MATERIAL HONESTY: Honoring the Integrity of Natural Elements

MATERIAL HONESTY: Honoring the Integrity of Natural Elements

JLF Architects Bozeman Montana Jackson Wyoming

As architects, we consider nature our greatest aesthetic mentor.


“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough.”

Toni Morrison

The world’s beauty has long been enough for us. Ergo our honest approach to natural materials: A slab of Montana moss stone delivers a beauty beyond anything we could design as architects, a beauty best experienced directly, unmarred by our touch. Nature provides us with a nonpareil palette which, when welcomed in wild form, exudes complete serenity in situ.

As designers, we consider nature our greatest collaborator, our greatest mentor on aesthetics. Humbled and honored by the presence of such grace in our work, we approach every design as an homage to the rugged world outside the walls we build. Thus every sketch of a stone wall becomes as a landscape drawing of sorts—the memory of a craggy face we climbed, a rambunctious creek we crossed.

Nature deserves the credit, not us: when Paul Bertelli was recently asked by Mountain Living magazine what he considers a Timeless Design Trend, he tipped his hat to Mother Nature by replying, “Honesty in materials.”

“If it’s a stone wall, it needs to be a 2-foot-thick stone wall. It can’t be a veneer, 3 inches of stone. If something is reclaimed, it needs to have the sort of strength and integrity that it had in its original life; faking anything shows its age pretty rapidly.”

At this point in our life as a firm, the world’s beauty is truly enough.

ABOUT JLF ARCHITECTS: Building timeless structures rooted in eloquence and elegance, Jackson- and Bozeman-based JLF Architects sources authentic materials and regional solutions to create place-based houses reflective of their contexts, whether that be the Rocky Mountains or the Eastern Seaboard. Our award-winning portfolio features inspired custom designs achieved through a genuine alliance with Big-D Signature, built over 17 years of collaboration. Our streamlined process unites passionate architects with dedicated builders to enable the collective imagination of visionary artisans working with visionary clients. For more information, visit www.JLFArchitects.com.
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