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Sleek Idaho 'Ranch' in a Barley Field Knows it's Special

Mountain views. An outdoor shower. A location in a rural Idaho outpost called Squirrel, 10 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Meet (by way of the Wall Street Journal) America's ranch sweetheart, which doesn't have a name, because even contemporary ranches aren't pretentious like that. Designed by Wyoming-based Ward Blake Architects, the 6,000-square-foot house on 290 acres has a façade that mixes cedar beams and spruce logs with steel columns and wall-length glass windows. The Wall Street Journal just wrote an article about this heartland dream ranch, in which the owners confessed that they initially wanted a traditional Tuscan-style house to coexist with their pretty barley field. The architect quickly nixed that plan. "Thank goodness he didn't listen to us," one owner said.

The architect's website calls the four-bedroom house "an unabashed groundscraper," which is pretty accurate: seen from afar it appears to be only a few feet taller than the barley fields. "One of the home's most striking visual elements is a thick rammed-earth wall that stretches the entire length of the house," writes the Journal. The area near Yellowstone National Park is constantly having earthquakes and in addition to just being cool, the earth wall offers superior seismic stability. More photos, below.

All images via Ward Blake Architects

· Ward Blake Architects [Official site]
· In Rural Squirrel, Idaho, a Modern Home [Wall Street Journal]