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Amy and Joel Brazil's Sun Valley home
Amy and Joel Brazil's Sun Valley home
Photography by Ray Gadd

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Tour a Light-Filled Sun Valley Home Perfect for Work and Family

A low-maintenance design features reclaimed wood and steel

Amy and Joel Brazil moved to Sun Valley five years ago for the same reasons most people move to ski country: the epic skiing, the never-ending biking and hiking trails, and the small-town community feel. Joel, a former ski racer from Washington state, grew up traveling to Idaho for races, while Amy, a "city-girl," spent her childhood in Vancouver, Washington. After meeting in Seattle and living in London for 7 years, the work-from-home couple and their daughter chose family-friendly Sun Valley to put down roots.


With a long-time dream of building their own house, the Brazil family rented the first few years in Ketchum. They even bought 2 acres in nearby Hailey thinking they would eventually build there. But with lower real estate prices in the post-2008 economy, Amy and Joel were able to afford a lot in the Warm Springs neighborhood, right near downtown Ketchum.

Working with Gretchen Wagner of Scape Design, the couple wanted a mix of modern and classic alpine touches, prioritizing, as Joel says, "a clean and simple feel." Busy lives required a low-maintenance design, so the couple opted for easy, natural materials like reclaimed wood, untreated black steel, and sheet metal.

Brazil Home in Sun Valley

The steep slope of the lot required gabled roofs and a three-story design, but the decision paid off. The 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath house built by Conrad Brothers Construction is full of large windows, providing forest views in every direction but with nary a neighbor in sight. As Amy explains, "No matter which way you look you see green trees." Joel chimes in, "When you're staring at nature and the mountains all day, you're just enchanted."

That's a bonus for two work-from-home AOL employees, and their 300-square-foot office is one of the most important spaces in the house. Like the rest of the home, the office is functional and inviting, a place Amy and Joel don't mind walking into every day. And the view? "It's exceptional," says Joel. The two can often see elk and deer from their window while they work.

Of course, it's not all work in the Brazil household. A love of entertaining required a large, open kitchen and living room. The six stools around a huge island were a must, and sleek, clean lines were achieved through well-organized cabinetry. "There's a place for everything" in the 3,300-square-foot house, Amy explains, from the kitchen to the living room and even the master bedroom.

Their daughter, Fleur, also has her own space, with a bright-yellow bedroom and a chalk wall prepped and ready for a future desk. Luckily, at just 7 years old, Fleur doesn't have much homework yet. She is, however, an aspiring artist, with several bright-colored paintings adding a cheerful touch throughout the home.

The space is "just so comfortable," Joel remarks. While not overdesigned, the home features fun pieces, like a powder room using cork wall paper (check out the gold flecks) and a gorgeous walnut wood sink. Large sliding barn doors are an efficient use of space and there's a functional, low-maintenance Alaskan cedar deck off of the main living room.

All in all, it's the perfect home base in beautiful Sun Valley. And while the outdoors continues to captivate this family of three, the Brazils know what they love most about ski country life: "It's the people here," Amy remarks, "The community is just amazing. Everyone looks out for everyone else."

All photography by Ray Gadd

Property Credits:

Interior design completed by Jayne Sanders Interior Design. The home also features work from 5 Star Kitchen and Bath, Steve Jobs Landscape Design, Rocky Mtn Hardware, Jack Donnelly Cabinets, and concrete floors by Skip Merrick Construction.

Sun Valley, ID 83353, USA

Sun Valley, ID 83353, USA