This Ridge-Top House Has Points of View
Gorgeous home design in Whitefish, Montana
Photos by Heidi A Long
When it comes to choosing the panorama they prefer from the vantage point of their new ridge-top house in Whitefish, John and Beth Repke are hard-pressed to pick a favorite. “We enjoy great sunrise views of Glacier National Park to the east, and great sunset views over the Salish Mountains to the west,” John says. “The house’s relationship to the site was important to us, so the first thing we did was bring in landscape architect Bruce Boody to study the terrain, views and path of the sun, and explore where the home should be positioned.”
Boody was part of a collaborative design team that included builder Tyler Frank of Malmquist Construction, designer Heidi Tate of Tate Interiors, and architect Rich Graves of Altius Design Group. “The vistas dictated how the house would be situated, and we wanted the front entry to be transparent so that when you walked in you could see all the way out to the view,” Graves explains. “The house is fairly narrow from front to back, so the ambient light enters from both sides.”
The Repkes’ vision for their new home encompassed its aesthetics, functionality and how its rooms would make them feel. “We have three grown children, so we wanted spaces to accommodate the whole family,” Beth says. “At the same time, John and I wanted to feel comfortable when it’s just the two of us here.”
The 5,000-square-foot structure’s two-and-a-half-story floor plan includes a walk-out lower level for guest bedrooms, an upper-level hobby room and office, and a main-floor living area and master suite.
A stone wall facing a private terrace retains daytime heat, making the space cozy even on chilly evenings.
The couple chose low-maintenance materials like stone, stucco and wood siding for the home’s exterior, and a roof accented with cold-rolled corrugated metal intended to rust naturally with exposure to the elements. For the interiors, they requested clean, modern finishes with a rustic feel, and the team complied with walls of plaster and stone, low-sightline Kolbe windows, minimal trim, and floors of hardwood and stained concrete.
To contrast with the sleek aluminum-clad wood entry doors from Montana Sash & Door, designer Heidi Tate added a traditional settee.
Tate worked with the Repkes to complement those finishes with tasteful, restrained furnishings and accessories. “During our initial conversations I learned that Beth tends a little more toward traditional design, while John wanted to push limits a little,” she says. “That’s always a good recipe for creating an interesting house.” In addition to balancing the couple’s differing tastes, Tate carefully orchestrated additional contrasts by blending new and old materials, warm and cool colors, and soft textures with hard surfaces.
Monolithic stones surround the hearth in the great room, where Tate paired zebra-print chairs and a streamlined sofa from LEE Industries with a soft Feizy rug; the chandelier is from Hinkley Lighting.
“Beth had furniture and artwork that she wanted to work into the design of the house, which helped keep it personal and comfortable,” Tate explains. Broad windows and vaulted ceilings add volume to the great room, where comfortable furniture and soft draperies help offset the weight of the monolithic stone slabs that surround the minimalist hearth.
A contemporary light fixture from Currey & Company illuminates the elegant dining room.
The kitchen features a large work island and custom cabinetry in soft white; glass tile backsplash accents and clear glass pendant lights add sparkle. The rustic-industrial Hinkley bar stools are from Arteriors.
Sparkling glass backsplashes contrast with stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, and a built-in banquette provides cozy seating in the breakfast nook. Neutral tones create a soothing palette in the master bedroom, where Tate covered a substantial iron bed with textured linens.
The abundant outdoor living spaces were sited as carefully as the home, with a shaded courtyard adjacent to the front entrance and a private patio just off the master bedroom. A deck connected to the kitchen allows easy access for entertaining and cooking on the grill, and large sliding-glass doors seamlessly extend the living room space to the adjoining deck.
In the master bedroom, Tate softened the Charleston Forge iron bed with textural linens, neutral colors and view-framing draperies.
“We love to sit in the front courtyard at the end of the day and watch the sunset,” Beth says. John adds, “Sometimes we sit in the back instead and watch the alpen glow, when the sunset lights up the mountains to the east.” With so many options, the couple can enjoy uninterrupted views of the vast Montana wilderness whenever—and wherever—they like.
A curved antique pew bench contrasts with the clean, modern lines of the stairway.
A niche wall for art pieces is one of the Repkes’ favorite features of the home.
HIS AND HERS
Interior designer Heidi Tate shares how she blended strong masculine features with softer, more feminine elements to create balanced spaces that accommodate this home’s varying functions:
“The foyer has beautiful glass-and-steel doors that are very transparent. We grounded the space with a traditional antique settee covered in soft fabric.”
“In the great room, we trimmed the fireplace with three large stones that add masculine flair without dominating the space as a traditional rock hearth would. Beth’s botanical prints add a delicate touch.”
“We lightened the kitchen’s hardscape of black counters and stainless-steel appliances with white cabinetry, a glass backsplash and a beaded light fixture.”
“The table’s gently curved legs and the soft, upholstered chairs contrast with the angular aesthetic of the overhead light fixture.”
“The substantial iron bed in the master bedroom is softened with neutral colors, plush textures and draperies that frame the views.”