A Family Lodge in Bozeman With Bohemian Style
Boho vibes combine with functional vacation home in this Montana retreat
Atop the soaring hills of Montana’s Yellowstone Club sits Mountain Mama. Though the name of this mighty abode may evoke images of country roads vis-a-vis songwriter John Denver, owner of Cashmere Interior and principal designer Charlene Petersen selected it to describe the house’s eclectic feeling. “I wanted a name that fit—something a little bit bohemian, a little bit hippie,” she laughs. But she also wanted to design a mountain house that could become a functional vacation home for a family.
“The house had to be functional and livable, a place you could put your feet up in,” she says. Much of the home was designed around family dynamics. The large bar includes a nearby play area “so the adults could still have an eyeball on the kids,” says Petersen, who herself was raising two young children while designing the house. “The design team was super sensitive to the functional needs of a family.”
While practical, Mountain Mama has other hidden charms. The home’s exterior belies the whimsical patterns and lively hues found within. “We weren’t afraid of using color,” Petersen says of the brilliant blues, cognac-leather browns and mustard yellows that weave their own thematic threads throughout the house.
The abode was the third of three homes she had designed for Yellowstone Club. “The first house had a dark and moody approach, and the second was light and airy,” she recalls. By the time she began planning the third house, “I wondered, ‘what if we just make a white house with pops of color and marry that against a fresh background?’”
“Charlene is never afraid to try something new,” says project architect Steve Gordon of Locati Architects, who worked with Petersen on Mountain Mama. “The home has a lot of clean lines and is more on the contemporary side but still has a lot of classic elements.”
The result is a classic lodge or ski chalet brimming with bohemian vibes. “I wanted color and a fresh take,” Petersen says, “but I didn’t want to totally depart from classic feelings of living in the mountains.” The home’s crisp white walls serve as backdrops for the play of colors and the designer’s profusion of textiles. Meanwhile, the wood accents and reclaimed timber tethers everything to the richness of Montana’s natural beauty.
In fact, many of the wooden pieces—including the kitchen cabinets—are made from reclaimed barn board. The material, Petersen explains, has a rich color that is both soft and warm with a natural patina. “I wanted the home to feel warm and inviting by bringing the outdoors in with the reclaimed barnwood and immense windows.” The living room’s wall of windows illuminates the space in natural light, creating a glowing thread stretching back to the entry that is designed to welcome in nature as chief houseguest.
The master bathroom likewise champions a unique juxtaposition of meticulous design with natural splendor. A modern version of a clawfoot tub is surrounded by windows, giving whoever’s relaxing in a warm bath (the vacationing parent, perhaps?) beautiful snowy views in winter. Meanwhile, the older kids’ room uses Native American motifs, complete with a bookshelf up-cycled from a canoe and a bathroom with moose-and-bird wallpaper.
For Petersen, a self-described avid textile collector, it was important to contrast her playful pieces with the serenity that accompanies lodge life. “Nature is spectacular on the mountain, and I wanted to mix everything together in a really fresh way,” she says. “There are threads of taxidermy throughout the house to give a quirky feel.”
Of course, certain rooms encourage an escape outside too. The mud/ski room was designed to entice the family to “jump on the mountain,” Petersen says. The vacationing family members might sit on the oversized leather ottoman to put on their skis as sunlight beams onto the floor’s hand-painted chocolate brown and saffron yellow concrete tiles. “The house is full of no-fuss luxury and positive energy,” she says. “I wanted the owners to feel like they were sitting in luxury, but that it was also comfortable.”