A Minnesota Family’s Permanent Big Sky Getaway
After years of vacations spent in the area, a family decided it was high time to build their dream ski-in, ski-out home
Back when Wendi Kelly’s love affair with Montana began, the Berlin Wall was coming down, the World Wide Web was brand new and the New Kids on the Block were actually kids. “It was 1989, and I just loved it from the first time I visited,” Kelly says. “The skiing was great, there wasn’t a ton of people, and it had a totally different vibe than Colorado.” Her fondness for Big Sky only grew with time, and she eventually married a skier who had an appreciation for the area that matched her own. “When I met my husband, I brought him out, and he immediately fell in love, too.”
Even after the Minnesota-based couple had two kids, the call of Big Sky remained strong, and after 15 years of winter vacations there, they decided it was time to purchase a more permanent place to hang their poles. “We bought a condo in 2009 in Moonlight Basin—it’s particularly beautiful and our favorite side of the mountain to ski on,” Kelly explains. “But before long, with growing kids, we were ready for more space.”
So the family began looking in earnest for a vacation getaway that offered plenty of square footage, as well as ski-in, ski-out access. While they considered a few private club communities in Big Sky, they ultimately decided to stay in Moonlight Basin when they found a six-bedroom, 5 1⁄2-bath home that fit their priorities, if not their aesthetic. “It was under construction when we purchased it, and many of the design elements had been selected. Luckily, they could still be changed,” says Kelly.
Enter Bozeman-based interior designer Susie Hoffmann of Envi Interior Design Studio. After admiring her work at the Moonlight Basin golf club, the Kellys decided to get in touch. “We really liked her eye,” says Wendi Kelly. “The scope of the project ended up becoming quite a bit larger than we had initially planned—all of the lighting, finishes and stains were a bit of a mess. We were in crisis mode, and Susie totally saved us.”
The first order of business? Updating the developer’s palette of green, orange and brown to a more timeless mix of neutrals with high-contrast white and black sprinkled in. “The home was rustic from an architectural standpoint, so we wanted to create a very clean interior,” says Hoffmann. “Because many of the wood tones in the living area were kind of green, we had to figure out how to fix that. We painted all the timbers and cabinets, changed out the countertops and installed different lighting.” Hoffmann’s transformation was appreciated far beyond the confines of the home. Says Kelly: “Susie ended up setting the trend for the whole community.”
Once the finishes were finalized, Hoffmann focused on layering in her signature blend of luxurious textiles. “The fabrics are really ‘mountain’ and ‘traditional’—wool, leather, tartan and plaid—but they’re used on very contemporary furnishings,” she says.
The designer also worked with her clients to select artwork specific to the home, including black-and-white photography, modern works and sculptural pieces. “The artwork is one of my very favorite things about this house,” says Kelly. “But really, everything is perfect. The décor is elegant and warm, and it’s us.”