A Montana home brings the outdoors in.
By Maureen Littlejohn Photos by Heidi Long
From their front windows, the Carters can watch their three horses in the horse pasture. The home’s exterior masonry is full-thickness rock from Bill’s quarry. Cedar siding with a hand-hewn look complements the home’s welcoming, rustic appearance.
When Bill Carter arrived in Whitefish, Montana, in 1990, he planned to work as a ski instructor for six months, then head to New York to start a career in investment banking. Instead, the recent college grad from Port Townsend, Washington, fell in love with the outdoor lifestyle of the Glacier National Park region and put down roots. He and his wife, Cyndee, raised their three children to appreciate the natural beauty around them. “This is a recreational paradise, with skiing, boating and golfing just a few miles from our house,” says Bill, who owns Montana Rockworks, the Northwest’s largest supplier of architectural and landscape stone.
The Carters decided to bring some of the outdoors inside when they started building their home near Whitefish Mountain in the fall of 2005. The 5,700-square-foot house is lined with rock from Bill’s quarries, as well as majestic pine posts and beams. Located on 32 acres, the home faces a pasture for the family’s three horses and features five bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a garage, a basement and a wood-burning furnace. One of Bill’s specifications for the house was to have lots of windows. “There are incredible views from every room,” he says. “It’s a special house that we designed to meet our lifestyle. We are a few miles from everything, including the airport, and yet, it feels remote.” Entertaining family and friends is a priority for the Carters. “Because of the open design, it’s an unbelievable party house. We’ll have 30 people over, and it feels like nothing,” he adds. A game room with a bar, home theatre and open kitchen make the home perfect for gatherings, whether it’s to watch a sporting event on the large screen or celebrate a special occasion. “This house is a comfortable place for our children to bring their friends to. I’ve fed a lot of kids over the years,” laughs Bill. Attention to Detail
Designed by architect Lyndon Steinmetz and built by Kurt Crider of Construction Services Inc., the house took a team of five people one year to complete. “Bill chose to use thin stone veneer in a number of places as we were building,” notes the builder. The front hallway, the wall behind the staircase and the main-level bathroom all feature veneer from Montana Rockworks. “Veneer is really easy to work with and doesn’t require any structural reinforcement,” he adds.
A warm, inviting place to unwrap presents, the home’s great room features 26-foot-high ceilings and structural pine beams sourced in Wyoming. A wood-burning fireplace is the room’s central focus.
The central spiral staircase, made by the builder, is one of the home’s showpieces. Using pine from Wyoming, he cut the 24-inch diameter logs in half, giving each step a 12-inch tread. “It had to be cut and stacked just so. The whole thing required a lot of grinding and sanding,” he says. A welder on his team made the handrail on-site, cutting pieces of metal meticulously to shadow the stairs’ curve. Reclaimed wood is used throughout the home, including the game room. The builder discovered an old barn and used the wood in the ceiling as well as the bar countertop. “It’s all fitted and sanded smooth, and a layer of resin epoxy gives it a hard, clear finish,” says Bill. In the living room, an argillite fireplace — comprising one solid piece of rock that was cleaved in two pieces as the hearthstone and mantel — soars to the apex of the 26-foot ceiling. Pine and fir 5- to 7-inch-wide flooring planks reclaimed from a pig farm on one of Bill’s quarries enhance the room’s warmth. Sitting by the hearth, surveying the rock-solid fruits of his labor, Bill knows he made the right choice to stick around 20 years ago. Every inch of this abode reflects the passion he feels for the region. “All the materials we used came together so well. I love living here,” he says simply.