1,750-Square-Foot Cabin

A mix of rustic and modern materials help a Montana guest house feel like it's living large

The owners of this Montana cabin may well have decided to name the place Camp Run-a-Muck as a playful reference to a 1960s sitcom about a summer camp where everything that could go wrong did. But there’s nothing at all chaotic about the versatile, beautiful living solutions achieved in this cabin’s compact floor plan.

“The whole project started with our clients’ vision of creating a structure that looked like they’d found and restored an old Forest Service cabin on the property,” says project architect Greg Matthews, of Bozeman-based Pearson Design Group. “We expanded upon that concept by creating a storyline that involved repurposing the remnants of an old stone cabin,” he adds. “And then,” notes Larry Pearson, the firm’s founding principal, “we created the effect of having restored that imaginary remnant by replacing walls that had collapsed with steel-framed glass, for a fusion of contemporary and historical.”

A simple palette of rustic and modern materials enhances the feeling of spaciousness inside the small cabin. Local Harlowton stone walls are a traditional—and ruggedly attractive—choice for a mountain retreat, while cement floors and steel fireplace doors introduce a sleek industrial vibe. Reclaimed white oak was selected as another primary interior material. Planed and sanded to a uniform toast-like finish, it was used for the ceilings and kitchen cabinetry, and also installed horizontally to panel the walls and doors of the main hallway. 


Above the dining table, a Cumulus chandelier of woven off-white fabric on a satin aluminum frame, designed by Ted Abramczyk and available exclusively at Ralph Pucci, adds an ethereal complement to the surrounding wood, stone and glass.


Glass pendants from Lindsey Adelman Studio illuminate a kitchen island made from reclaimed oak. 


Flanked by steel doors, the wood-burning fireplace is surrounded by Montana moss rock in a tight dry-stack pattern.


A modern chandelier above the living area subtly echoes the surrounding natural materials with scrolls of wood veneer encased between its lighting element and glass bottom. On the stone wall overlooking the dining area is a scrap-steel moose head sculpture the owners moved here from their old townhome. 


The guest bathroom’s ceiling is covered with a “log cloud” composed of random-length sections cut from fallen lodgepole pines on the property, into which are recessed eight LED lights. Wood-grained porcelain tiles, oak cabinets, a steel countertop and antique-style brass faucets enhance the rustic-meets-modern aesthetic.


A custom chandelier composed of coarse fibers adds a soft, wild touch to the master bedroom’s clean lines.


Viewed from across its adjacent meadow, the cabin tucks cozily into a stand of trees and a nearby hillside. 

The team behind this 1,750-square-foot cabin shares tips for living large regardless of your own home’s size or style here: Making the Most of Minimal Space


ARCHITECTURE Greg Matthews, Pearson Design Group INTERIOR DESIGN Rain Houser, Pearson Design Group CONSTRUCTION Highline Partners

Categories: Cabins