Inside the Mind of Your Builder
by jennifer walton
For Alex Romaine, owner of Wind River Builders, there’s a puzzle to solve, an equation to consider, and most importantly, a balance to strike between what you’ll want in your Jackson home and what those specific wants mean to the performance of your home. Wait. My home needs to perform? The answer is an affirmative ‘yes’ in Romaine’s mind, and often he’s thought of that performance before you’ve chosen your timber sample, kitchen appliance, or decided upon a permanent water feature.
With that in mind, your next question might be, “If my home needs to perform, what can I expect from it and for how long?” And, that’s when you’ll want to contact one of the area’s most valued and respected custom homebuilders for his expertise, vision, and revered reputation in Jackson Hole.
Well into his second decade of building homes from plans to performance, Romaine has managed all the details you thought you knew, but actually didn’t until you were asked. During each stage of designing and building your new home, there is a plethora of choices and outcomes, and knowing what to expect at each stage is what puts Wind River Builders in the spotlight and in ‘performance mode.’
“THE EXECUTION IS WHAT COMPELS ME. I LIKE THE CHALLENGE OF FINDING NEW WAYS TO USE THE MOST EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGY, AND PLACING THAT IN A HOMEOWNER’S HANDS. THAT’S WHEN USER-FRIENDLY MEANS CONFIDENT HOMEOWNERSHIP.”
–ALEX ROMAINE, WIND RIVER BUILDERS
With all those decisions that allow your wants and needs to be met, and for your home to become unique and valued, you’ll inevitably rely on Romaine’s collaboration with your architect, landscape architect, and interior design teams. Romaine says, “We determine the elements the client wants and we are constantly thinking about the future. We will have built the house four times in our heads before we build the house itself.” Flexible and creative, Romaine confirms, “Owners should be able to understand how the house performs and feel confident in its systems, and as a homeowner, I know the best feeling comes from a home’s user-friendliness.” So, what will make your home feel luxurious, sophisticated, energy-efficient, and user-friendly? Attention to detail and unfailing behind-the-scenes coordination is always at the forefront of what Wind River Builders does. Romaine and his team are skilled in helping their clients envision homes during the planning stages. Their ability to help clients think ahead ensures that the clients are getting the homes they always dreamed about. They build mock walls so that their clients can make informed choices and their decisions align perfectly with the first moment they’ll spend in a new home.
For example, for the home on our cover and featured here, Romaine’s clear-cut thoughts take shape in the suspended breezeway. He understood the convergence of water lines, sewer lines, heating lines, and design attributes that necessitated mitigating any chance of excessive humidity or frozen pipes so that the “water under the bridge,” remains exactly that, a beautiful addition to the home’s visual identity, a soothing source from nature, and the bridge to its master suite.
In this expansive home near Elk Ridge, with an ‘out of this world’ view of The Grand, Romaine and his team show how a builder can go from good to great. A vital part of that movement is a careful consideration of how to make the house perform and be more sustainable. This includes taking into account the usability and amortization of solar, geothermal, passive solar, and other energy-conscious elements you may have not deemed central to your home’s performance. The whole idea is for your home to perform to your lifestyle, whether that is determined by the seasons you’ll be living in it, how often you want to view the roaming wildlife, or how many friends visit during the holidays. Does your home’s design complement or compete with its mechanical output? Romaine balances the final aesthetic with the mechanical, however it is always with quality, budget, schedule, and risk factor in mind. Providing his clients with a full range of ideas and answers, he also prepares them for the choices they might have in the future.
“We need to scrutinize all facets of a home’s performance so that we may execute the construction in a fluid, efficient, and calculated process.” –ALEX ROMAINE, WIND RIVER BUILDERS
FROM USER-FRIENDLY TO CONFIDENT HOMEOWNERSHIP
Romaine is always looking for ways to make his clients’ homes better. “Right now we like to think “current” rather than “contemporary,” more “country” than “rustic,” and to do this, we continue to evaluate many styles and trends, and how those relate to craftsmanship, quality, and availability of resources and products,” he says. Because of his trusted team of sub-contractors whose combined experience is varied and diverse, and the implementation of the products and systems (HVAC, plumbing, electrical), Romaine trusts his building process. “The execution is what compels me. I like the challenge of finding new ways to use the most efficient technology, and placing that in a homeowner’s hands. That’s when user-friendly means confident homeownership. You don’t want to put the homeowners in a position where they are forced to contact a manufacturer because they don’t understand the product or who installed it or what function it provides. Your home’s desire is to be efficient, and for you to live in harmony with its design, whether that is aesthetic or mechanical.”
That function could range from pre-wiring a home theater, to recycling gray water, to acoustically-treated rooms with dedicated outlets for specific musical recording purposes, to a symmetrically designed sprinkler system, to an intelligently designed bar for entertaining. Inside the mind of Alex Romaine details are formed, functions are realized, and dreams are fulfilled.
Working in concert with architects and homeowners, Wind River Builders helps to realize their clients’ dreams. Building high-performance homes, Romaine and his team at Wind River Builders provide tangible, smart, and sustainable connections between the spectacular setting and their clients’ Teton lifestyles. Now that’s a performance.