A sprawling timber lodge near the Rockies showcases reclaimed timbers and jaw-dropping views.
By Stacy Durr Albert
Photos by Karl Neumann
When you come across a setting as spectacular as this gorgeous mountain-view lot in Big Sky, Montana, you know right away that it’s a keeper. Set against the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park, the property affords breathtaking views of rugged peaks and world-class ski trails, creating the ultimate year-round retreat.
“It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise,” explains Kyle Tage of Locati Architects in Bozeman, Montana, the firm that designed the house for the 2.4-acre property. “The area is a real recreational community, offering everything from skiing and snow-shoeing, to kayaking and fishing.”
After owners Sandra and Richard Jacobson purchased the property, they brought their design ideas over to the design team at Locati, who created a plan that worked for the setting. “We took into consideration the site in terms of the views and topography, as well as the owners’ preferences,” recalls Kyle. “They really wanted to take advantage of the views and have good access to skiing, and they wanted a lodge-style home, so we scaled things a certain way to make it happen.”
The resulting layout is a sprawling home with reclaimed timbers that tops 6,000 square feet, yet the design incorporates many intimate spaces that lend a sense of coziness. “We took the ideas they gave to us and synthesized it into spaces that take advantage of the views while offering a feeling of intimacy,” says Kyle.
Though Montana winters always pose some construction challenges, the Jacobsons’ project moved along fairly smoothly, thanks to the expertise of SBC Construction of Bozeman. Initially the homeowners were doing a long-distance build, but they eventually moved out to Montana full-time. “They were very involved with the process, which was great,” says Kyle.
Built into a hillside, the three-story home features a main level, an upper level, and a walkout basement. Four bedrooms, six bathrooms and inviting public areas offer ample space for visitors. There are also five fireplaces and plenty of outdoor living spaces. “The family enjoys entertaining,” shares Kyle.
While the design and the setting of the home are certainly inspiring, the timbers really steal the show. The beautiful Douglas fir beams from Montana Timbers are actually reclaimed beams from old shipping and warehouse facilities on the West Coast.
“The reclaimed timbers give the space a natural, organic, earthy look that can’t be achieved with new or ‘fake’ timbers that can appear stiff or contrived,” says Robin Strangis, ASID, of Loring Interiors in Minneapolis, the interior designer for the project. “The added bonus is that they are green, or recycled, and that’s a good thing.”
Most of the recycled beams in the home are 14-by-14-inch timber columns, but some of the beams in the great room are 16-by-16. “We bumped up the size a bit in the great room to add more drama,” explains Kyle. “We wanted to make it work in terms of proportion and scale since the great room is a bigger space with higher ceilings.”
The style of the home feels somewhat European but still includes a few Western details. “The home is a blend of Western elements, modern conveniences, open views and a backdrop for a wonderful art collection,” shares Strangis. “The owners did not want an overly Western look, and their art collection and furnishings helped with that. They have a fantastic collection of art that has developed over the years, much of it by local artists and craftsmen.”
Outside, stone quarried in Montana complements the reclaimed fir beams to create a sturdy, Old-World lodge look that stops visitors in their tracks.
A man-made cascading creek curves around the property. “A mountain home like this tends to draw the eye outward to pay respect to the view,” says Strangis. “The unique thing about this house is the feeling of space, both internal and external. It is a gem set on a mountainside.”
Taking in the breathtaking views of the mountains, sky and water, it’s easy to see why the homeowners feel the house is a true jewel. It’s no surprise that they have dubbed their home “Blue Sky Lodge.” After all, in a setting as picture-perfect as this, even the cloudiest of days must feel like there is simply a delicate veil over that pristine blue paradise beyond.