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Easy Elegance: A Classic Timber Home In Montana

A Wyoming couple returns to their native roots to build their simple yet luxurious post and beam Montana timber home.

Eager to return to their native Montana, Dave and Candy Crow spent one weekend a month driving from their Wyoming home in search of land on which to build. In 2001, they found it — 10 acres of sheer heaven on earth.

“We wanted to be on flat land, and this property gave us that plus the best views of the Rocky Mountains’ Swan Range,” Candy notes. “It was perfect.” The next big decision was to determine what kind of home would best fit in with the surrounding landscape. It didn’t take long for the couple to agree that a timber home was the only smart choice. “We started looking at log homes, but we felt that there was too much wood in the interior. That’s when we discovered timber frames,” Dave recalls. “We could incorporate drywall, tile and different colors, but it would still give us a classic wood look.”

Knotty-alder cabinets, a granite-topped island and counters, and porcelain-tile flooring create a rustic kitchen. But perhaps the room’s most eye-catching detail is its custom-designed range hood, which Dave and a subcontractor framed with drywall and covered with glass tile. Craftsman-style, hand-painted tiles create a finishing border on the rim. The backsplash is comprised of 1-by-1-inch porcelain tiles. Dave and Candy scoured magazines for photos and ideas to incorporate into their timber home.

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They created several different designs, ultimately choosing one that not only made the most of their site, but also addressed their list of must-haves — a main-floor master suite, an informal dining area, an open great room that still maintains some separation from the kitchen and finished space above the garage. With their timber-frame house plan in place, the couple hired Logcrafters Log & Timber Homes in St. Ignatius, Montana, for a few key reasons.

“When we were going through the magazines for ideas, their ads got our attention, and they’d been in business for a while, which led us to believe they were reputable,” Candy says. “Plus, their headquarters is near our site.” But the thing that solidified their decision was the company’s product. “We didn’t want a formal, finished look to the timbers, and Logcrafters finishes all timbers by hand,” she explains. Two Logcrafters team members helped erect the Douglas fir timbers within two-and-a-half days.

From start to finish, the Crows spent 18 months building their 5,200-square-foot timber home. But as much as they were in sync on the project, the couple didn’t always agree on each other’s roles. In the past, Dave helped his father build four houses and remodeled every house he and Candy had ever owned. Upon moving to Montana, he formed his own firm, Crow Construction, taking charge of the building process. But Candy wanted her ideas heard as well. “I have strong opinions, as does my husband,” she says. “Halfway into the construction, we decided that I was the homeowner and he was the builder. It allowed me to voice my opinions, and it ended up being a good collaboration.”

That collaboration — which also included a helping hand from their daughter, Kelly, and wiring of the security, sound, phone and satellite systems by their son, Jason — yielded a three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home that completely captures the Crows’ casual lifestyle. A double-sided fireplace visible from both the great room and dining area harmonizes with a mixture of hand-scraped hickory flooring and porcelain tiles found throughout the main floor.

The timber framing glows over the great room. The railings use cherry handrails and hammered-iron balusters to bring out the hand-hewn timbers and tongue-and-groove pine flooring.[/caption] Craftsman-style interior doors, lighting fixtures and hardware meld with the hand-troweled plaster walls by local artisan Jon Reed. Transoms bring additional light into the timber home while accomplishing Candy’s mandate for manageable, appropriately sized windows.

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Cherry handrailings with hammered-iron balusters, which Dave proclaims to be his favorite feature, lend an air of rustic elegance. Tying the whole design together, of course, are the hand-hewn timbers and hammerbeam trusses. “The wood adds to the authenticity of the timber home and contrasts well with the natural and more contemporary elements, like the floors and the fireplace,” says Jesse Brockmeyer, salesperson for Logcrafters.

“It all flows really well.” It’s a sentiment that the Crows share. “The dimension of the wood went way beyond my expectations,” Candy says. “We’re in a beautiful part of Montana and in a beautiful timber home, and we know we’re lucky to have had this dream put into action. This is our comfort zone.”

Tour a Classic Timber Home In Montana


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