This Big Sky Home is the Opposite of Rustic
The owners of this slopeside Montana home had no interest in building a traditional rustic lodge
Photos by Gibeon Photography
"I like it really simple.” That’s the guiding philosophy voiced by the owner of this spare and elegant slopeside home in Big Sky, Montana. She and her husband were attracted to the Yellowstone Club location because it offered their family just the sort of classic high-country skiing, fishing and hiking adventures they loved, but they had no interest in building a traditional rustic lodge.
With a steadfast commitment to modern design, they called on architect Corey Kelly and interior designer Eleana Montoya, of Bozeman-based Locati Architects & Interiors, to help create something new and different. “I’ve always kind of been somebody who doesn’t like to do it how everybody else does it,” the homeowner admits. And Kelly was happy to oblige. “We simplified it quite a bit from our typical architecture,” he says. With a series of single-pitch sloping roofs and broad expanses of steel-framed windows, the house’s contemporary style is striking among its neighbors, with nary a timber beam or rough-hewn chimney in sight. “It’s very clean,” says Kelly. “We tried to minimize all that typical detailing.”
The glass entryway frames a Lone Peak view, and a projecting roof provides a welcoming shelter.
The couple and their three teenage kids, plus assorted friends and family, add plenty of life to the bright, open spaces. “We like to have a lot of people around all the time,” the homeowner explains. “My husband’s family, when everybody is together, is 16 people, so we like to be able to sleep 16.” Kelly maximized the home’s potential for hosting the whole crowd. “It’s not laid out as your typical main house,” he says. “It’s definitely a ski house.” Separate boys’ and girls’ bunk rooms join a guest room and bar/game room on the lower level, granting a little extra privacy to the grown-up master and junior master suites above, with shared public spaces and an additional master bedroom in between.
The entire home is oriented toward a spectacular view of Lone Peak. “The windows were really important,” the homeowner explains. “We went overboard a little bit, but that’s kind of what makes the house.” Montoya agrees. “It’s perfect as a mountain house,” she says. “It does a phenomenal job of letting you enjoy the scenery from inside a warm cozy space.”
The entry's concrete walls provide a backdrop for a table by Brandner Design.
Along with walls of glass, the designers and builders deployed steel and concrete with gorgeous precision. “I have always wanted to have some concrete in a house,” the homeowner admits.
“And not concrete that made it look like it was wood. I wanted concrete that looks like concrete.” They opted for concrete floors in the main living spaces, stained to a deep shade of coffee, and placed broad, smooth concrete panels on the walls.
“I think it’s a combination of ultra-modern but not too modern,” Montoya says. “They do like the clean lines of the industrial architecture, but still want it to be comfortable.” And that balance between aesthetics and comfort wasn’t always so easy to achieve. “It was kind of a push-pull with my husband,” the homeowner recalls. “We had to look at a lot of things that satisfy my desire for clean lines and his desire for extreme comfort.” In the end, the interiors they created are subtle and sophisticated, with furnishings that add softness by incorporating natural materials like wool, leather and cashmere.
Bold artwork and light fixtures add flashes of personality. “I like to have one thing in a lot of the rooms that’s a little quirky—surprising or different—that doesn’t go along with the rest of the pieces,” the homeowner explains. “The lights and the art make the rooms interesting.” For her part, Montoya relished the creative freedom to make recommendations that were sometimes a little wild. “They don’t want what everybody else has,” she says. And maybe that’s the definition of modern.
The homeowners wanted a sleek white kitchen with plenty of seating. The stools are by Mark Albrecht Studio.
Roche Bobois Urban sofas and Hudson chairs from Joseph Jeup combine with Frank Gehry cardboard Wiggle Stools in the great room. The steel-framed windows are by Grabill.
The fireplace is flanked by a Brandner Design custom steel bar on one side and Leda and the Swan (after Leonardo da Vinci), by Vik Muniz, on the other.
Spiny LZF pendant lamps illuminate the stairwell, with metal-and-leather chairs from Ochre surrounding a custom cast-bronze-and-oak table by Brandner Design.
A series of Water Towers, by Irene Mamiye, hangs in the entry hall.
The guest room’s poplar-clad accent wall plays nicely with a loopy wood pendant lamp by LZF. The bedding is from Urbaine Home.
The master bedroom features an Artitalia Group bed, matched with a Mark Albrecht Studio bench.
The junior master bedroom has a leather headboard, steel-and-walnut bedside tables and hand-blown glass pendant lighting.
A warm house is a welcoming refuge on a frosty mountain day. So, what’s the home design equivalent of a mug of hot cocoa? Montana interior designer Eleana Montoya shares some tips on creating blissfully cozy rooms:
- Cast a glow: “Use a variety of light sources—lamps (both floor and table), decorative lighting (including chandeliers and pendants) and task lighting that can be dimmed. Pay attention to the warmer tones of light that are available in the marketplace.”
- Choose a soft touch: “Opt for cozy fabrics like lamb’s wool, cashmere, chenille, washed velvet and wool.”
- Add a layer: “Take those cozy materials and try putting them in various layers around the room, from rugs to pillows and draperies.”
- Play with color: “You can use warmer painted hues, but also keep in mind that warm-colored materials can often achieve the same effect even when you’re using a cooler color palette in the architectural finishes.”
- Express yourself: “Try adding books, art and accessories that complement your room’s color palette and make the space more personal. Always keep proper placement in mind, so you don’t clutter up the space.”