Contemporary ranch living is more than having a house in the country. It is a lifestyle close to the land and its wide-open spaces, with almost limitless opportunities for the equestrian, the skier, the sportsman, the hunter, the angler, and the naturalist. Not every moment lends itself, however, to life on the open range, and the modern ranch home offers plenty of room for glamorous living and entertaining, as well as some old fashioned R & R. Here, we present six unparalleled examples of the genre, from the ranchlands of the American West to the coast of Uruguay and the volcanic plateaus of New Zealand. These homes offer cutting-edge architecture, chic interiors, ultra-luxurious amenities, breathtaking vistas and, most importantly of all, vast expanses of land under starry skies above. Cowboy hat sold separately.
North Island, New ZealandFor a taste of the ranch lifestyle, Kiwi style, this working cattle ranch is set within the splendor of New Zealand’s North Island Plateau. The property encompasses 264 acres of farmland currently grazed with cattle, including 17 acres of mature gum trees and outbuildings. The main residence is a sleek modernist house, built long and low to blend with the breathtaking landscape. The four-bedroom home has been innovatively designed with two bedroom wings at either end of the open-plan living areas. The private quarters and entertaining areas all have picture windows and ranch sliders, which span the full length of the home in order to take in the panorama of verdant meadows, the cobalt-blue water of Lake Taupo, and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Tongariro. Patios and entertaining areas with an outdoor fireplace further enhance the ambience of peace and serenity.
Wilson, WyomingThe Old West lifestyle blends with modernist design at Aspensong. This ultra-luxurious residence is sited on 35 acres in the historic Crescent H Ranch, one of the nation’s top private fishing destinations. The splendor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is on display in every room. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls open to an impressive view of the Teton valley and Rocky Mountains. The central living space is anchored by the home’s two wings: the north wing (comprising a guest suite, master suite, and conservatory) and the the west wing (featuring two-guest suites and a media room). The owner's level is a luxurious private retreat with an office, library, and a second master suite with his-and-her bathrooms. Access to the world-class ranch amenities of Crescent H include Blue Ribbon fly-fishing on the Snake River, horse riding, cross-country skiing, hiking; alpine skiing is available at the top-rated Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Stone Canyon Ranch
Paicines, CaliforniaLong renowned as one of the finest horse ranches in the country, Stone Canyon Ranch is a monument to elegant design and casual ranch living. The property encompasses 10,000 pristine acres in Paicines, near the resort destinations of Carmel and Pebble Beach, and an hour's drive from Silicon Valley. Gloriously brought to life through the vision of noted architect Ugo Sap, this transcendent compound was designed for maximum seclusion and oneness with nature. Perfectly sited atop a prominent ridgeline to take advantage of the spectacular 360-degree views, the main residence spans 7,900 square feet with an additional 5,000 square feet of private guest space. Stunning architectural details include a French slate roof, Italian limestone flooring, and Alaskan cedar trellises. Masterful interior design, landscaped gardens, a tennis court, and a pool create a relaxing resort-like atmosphere.
The Zorzal: Villalagos
Punta del Este, UruguaySituated within a 225-acre private nature reserve in Punte del Este on the Uruguayan coast, Villalagos is an exclusive gated community of 13 contemporary homesteads. One of the resort’s most distinctive homes, The Zorzal faces southeast towards its own stretch of shore on the Lago Norte lake, and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean. The ultra-modern residence has an understated elegance with its stucco façade and glass-walled interiors, which lead out to sweeping entertaining terraces, an infinity pool, and 7.41 acres of ranchland with fenced paddocks. Nearby is the coastal resort of La Barra, with its fashionable boutiques, bistros, and nightlife—for a truly unique lifestyle experience.
Contemporary Mountain Retreat
Jackson, WyomingThis one-of-a-kind mountain retreat in Jackson, Wyoming, is dramatically poised 800 feet above the valley floor, amid a breathtaking natural landscape of aspen trees, sagebrush, and open conservation land, bordered by the Gros Ventre Wilderness. The striking, three-tiered structure, crafted with an alluring façade of Indian Kota stone, concrete, and glass, pays homage to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, resulting in a home of sophisticated elegance at one with its surroundings. The 6,489-square-foot home has been innovatively built into the hillside to integrate with its pristine natural setting, yet is completely protected from the elements.
Santa Ynez, CaliforniaSon Sereno is an elegant and secluded 116-acre contemporary ranch estate in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. The area is known for its bucolic scenery, equestrian farms, and vineyards, located a short drive from Santa Barbara and two hours from Los Angeles. The five-bedroom main residence boasts dramatic views in every direction, a guest suite, as well as an office, exercise room, and solar-heated saltwater pool. The property has a host of ranch amenities: a center-aisle barn with eight stables, a wash stall and grooming area, tack room, and laundry room; a large hay/equipment barn, an arena, track, paddocks, irrigated pastures, riding trails, and a ranch manager’s home. The estate’s rich farmland includes an orchard, while an adjacent 102-acre parcel, offered for separate sale, is perfect for use as a vineyard.