WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.
Admit it, you have an inquiring mind, and you want to know about the team designing your Sun Valley dream home. We understand the inclination. so we decided to bring you Shop Talk, conversations with the talented pros designing, building, outfitting your homes and those who offer options for work spaces outside your home.
Smith Associates P.A.
Jack Smith, Architect, FAIA
Jack Smith is the principal and president of Smith Associates. He holds a doctorate degree in architecture, is a Fellow in the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board, and is currently a registered architect in ten states. Smith has recently reopened his office in Ketchum, Idaho, after having been a Teaching Professor of Architecture at Montana State University since 2006. While teaching at MSU, he maintained a modest practice in the Sun Valley area. Smith is perhaps best known for his role as the original and lead architect and planner for Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and several award-winning residences in the Wood River Valley.
What services do you offer and in what regions?
Smith Associates has offered professional services in Architecture, Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Design in the western United States, the Intermountain West, and the Northwest and Pacific Region since 1975.
What is your architectural and educational background?
I did my undergraduate work in the humanities and architecture at the University of Utah. I returned to school in 2001 to earn a doctorate degree in architecture at the University of Hawaii in 2006. Since I was already an architect, I spent most of my five years of study there in the philosophy department. I wrote my dissertation on traditional Japanese architecture and its influence on the modern architecture of the early 20th century. I also gained a certificate in Japanese garden design at the Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2003.
What would you consider to be the most important or influential parts of your education in architecture?
My mentorship under John Sugden, a protégé of Mies van der Rohe, and my association and partnership with Dan Kiley, considered to be the most important landscape architect of the 20th century, were most influential on my career. I must also add that teaching has a symbiotic relationship with practice and one learns from colleagues and students as well.
What’s the difference between a good house and a great house?
I think one needs to aspire to greatness in all projects. I see architecture as an art form and for architecture to be great, there must be three levels of comfort. First, it must have physical comfort—warm in winter, cool in summer—and be a safe and stable place to be in. This is the easy part and most anyone should be able to accomplish it. Second, it must have intellectual comfort. It should stand the test of reason…a bit more difficult, but still doable. Third, it must have spiritual comfort. Does it make you happy or fill you with joy? Does it enhance your life and make it better? This is the most difficult to accomplish and not always doable. Without these three, a building is just a build-ing, not architecture. Le Corbusier said, “Architecture is the triumph of art over construction.”
What are the most rewarding things about designing a home?
When a client responds with the joy of living in it. There are two stories I would like to share here. Some years ago, when visiting a house just nearing completion, I noticed tears in my client’s eyes, so I asked her what was the matter. She answered, “Don’t worry Jack, these are tears of joy.” More recently, on a house just completed in Washington, I noticed that the maid and client’s mother were whispering. I asked why. They answered, “Because we feel like we are in church.” These comments are among the most rewarding moments of my career. It is also most rewarding when a client returns for a new project…a house or even a remodeling. I think this confirms the client’s confidence in me. I just completed my fourth house for Craig and Alison Poulsen, illustrated here…a wonderful compliment. It’s a great joy when clients become friends. The first Poulsen home has recently been purchased and I am thrilled that the new owners have asked me to remodel the house in order to meet their different requirements.
What projects are you most excited about now?
To quote Frank Lloyd Wright, “My next ones.”
Describe your process—how do you work with clients, contractors, and interior designers?
I see the design process as a collaboration between all parties, but with the architect as a kind of orchestra conductor. I think the architect is the most qualified for this role. Listening is key. One must listen to the client, consultants, and the general contractor, but then take a leadership position. As an architect, you must listen to the site as well. Appropriate response to the site and structural innovation for me are principal form-givers. Regarding interior designers, I have worked with many. The most successful collaborations with them have been when they understand the philosophy behind the architectural design. Without this understanding, there is little hope for a true art form to come forth. The same is true with landscape design.
what would you be doing If you were not an architect?
I love music and have often thought that composing music would be highly rewarding. I listen to music when I am designing, most-ly classical. I love Rachmaninoff’s four piano concertos, especially the third, Mozart’s sonatas, and of course, the three Bs—Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.
What place in the world do you find most inspirational?
Japan, because I have an understanding of the culture, having studied and traveled there. I appreciate the Japanese traditional architecture the most because it exemplifies many of the architectural tenets or principles I aspire to, especially wabi-sabi and the clarity of structure.
What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt, because it puts in current perspec-tive the philosophy of Epicurus and Lucretius and its relationship to our democratic system of government. Thomas Jefferson’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” came from Lucretius’ poem On The Nature of Things.
G & Sons LLC
Alex Gonzalez, Project Manager; Arnie Gonzalez, Principal/Founder
G & Sons LLC has been serving the Wood River Valley community for more than 25 years. Arnie Gonzalez, founder and principal of G & Sons LLC, works with his son, Alex, and together they form a successful father and son general contractor team.
What geographic area do you serve?
We work within the Wood River Valley. Recently, we’ve been expanding and doing some custom builds in the Sawtooth Valley.
What services do you offer?
We are committed to building and remodeling homes with an unwavering commitment to client service. We take pride in our work and in making home building dreams a reality. Our capabilities include pre-construction, construction management, and general construction
What is your professional background? How did you get started in your field?
Arnie began his career in construction at the age of 13 in San Diego, California, where he apprenticed with a well-respected custom homebuilder. Joining the workforce at a very young age, Arnie worked tirelessly to build the skills and gain the experience necessary to one day manage complex construction projects. His strong work ethic continues to this day, as he continually strives for better results and to better serve his clients. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Alex joined the company at age 14. He learned the residential construction trade through hands-on experiences and working in the field alongside his father. Starting out as a framer on one of Arnie’s framing crews, Alex eventually graduated to office administration. Alex completed a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Oregon. After graduation, Alex returned to the area to continue working for G & Sons.
Describe your process.
Throughout all phases of construction, we put our clients in control of the process. Typically, our clients are building on the dreams they’ve had for many years. A vision of the perfect Rocky Mountain home or ski cabin turns into the task of making it a reality. G & Sons has developed systems to make a complicated process as easy, fun, and cost-effective as possible. We deliver clients an heirloom home on schedule and within budget.
What project(s) are you most excited about right now?
Currently we’re working on a new residence in the Stanley Basin. The geographic setting of where the home is being built has an astonishing view of the Sawtooth Mountains as the landscape setting. Our clients have had the dream to build this home for years and we’re grateful that we’re able to help make it a reality
Most rewarding part of the work?
We embrace the challenges that some of our projects bring and having to think outside the box. All of the projects are different, and each has its own set of challenges. Aside from this, being able to collaborate with a team from start to finish is so rewarding. It’s also satisfying seeing progress as a project progresses forward. It’s incredible to see a project go from a vision to being something tangible.
How did you get your start here?
Arnie was working for a custom home builder in the San Diego area. In 1990, the opportunity arose to move to Idaho with the custom home builder and work on the Kentwood Lodge in Ketchum. After the Kentwood Lodge was completed, the builder retired and Arnie decided to stay and establish G & Sons. Since then, G & Sons has been dedicated to serving the Wood River Valley.
Do you have a favorite sport or recreational activity?
We both enjoy mountain biking throughout the Wood River Valley. It’s astonishing to see some of the country the local trails have to offer. There’s nothing better than leaving the office and having the trails right out our front door.
Favorite season? Why?
all is one of our favorite seasons. It’s beautiful to see the landscape changing colors. Aside from this, it’s some of the best mountain bike riding. The weather isn’t too cold or hot; it’s the perfect temperature.
What do you enjoy most about living and working where you do?
After a long day of work, we love going for a nice hike or bike ride in the mountains to freshen up our minds. And when winter is here, being able to work mornings at the office and take a couple of ski laps during lunch on the mountain is pretty neat.
Old Goats Hard Goods
Heidi Lamey, Partner/Designer
Old Goats Hard Goods provides and installs semi-custom and custom cabinetry and cabinetry hardware. Our team focuses on creative designs, maximizing the use of space. To this end, we add value to any project for clients, builders, designers, and architects. Making their vision a
reality is our mission.
What services do you offer?
Old Goats Hard Goods is a full-service provider of semi-custom and custom cabinetry—including all interior, exterior kitchen, and garage cabinetry—as well as cabinetry hardware.
What geographic area do you serve?
Our Sun Valley location serves southern Idaho, including the Wood River Valley, Boise area, and McCall. Our location in Whitefish, Montana, serves the entire Flathead, Mission, and Bitterroot Valleys.
How did you get your start?
I earned a major in finance and a minor in economics from Southern Methodist University. After working in the Chicago financial district for The Northern Trust and then for Howard Johnson & Company—no, not the hotel—as a pension and profit-sharing consultant, I chose to skip my actuarial exams and move out West to pursue more creative endeavors. With design and architecture as my focus, I have spent the last 20 years in the design/construction and interior design industries. Meeting and partnering with Joni and Ethan Petro—owners of Old Goats Hard Goods—happened at the perfect time. They structured a great business model centered around talented designers who value integrity, accountability and follow-through.
What is your design process?
Our design process is client-centered and collaborative. We believe that hardware and cabinetry are an extension of one’s lifestyle and should harmonize with the overall décor of one’s home. Our design studio is by appointment only, which allows us to focus on you and only you. Planning a remodel or new construction can be daunting; the devil is in the details. A review of customers’ Pinterest/Houzz boards assists us in clarifying our client’s design intent. From there we can make clear the cabinetry process and provide the time needed for in-depth planning. Our design team creates floor plans, elevations, and renderings needed to ensure that our customers can envision the end result. Once drawings are approved and cabinets are ordered, we schedule and manage the install. We have several of the Wood River Valley’s most knowledgeable installers on our team.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” – Charles Eames. I love uncovering the smallest of details to deliver customers’ exact wants, from traditional to contemporary, at all price points.
What inspires you?
People first. Collaboration second. Learning third. I care about my clients, their needs, and their happiness. I have learned much from the collaborative process and continue to be inspired through partnerships with clients, builders, designers, and architects.
What is sure to make you laugh?
My rescue dog, Wallace. All day, every day.
If you weren’t in your field, what would you be doing?
Looking back, I wish I had trained as a fighter pilot. My grandfather served in the United States Air Force.
What do you enjoy most about living here?
My love affair with Idaho is anchored by its wonderful people and natural beauty. I love accessing outdoor activities year-round. From hiking and climbing in the summer to skiing in the winter, the natural gifts are real. I love that our community is small where the most meaningful business relationships are also personal relationships. Introducing special places and people to my partners at Old Goats Hard Goods has been a pleasant, daily reminder of why I love this wonderful valley we call home.