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A Guest-Friendly Spec Home in Montana

A couple builds a timber frame spec home in Montana for entertaining and hosting sizable gatherings.

There’s a lot to be said when a couple loves a place so much that they build a spec home in order for others to enjoy it, too.
“The Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, is a very special place,” says homeowner Nancy Domaille. “There are a lot of people who want to immediately have a home here instead of waiting to build a house to live in. So we decided to build for that purpose.”
Already homeowners themselves in this community, Nancy and her husband, Mike, set out to build a home with a warm, family-oriented feeling where people would walk in and want to stay.
“Mike and I both said that we want to build a home that we would live in,” Nancy explains. “It gave us a different perspective on how we, along with the contractors, looked at building this home.”
When the Domailles began this process, they contacted Debra Shull, owner and designer of Haven Interior Design in Bozeman, Montana, whom Nancy had worked with on previous projects. “Debra already knew what I really liked and put that into the house,” Nancy says. “I trust her and her vision.”
The interior designer worked with the couple beginning at the design process.
“I like to get involved in a project in the beginning, during the architectural phase, so I can start space planning and making specifications on all of the lighting and interior finishes,” she notes.
In the Domailles’ project, she was integral in creating a twist on traditional rustic by infusing a softer take on the style. For example, finishes such as wrought iron and reclaimed wood are showcased, but not as heavily as they would be in a more traditional rustic-style home.
Another fresh element was the subtle addition of blue to Nancy’s favorite palette of greens, rusts and browns. Taking her cues from nature and the views of the Gallatin Range and Yellowstone Park Mountains, the designer used this color scheme throughout the home.
“We have the most incredible big blue skies in this area,” she observes. “And that was my inspiration, since the house is situated high on the lot and has an incredible view of the sky beyond.”
In the great room, tones of blue and rust in the furnishings and rug complement the natural shades in the stones used to cover the massive columns. These impressive columns are not just eye-catching; they are structural as well.
“The home is located in a high earthquake zone combined with heavy snow loads and possibilities for high winds,” said architect Mark Weirich of Mark Weirich Architects, Inc., in Bozeman. “There are a lot of sheer forces that are transmitted into the columns.”
To balance the size of the columns with the enormity of the great room, the architect included nonstructural timber trusses and rafters.
“The great room space is very tall and wide with high ceilings,” he says. “To make the space have less of a warehouse feeling, I added faux timber trusses to help bring it down and rafters that run perpendicular to the ridge and purlin to create a cozier room.”
These elements extend into the chef’s kitchen. The timber trusses above feature ambient uplighting to illuminate the overall workspace, along with task-specific tin pendant lights and additional fixtures designed by the interior designer and crafted by a local blacksmith. The expansive countertops are covered with granite to provide plenty of space for cooking preparation and presentation. A custom copper hood with wrought iron straps continues the rustic theme into the space.
To distinguish the kitchen from the dining area while visually keeping it open, the interior designer suggested lower cabinets. “The center island is really large, so another large piece of stone would be too much,” she says. “So we turned this cabinet into a piece of furniture with open glass and a wood top to break it up from the kitchen and create more counter space.”
A game room and home theater also are located on the main level. The area immediately draws guests to the room, and the flow works well for entertaining.
“I liked the idea of a game room on the main level because it’s great for entertaining because people can be in the game room as well as the great room and people can roam from area to area,” the interior designer states.
The home theater was designed as an extension of the great room, including comfortable, multiuse, residential seating that can be rearranged when needed in lieu of traditional stadium-style seats. The state-of-the-art audio/visual system and blackout curtains create the ultimate viewing experience, with other high-tech features, such as a whole-house lighting, music and heating system, discretely tucked behind the rustic elements of the home.
“There are custom, unique touches found throughout the house,” says Nancy. “We were truly building a home that we would be proud to live in.”

Home Details

Square footage: 8,526
Architect: Mark Weirich
Builder: Yellowstone Traditions
Interior designer: Haven Interior Design
Timber provider: Montana Reclaimed Lumber

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