A beautiful collection of reclaimed materials provides the building blocks for a couple’s unique version of this modern Bozeman home with farmhouse accents
Photos by Gibeon Photography
Sharon Lohss has grown accustomed to dinner parties being paused momentarily by guests who can’t resist doing stemming or flagging maneuvers between courses on the climbing wall that fills the three-story stairwell of the Bozeman home she shares with her builder/husband Chris Lohss. An avid outdoorsman, he designed the recreational feature but conceded to his interior designer wife when it came to hue tones. “My condition about the wall was no bright neon for the holds, so Chris chose blue, silver and black in keeping with the color scheme,” Sharon says.
As big as all outdoors, the al fresco dining area includes a wood table and benches designed and crafted by homeowner/builder Chris Lohss. Seating from RH is upholstered with Kerry Joyce fabrics.
A quick glance around the main living areas and it’s obvious her selections—the vintage marine-blue sofa and Italian white leather chairs in the living room, for example—are part of a cohesive palette that includes the wall holds. The continuity extends into the kitchen, where crisp white kitchen cabinets are backed by a geometric black, white and gray backsplash, and in the master bedroom, where the tufted bed upholstered in white linen extends the color thread.
Living-room seating is provided by a tufted Kravet sofa and twin leather chairs from the Architect’s Wife in Bozeman.
What’s not so obvious in the couple’s personal interpretation of a contemporary farmhouse is how the mix of reclaimed wood on the ceiling, 19th-century brick salvaged from a Milwaukee creamery on the pizza oven wall, and old Chinese stone pavers in the entry all came to be under one roof. By way of an answer, Chris explains, “I love wood, brick and old stone, and I always buy materials in mass quantities. So I asked our architect to come up with ways to use them.”
—Architect Nate Heller
Handholds on the climbing wall are color matched to the décor.
By his own admission, the first time Nate Heller, principal architect for Studio H Design, visited the 2.5-acre property he was a tad overwhelmed by Chris’s collection yard of materials he wanted to include in the home. “Chris is a big collector, and the challenge became how to edit down this huge yard full of stuff,” Heller says. His solution was to take an additive approach that began with imagining a history for the former agricultural property. “Considering the farm background, there might have been a barn turned into a garage with a bedroom suite added above it, and so on,” he explains. Along the way he, Chris and Sharon would determine ways to integrate the mélange of materials into the evolving narrative.
The Cowton & Tout fabric on Green Seam Designs dining chairs perfectly complements the Waterworks backsplash.
For the homeowners the story began several years prior when after residing on the north and heavily wooded side of town they fell for a sun-filled south-side lot with views to Mount Ellis. “Our other house was more rustic, and I wanted something clean and open—and that’s where the idea for this home started,” Sharon explains. But Chris had his own version: “I liked the idea of reusing materials from old buildings like they do in Europe and taking a more rustic approach,” he adds. In the spirit of compromise, things like his request for mahogany trim on the door and windows were countered with her desire for painted cabinets in the kitchen.
The master bedroom includes a Green Seam Designs bed upholstered in Holly Hunt white linen; a Mongolian sheepskin by Mike Ragan/RAGS covers a Le Corbusier frame from DWR.
Meanwhile, Heller sheathed what might have been a barn with reclaimed timbers from an Oakland naval base and wrapped the upper level in cypress. The cypress repeats on the more contemporary projections, and the recycled metal walls that enclose the staircase create a structure reminiscent of a silo. Heller also contributed a chapter in the form of midcentury elements. “Flat roofs and high linear windows like those in the master bath are evident in a lot of Montana’s midcentury architecture,” he explains.
Calcutta Vagli marble slabs by Slabworks of Montana top mahogany cabinets by Hennessy Woodworks in the master bathroom.
The addition of solar panels on the standing-seam metal roof just made sense in the sunny locale, and while the house features radiant heat and the latest in LED lighting, Heller insists the most environmental feature is the home itself. “Ninety percent of this house is made from recycled and upcycled materials,” the architect says. “The biggest green credit goes to Chris and his amazing collections.”
Reclaimed limestone pavers and salvaged brick are among the materials architect Nate Heller incorporated into the design of this new structure. The Kolbe windows are from Montana Sash & Door.
Faced with an abundance of disparate materials, architect Nate Heller developed a system for incorporating reclaimed wood and old stone into a new design that enhanced the architecture:
DETERMINE THE SPECIFIC FUNCTION Brick and cypress were used exclusively to define the more contemporary parts of the structure’s exterior. “The really rustic wood was isolated to the barn,” Heller says. MIX IT UP In the entry, steps formed with ancient pavers and brick walls are modulated by warm wood on the ceiling and floor. HOW DOES IT FEEL? In the Lohss’ home, considerable thought given to the master suite resulted in the use of different stones for their textural nature rather than more wood.