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Open Invitation: A Family-Friendly Timber Home

A California couple creates a warm and welcoming timber home in the Montana mountains.

The side of the house that takes in the views is virtually a wall of glass, connecting the interiors with the outdoors. There are also several patios and decks for the homeowners to entertain friends. The side of the house that takes in the views is virtually a wall of glass, connecting the interiors with the outdoors. There are also several patios and decks for the homeowners to entertain friends.

“It’s inviting to see the home’s soft lights aglow as you wind up the old logging road on a dark snowy evening,” says architect Jamie Daugaard of Centre Sky Architecture, who designed this warm and welcoming home in the Montana mountains. And that’s just the effect the homeowners wanted to achieve when they decided to build a timber home getaway in western Montana.

Avid skiers, the California couple had been coming to Big Sky for years when their ski instructor urged them to try the slopes at the Yellowstone Club, a new ski resort community. They fell in love with the slopes and decided it was the perfect place to build a home. They found a secluded 5-acre parcel with old pines dotting the landscape and views to Pioneer Mountain and Lone Peak and knew they had found their spot. “We wanted a timeless design that fit well into the mountain setting,” notes the homeowner. “Something that looked like it has grown organically over the years.”

In the Mix

For the couple, the key requirements in the house would be an open floor plan to entertain family and friends. They also wanted plenty of connections to the outdoors to enjoy the natural surroundings. They contacted Daugaard, who is well versed in the vernacular timber frame style of the area, to create their dream home. Working with the natural curves and slope of the landscape, Daugaard set about designing a home that would take full advantage of the views. “We designed the house in two major pods or sections,” note Daugaard.

This gave him the ability to break down the massing — the home is over 8,600 square feet — as well as angle rooms towards the different views. “We wanted the materials of the house to have a rustic quality,” he notes. To achieve this goal, builder Jamy Patterson of Boles Construction clad the timber home in a mix of vertical reverse shiplap boards and horizontal plank with chinking. The roofing material is also a combination of metal and cedar shake, while the foundation is local Montana Moss stone. Patterson worked with Trestlewood, a company that specializes in reclaimed timbers, to supply salvaged dry dock Douglas fir for the support timbers on the project.

“Once the gray-weathered timbers were sanded, they had a warm honey color and blended perfectly with the native stone and other natural materials,” notes the homeowner. Daugaard took design cues from the home’s mountain setting, but also created an eclectic feel by introducing a stair tower reminiscent of a grain silo and a glass elevator encased in a rustic steel, which was reflective of an old mine shaft. “We used a lot of exposed steel within the interior of the house to give it a more modern sophisticated feel,” Daugaard notes. “The steel has a nice patina.”

To create interest in the exterior design, Daugaard added 12-foot angled columns as supports for the main gable as well as to other subordinate gables. “Deep eave overhangs and thick purlins above the truss offer a layered effect to the wood, as well as create shade and shadow lines,” he notes. “It’s this level of detail that creates a special house.”

Welcome Home

To accommodate family and friends, the house has five bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, a great room, a rec room complete with pool table, a home theater, several outdoor patios and decks, a hot tub, and a fire pit. For the great room, Daugaard and Patterson introduced king post trusses into the design. A massive stone fireplace anchors one end of the room. The stone corner pillars in the great room cover the steel support beams in the room. A wall of windows looks out on the mountain. An open loft library looks down onto the great room and out to the view as well.

The only way to access the theater is to walk outside — there is no entrance from the interiors. “This make the experience of going to the movies more fun for the family,” Daugaard notes. Just off the great room is one of the husband’s favorite spots: the kitchen. “While cooking, he likes to visit with friends, so we added an island with seating, an informal dining area, as well as a sitting area and fireplace,” notes Daugaard. “This was a difficult room to configure because it follows the landscape. We broke the area into smaller segments.” Daugaard also included a dining room in the layout, set off from the other living areas for more formal affairs.

To separate the master suite from the public spaces, it’s accessed by an enclosed bridge. “The bridge also allowed for drainage to run underneath it from the top of the slope,” notes the homeowner. “It was a really practical design move.” The master bedroom boasts a fieldstone fireplace and salvaged trusses. A door leads to a Juliet balcony. Daugaard also designed several exterior spaces for friends and family to gather and take in the views. “In the winter if it’s not too cold, we’ll sit by the fire pit and enjoy the mountain,” notes the homeowner. “We’ve had 18 people stay at the house—it never feels too crowded, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

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