Third Time's a Charm
A family finally lands the perfect lot at the Yellowstone Club to build their rustic but elegant home
Photography by William Abranowicz
On their very first visit in 2007, the homeowners—an always-on-the-go family with three teenaged daughters—were looking for a vacation home to unplug and unwind, a place where they could relax with family and close friends. They were captivated by the wide-open spaces of Montana’s Yellowstone Club, a 15,200-acre private residential community. They could picture themselves skiing in deep powder on undisturbed slopes in winter, golfing and fly-fishing in summer.
The family considered several options before finding their dream property, a sprawling lot with 270-degree views and the best ski-in/ski-out at the Yellowstone Club. “We went through three lots to find the perfect one,” the homeowner says. “The third one was a charm.”
The home is near the top of a 9,000-foot mountain and offers panoramic views of ruggedly handsome landscape.
The ideal home was already taking shape in their minds. “We wanted something contemporary but were not ready for a glass-and-steel house,” say the homeowners. They chose forward-thinking Bozeman, Montana-based JLF Architects to design their home. “They are a family of avid skiers and were smitten with the idea of capturing vistas of all the peaks,” says architect Paul Bertelli. “The site they finally chose has a truly breathtaking panorama.”
Bertelli works collaboratively with his clients during every step of the design process. “We have two or three rounds of discussing scope, scale and budget, then we start putting pieces of the puzzle together,” he says. Practical issues are decided at the beginning. How many bedrooms and where to locate the master? Where do you ski in? Where do you drive in? Which rooms will face the views?
A ski locker room provides ski-in/ski-out access to private powder. The silo-shaped space is clad in salvaged wood.
Construction of a house near the top of an 11,000-foot mountain in snow that was sometimes 10 feet deep “was challenging but, ultimately, very satisfying,” says Peter Belschwender, CEO of Bozeman-based On Site Management.
The result? An 8,500-square-foot, six-bedroom, seven-bath (plus three powder rooms) home, solidly constructed of Montana moss rock and reclaimed timbers, with big steel windows and doors that fold completely open to embrace the views. There are even large view-catching windows in the bathrooms.
Two-foot-thick Montana moss-rock walls give the home an Old World farmhouse feel. The curved black walnut dining table was custom made to mirror the curve of the dining room's glass wall.
Most striking, however, is the curved dining room, which opens onto an adjoining balcony that connects the kitchen balcony with the living room balcony. The curved roof connecting one building to the other is spread out in the shape of a fan.
One of many unique features of the home is a sculptural waterfall humidifier. The homeowners worked with WRJ in finding a collection of antiques and were concerned about bringing them to Montana’s dry climate. JLF Architects designed a water wall at the bottom of a staircase that accesses all of the home’s three levels and even humidifies the master bedroom on the top floor.
Recycled wood, used extensively throughout the home, has a color and patina created by nature.
For the interiors, the homeowners selected WRJ Interior Design, based in Jackson, Wyoming. “They were clear that they wanted interiors that didn’t compete with the views,” says Rush Jenkins, co-founder of WRJ. Jenkins and WRJ design director Nida Zgjiani proposed a quietly dramatic color palette—neutrals with touches of sage green and russet—that could essentially blur the line between inside and out.
- Interior Designer Rush Jenkins
An early 20th-century Syrian antique, the one-of-a-kind bureau is inlaid with mother-of-pearl and topped with white marble.
“They liked a rustic Western look but with a touch of the East Coast aesthetic,” Jenkins says. Also important: a good balance between elegant and unfussy, between comfortable and formal. Modern luxuries but with a cozy feel. “We like that the girls are doing puzzles in the dining room one day and we’re having a dinner party in that same room the next day,” the homeowner says.
Interior Designer Rush Jenkins worked in a lighter color palette and sourced gracious furnishings to create tranquility and a subtle elegance.
The homeowners like to say that their house “hangs out over the mountains.” This is certainly true. “We can sit out here on a mild day in March … the sun is warm and the views are magical,” they add. “It is almost like picnicking in the middle of the clouds.”
A rose-red headboard and hand-embroidered Turkish pillow add bold splashes of color to one of the bedrooms.
In another bedroom the silvery bedside bureau adds metallic panache.
Big windows above the freestanding tub in the master bathroom offer vast views; curtains closed for privacy.
We asked Rush Jenkins, co-founder of WRJ Interior Design in Jackson, Wyoming, for tips about incorporating both rustic and sophisticated elements into a mountain home.
MATERIALS First and foremost, it’s the selection of the materials. If we want sophisticated Mountain Modern, then select woods and stones in paler earth tones. Pick the greens and blues, the grays, tans, and lavenders … and accent with richer colors and gold, too. And have your finishes in those same hues. EARTH TONES Your fabric selections should lean toward natural——cashmeres, linens and a softy nubby throw or two, again using the same earth-toned palette. PILLOWS Look for fresh materials and how they’re woven together——this adds so much in creating a rustic-sophisticated interior. For example, there are some beautiful leathers woven within the fabric of pillows that I love. WALLPAPER When they’re made with natural materials like grass cloth, leather, linen or wool, you really get a rustic look that, at the same time, doesn’t lack one bit of stunning sophistication. CONTRAST Finally, having white, creamy walls against dark wood trim gives you not just that refined rustic look, but also the inviting warmth that comes along with it.