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    Images: Audrey Hall

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Vintage Style Cowboy Conversion Saves Mid 20th Century Cabin

Georgina Johnston
10 Dec 2019

Kibler & Kirch invoke Wild West nostalgia and earn Book and Magazine Attention

A low-slung bunkhouse-like structure built over 50 years ago on a large piece of land in scenic Big Horn, Wyoming, was at one point declared a teardown. However, a Texas couple, ranchers and horse breeders looking to relocate, thought otherwise, opting to recreate the structure as the vintage Western cabin of their dreams, embracing their love for classic dude-ranch styling of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Cue Jeremiah Young, owner of Montana interior design firm Kibler & Kirch, with a well-earned reputation for understanding the nuances of real-West charm grounded in a deep knowledge of history and craftsmanship and an unparalleled eye for detail.

The timeless appeal of the resulting residence earned a chapter in the new design book “Cabin Style” (Gibbs Smith) by Chase Reynolds Ewald with photography by Audrey Hall, just released in August. The Big Horn cabin also graced the pages of Mountain Living magazine, in the September/October 2019 edition of its popular annual “Rustic” issue.

The acclaim for this Wild West jewel box of a house didn’t surprise designer Young. The home, he says, “is modest from a certain perspective. But everything is made by hand—every screw, every light fixture, all the hardware. The house is small, but no expense was spared, no corners were cut. The approach was entirely original and handmade.”

Furnishings include Molesworth-style chairs by Cody artisan Marc Taggart, wood pole table and a burlwood lamp in living room, a reclaimed wood built-ins in hallway and natural branch stair railings contribute to the period look. To achieve the goal of a beautifully functioning house that fit the homeowners’ appreciation for the historic cowboy-and-burlwood creations of iconic Cody craftsman Thomas Molesworth, Kibler & Kirch joined a team that included architect Dennis Deppmeier of 2north, who brought his background in historic preservation to bear. Structurally, the roof was replaced and the upper level rebuilt with two cozy bedrooms and a bathroom. Reclaimed wood and river rock treatments were added to the exterior and the porch was removed and reconstructed with standing dead logs to support it. 

Meanwhile, Kibler & Kirch sourced a variety of handmade elements for the interior, including Old Hickory Furniture Company classics and Molesworth reproductions by Marc Taggart of Cody, Wyoming. The preferred Molesworth style guided many choices from lighting to furniture to materials used within the home such as iron, leather, applied poles, Navajo rugs, Pendleton blankets, brass nailheads, fringe, burl and beadwork.

Bedroom embraces Western camp-style with Pendleton blanket, scenic table lamp and leather. A Glenn Dean cowboy oil painting holds pride of place above a Hickory Chair carved chest.

An extraordinary level of detail in both the exteriors and interiors helps to create a strong sense of authenticity in the home with custom cabinets built from reclaimed wood, doors and floors crafted from reclaimed fir, and handmade floor tiles in the mud/laundry room. Additionally, pieces such as a built-in wooden bed, distressed leather chairs and antique and new rugs – combined with an impressive art collection featuring Ansel Adams photographs, a stunning Glenn Dean oil painting and a collection of Edward Borein etchings – all contribute to the home’s immersive quality.

It’s hard to know what year it is when you step into this home. It’s amazing to have the chance to create such a feast of authenticity and timeless appeal.

Young, Designer 

Kibler & Kirch resonate a distinctive – and distinctly Western – style through the various branches of the business. Young and his Kibler & Kirch team always strive to create comfortably tasteful living spaces where the spirit of the West meets modern treasures that are built to last. 

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