, owner of Emerald Meadows Ranch, raises a hay/alfalfa crop that provides two annual cuttings for his horses, as the pasture gives way to the season.

John Chapman, owner of Cloverly Ranch, delivers champion Arabian stallions to an international clientele. While each enjoys the casual lifestyle their respective ranches offer, both have stamped their own personal brand of comfort into the welcome extended to Valley guests.

Emerald Meadows Ranch
A Family Retreat

A famous Hemingway inspiration, “Il faut d’abord durer,” translates from the French meaning, “First, it is necessary to endure.” Dick Barker knows the meaning of such a challenge. He saw his original main house at Emerald Meadows Ranch destroyed by fire in 2002, leaving only a signature Asian elm in its fury.

Barker also weathered personal challenges that complicated the reconstruction process, but has succeeded in building a retreat that will serve as the setting for generations of pleasant memories.

Driving down Lower Broadford Road between Hailey and Bellevue, one comes to a turn toward the hills along the west side that leads to Fox Hollow Gulch where Emerald Meadows Ranch spreads gracefully over the gentle landscape.

The 60+-acre working hay ranch harbors a new main house, pristine, one-acre trout pond, a state-of-the-art red “American clay” Har-Tru tennis court, a guesthouse, and accompanying barns and outbuildings that shelter the horses and equipment involved in day-to-day ranch operations.

Barker’s willingness to hand the vision of rebuilding his family sanctuary over to Sun Valley architect Eddy Svidgal, contractor Blair Sturges of Sturges Productions and interior designer Jennifer Hoey, was rewarded by a synergistic effort from the creative group. Barker worked with the team in an integrative way to blend their talents in building a seamlessly beautiful and functional house.

Independently, each professional describes the pleasant experience of working with a client such as Barker, expressing the exquisite results when professionals work together using expertise, ability and insight.

“Mr. Barker is one of those seldom clients who although having a vision for their home, instinctively trusted our collective experience and knowledge to make the right decisions,” says Svidgal.

Barker’s main request to Svidgal was that the house fit in with the surrounding farm landscape, appearing to have been constructed in an earlier era.

To achieve that, Svidgal suggested a choice of vintage lumber, a variety of recycled materials and the selection of stone and wood finishes in harmony with surrounding natural colors.

The overall look and feel of the house is achieved effortlessly by casual simplicity in design. Svidgal’s interpretation of Barker’s vision transforms the raw materials into a true log house with all modern accoutrements. Stately but unassuming, the slab-log exterior is crowned with a recycled, faux-slate roof. The interior has a sophisticated European taste with rich woodwork and luxurious accommodations for every task from tack room to caretaker quarters. Cowboy porches with corrugated metal roofing edge the perimeter, maintaining the rustic appeal and help achieve the Old World look the homeowner desired.

The Barker ranch is not only a retreat, but a working hay farm with two cuttings per year. The home’s expansive porches, a tribute to historic ranch buildings, offer both shade and a comfortable place to rest.

Sturges’ fine craftsmanship and clean detail contributes to the sense of permanence that perfect construction lends. Clearly, experienced craftsmanship featuring square-pegged beams and handsomely-fitted cabinetry reflect Sturges’ advanced knowledge and love of the work.

Hoey’s final touches, from natural-hued silk drapery sheers embroidered with aspen leaves to simply beautiful, chocolate-hued chenille great room sofas, soften the roughness of the natural textures. Her design signature in the combination of new with old is displayed in the placement of sleek and stylish Holly Hunt tables next to large, weathered candlesticks and richly textured fabrics. The harmony of architectural, construction and design disciplines is evident in the smooth flow of wood and stone to fabric and fixture.

“This is about living and welcoming people,” Barker says with a confidence that broadcasts his satisfaction with the end result of construction. He adds that he was not looking for a “statement home,” but a place to wind down from his busy life in San Francisco. Barker says he is retired but continues to remain active on the boards of six non-profit organizations, four in California and two on the East Coast. In contrast, Emerald Meadows offers a relaxed, peaceful refuge.

“I don’t use a chain saw in San Francisco,” Barker says with a smile, emphasizing the difference in lifestyles.

From the moment of arrival at the ranch, opening the oversized wooden door into the stone hallway, a big, wide, unobstructed view across the great room encourages the first exhale of city pressures. The 23-foot-high ceiling and rock fireplace extending to the timbers serve as an expansive introduction to the house, yet conversation on a human scale is invited by the sumptuous, squared sofa arrangement.

“Three hundred years ago these Douglas firs were still growing,” Barker says, glancing up at the ceiling timbers. Chris Gammon, whose IGL Recycled Timbers and Millwork in Carey is responsible for supplying the recycled woods, says most large timbers are retrieved from warehouse structures and sawmill buildings along the I-5 corridor of the northwest. The antique hardwoods used in the finer cabinetry, Gammon says, tend to come from barns built back east, circa 1860 to 1900.

Just past the doors of the great room and the stone patio, the tennis court invites an active match. Barker extends friendly invitations to stop by and hit a few balls on the red sand court installed by The Tennis Company of Salt Lake City. Barker proves that the surface plays like the grounds of the French Open, giving a demonstration of the smooth game that keeps the ball in play longer while neutralizing big serves. Barker says it is cool to play on, easy on the knees and needs little care other than a quick sweep.

One of Barker’s passions shared by many in the Valley is fishing. While Silver Creek and the Big Wood are favorites easily accessed from the ranch, Emerald Meadows offers its own pond, stocked with rainbow and brook trout, a short hike from the house. The convenience and privacy are relaxing and rejuvenating for Barker as he transitions from city to ranch.

Boomer, Barker’s stately chocolate Labrador retriever, blends perfectly into the earthy, tone-on-tone color palette of the interiors. The high, softly-lit, coved ceiling in the master suite suggests nothing above but sky save for the chandelier. The fixture, exuding the romance of lit candles, is created from halogen bulbs sunk into individually poured wax columns. The natural rock fireplace stands watch between the panoramic view through paired glass doors on each side. Flawlessly simple, natural and inviting, it is a retreat embellished by Hoey’s design choices that welcomes its inhabitant after a full day of outdoor activity, whether that’s hard work or a day with a fly rod in hand.

The house also embraces Barker’s family members in the design of the upstairs suites with connecting loft library and workspace. The character of each of the two bedroom suites is tailored to family personalities, one on a contemporary and sophisticated theme with art from Christopher Reilly at Gail Severn Gallery, the other a feminine, upscale “shabby chic” collection accentuated by spirited art from Tom Judd at Anne Reed Gallery. The suites are not used for guests but reserved for family gatherings, inviting reunion and celebration in the pampered, comfortable atmosphere.

Acting as inspiration for the future, Emerald Meadows combines the traditional and the old with the contemporary and the new, providing a gracious setting for an album of most memorable days. >>>

 visit www.jenniferhoey.com for more information



Chapman’s Cloverly Ranch
Horse & History
Cloverly Ranch is a property with a historic past.

Built on 1,000 acres in 1885 and named by the Valley’s first minister, the Rev. Israel T. Osborn for its abundance of clover, the structure and the land have had a definite calling since the first turn of a shovel there.

The pastoral grounds of Cloverly Ranch lie to the west of the roadway along Highway 75 as it heads north out of Hailey toward Bald Mountain.
Nudging gently up against the protection of Carbonate Mountain, the home today is skirted by a collection of magnificent horses grazing serenely on the grass. Hearth, home and equine are lovingly overseen by current resident and retired attorney John Chapman. The Chapmans are only the second owners of this property, having bought it from the Osborns in 1941.

The Rev. Osborn homesteaded Cloverly Ranch not long after he was dispatched to Hailey by Boise’s Bishop Tuttle in 1881, the same year gold was discovered in the mines around Blaine County. The Episcopal reverend was known to carry his church organ around on the back of a wagon, playing and conducting services for the incoming miners. That original organ, now perfectly restored, resides at Cloverly today, its foot pedals covered with squares of the original Brussels carpet used to quiet the path of those on their way to the “wedding fireplace” in the sitting room of the house.

Named for its abundance of clover, a rich history and prized Arabian horses are notable at Cloverly Ranch today.

The home’s original structure, now expanded to five bedrooms plus a master suite, includes a rich, red wall featuring ornamental wooden discs carved by Osborn replicating those on the pews of Emmanuel Church in Hailey. The discs were designed as a symbol of God, also appearing on the corners of the five leaded-glass windows at Cloverly.

A hobby horticulturist, Osborn left a legacy of fruit-bearing trees planted throughout the acreage.

Consistent ownership and function have allowed Cloverly Ranch to move gracefully through the centuries with poise and purpose, retaining much of its original stature.

The Chapman stewardship of this ranch began in 1941, when John’s father, Marshall B. Chapman bought it from the Rev. Osborn’s family. He borrowed $8,000 from his mother-in-law to secure the 320 acres. The Chapman family had been brought to Idaho by John William Chapman, the current owner’s grandfather, who traveled west in a wagon train from St. Louis in 1864 to seek his fortune. He started out in Idaho City, but moved to Hailey in 1908 at the seasoned age of 68.

Chapman’s father, Marshall B. Chapman, was hired as a court reporter by Judge Francis Ensign, thus beginning the Chapman family tradition in the practice of law in Idaho that has produced seven attorneys.

As an only child, Chapman roamed the land on foot and on horseback, establishing his territory from the age of four, until he left for college.
Chapman left the ranch to complete an undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho followed by a Juris Doctor from Stanford. He practiced law for 40 years in Boise, and then fulfilled his dream of retiring and returning to Cloverly in 1998.

In preparation for that return, Chapman enlisted general contractor Bill Sample to restore and install plumbing, wiring and heating to original or improved standards and add a little square footage.

He points out a majestic, 120-year-old maple tree, a favorite of his that now supports a swing for his grandsons. He fondly remembers his “secret place” on the property near the river’s edge, reveals that his parents are buried on the land, and recalls the 2003 family reunion that drew together his descendents, and that included a celebratory service by Bishop Harry Bainbridge, the Episcopal Bishop of Idaho.

He notes that four generations of Chapmans have enjoyed the ranch, and hopes that his grandchildren will continue operations when he is ready to give up the reins.

Though he has sold all but 30 acres, he has dedicated 25 of them to pasture his beloved Arabians.

The Arabian horses at Cloverly are not only pretty and pleasant to watch as they dance through the pasture, but they are also registered champions. Chapman was the owner of the mare that foaled the legendary “Enzo,” the 2005 U.S. National Champion Senior Stallion.

Chapman’s Cloverly Ranch

“My partner, Steve Champion, is really the horse part of the business,” Chapman admits. With a natural gift for horse handling, Champion devotedly raises and trains the horses.

Chapman oversees the business side of things, in addition to enjoying the benefits of regular rides on his own 16-year-old Arabian, Demetrius, who, Chapman says, is on a perpetual diet but is a very obedient, comfortable companion. What’s so special about these horses, however, is their lineage.

Arabians are known for being gentle and intelligent, with wide-set eyes, curved ears and a dished profile that engages humans in friendship from the moment they meet.

The horses at Cloverly are distinctive in their excellent breed characteristics. Arabian aficionados from as far away as New Zealand have purchased from the line at Cloverly. The famed Enzo was sold while still in utero, but Chapman estimates the worth of the stallion, now living in California, at $3 million today.

Though Chapman is modest about his successes, he is well-known for hosting social gatherings and for maintaining an active profile on non-profit boards. When not traveling the world, he is an avid member of the Episcopal Church and a duplicate bridge partner, playing with friends he has known since high school.

His true passion remains the perpetuation of the ranch. He has worked out an easement of restrictive covenants with The Wood River Land Trust that will keep the property from being subdivided or developed.

It is obvious as Chapman reverently surveys an oil painting of a 1993 family reunion that there remains much more history to be written.

This article appears in the Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.