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A Dream Home in Montana Built for Rustic Relaxation

After vacationing in Montana for years and commuting to the region from other states, a couple finally builds a place to call home.

Written by Stacy Durr Albert
Photography by Karl Neumann
After years of forging great memories with family and friends in Big Sky Country, Wendy and Keith Gordon were ready to create a Montana home of their own. The couple had always enjoyed visiting the majestic area, inherently drawn to both the serenity and the ruggedness of the mountains. They were particularly fond of Bozeman, a city they had regularly passed through on their journeys.
“Keith and Wendy were attracted to the idea of having some open space while continuing to be a part of a community,” explains architect Andrew Brechbuhler of Brechbuhler Architects PLLC in Bozeman. “They had built homes in the south and had recently purchased and remodeled a home in California. Now they wanted a place that gave them the ease of California living mixed with the elbow room afforded by living in Montana.”
Craving space and privacy, the Gordons found their dream setting in the form of a pristine double lot located in Black Bull, an exclusive private golf community set in the heart of the Gallatin Valley. “We were drawn to that lot because of its clear, unfettered view of the Bridgers,” explains Wendy, referring to the majestic mountain range that boasts six peaks over 9,000 feet. “Being situated where we are ensures that we won’t have anyone building in our back yard, giving us more of a family-getaway feeling.” 
Finding two lots together in a cul-de-sac enabled the Gordons to devise a larger footprint for their dream home, including a separate “casita” for long-term guests. The choice to go with a timber-framed design was simple — no matter how many styles they toyed around with, the couple kept coming back to the idea of combining an open plan with superb craftsmanship.
“We always knew we wanted life centered around an open area that would be large enough for our friends and family to be there with us, yet comfortable for Keith and I to have our own space, too,” shares Wendy. “We wanted a contemporary design to suit our tastes, but one that was rustic enough to make every space have an earthy warmth to encourage relaxation. Real craftsmanship was also key.”
The idyllic setting they found also warranted a seamless transition between outdoors and in, and this played a prime role in the home’s overall design. The couple worked carefully with Andrew to come up with a floor plan that met all of their needs.
“The design centered around the double-height great room,” explains Andrew. “Since this is the main space for entertaining and relaxing with family, it needed to extend to the outdoor spaces seamlessly. A larger footprint allowed for expansive outdoor living and enabled us to properly capture the view to the Bridger Mountain Range. We also carefully oriented the home to maximize privacy.”
The result of this meticulous planning is a 5,700-square-foot timber home that marries form and function, while showcasing the beauty of traditional wood craftsmanship within a contemporary clean-line design. Reclaimed timbers from a local supplier make a sophisticated statement.
“All of the fir timbers in the home are structural, and they are “as is,” meaning they have the natural patina they acquired over the many years that they were in service,” explains Andrew.

With its 12-by-12 vertical timbers and 8-by-16-inch beams, the reclaimed timber frame imparts a sense of timeless character to the modern home. The old beams contrast nicely with new fir ceilings and alder trim, as well as with the distinctive fir floor design that is circle-sawn and finished with a knockdown sand technique to give it a rustic-refined appearance.
“The beam work is extraordinarily beautiful, which is why we opted for white light fixtures,” says Teresa Kessler of TK Design Studio of Bozeman, who served as the project’s interior designer. “This not only adds a lift of contrast and brightness, but also attracts your eye upward to enjoy the craftsmanship and beauty of the beam work.”
Built by Dovetail Construction of Bozeman, the entire home is a true work of art, showcasing fine craftsmanship while capturing majestic views. “The team were builders extraordinaire,” gushes Wendy. “They are fully invested in their projects and take the quality of their work very personally, as they would in building a home for themselves.”
The high quality of the craftsmanship is especially evident in the two-story great room — the hub of the home — and the rest of the design radiates from there. “As the main space for entertaining and relaxing with family, it needed to extend to the outdoor spaces, thus the need for the large lift-and-slide doors that open on to the back patio,” explains Andrew.
Inside, a serene, neutral color scheme defines the space. “We wanted to make sure that the palette was neutral enough to let views of the Bridger Range captivate when in the space,” says Teresa.
Artistic touches abound, as both of the homeowners are artists in their own right. “Comfort, with a bit of artistic eclecticism, were definitely drivers in this project,” shares Teresa.
Textile art, sculptures, wood pieces and custom lighting fixtures are just a few of the owners’ creations that lend a splash of vibrancy and personalization to the home. Several unique log lighting fixtures, crafted by Keith, reveal his passion for woodworking. Not only does the new home afford ample space for showcasing custom pieces, it also incorporates a spacious 1,200-square-foot wood shop on the lower level.
“Keith’s passion for craftsmanship and woodworking requires space,” says Wendy with a laugh. “His new wood shop is dreamy — and his honey-do list is long!”
With a finely crafted home and views that leave people speechless, it’s unlikely that Keith will run out of projects or design inspiration anytime soon. But even if his to-do list doesn’t get any shorter, he has a glorious new home that’s sure to make him proud for many years to come.

Home Details

Square footage: 5,700
Architect: Brechbuhler Architects PLLC

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