Breaking the Mold
BEFORE: Just what you expected; AFTER: Daring surprises you'll love
Designer Kath Costanti of YS Squared reveals just how she changed a predictable mountain home in Montana’s Yellowstone Club into a sleek, sexy—and downright cozy—space.
Mountain Living: The “before” pictures of this home give new meaning to the term “log cabin.” It’s hard to believe that this house is the same space.
Kath Costanti: It was built in the early days of the Yellowstone Club, before the reclaimed-wood look became really popular, and it’s just filled with these 30-inch logs. They were a significant part of the architecture, and they couldn’t be changed.
ML: So you embraced them.
KC: Right. We painted the walls and ceiling white, and we darkened the wood floors, so the only “woody” elements left were the mega-logs and the floors. The white gave the house a whole new persona, and the logs became these sculptural pieces instead of overwhelming the space.
ML: And then there’s the branch-turned-railing on the stairs.
KC: I wanted to have it lacquered, but we couldn’t remove it, so we painted it with shiny white enamel. There’s no other shiny white wood in the house, so that railing has its own special quality. I love how it turned out.
ML: Whites make some homeowners nervous because of the myth that they all have to match. What do you say?
KC: You would go insane trying to match whites, especially when you’re working in a place where the view outside is snowy. Instead, you should work to blend the whites. In the master bedroom, for example, the custom wool rug blends several shades of white, the sofa is upholstered in an off-white fabric and the walls are painted another shade of white. It’s natural for whites to be different shades.
ML: Once you created this clean white palette, what did you do?
KC: The great room is a huge space, so we divided it up according to how the homeowners were going to use it. Creating smaller spaces within a larger room makes it feel much more intimate. Rugs help define spaces, too. I found the rug we put in the living room during a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. It’s actually two rugs that fit together, which was an incredible find. They’re creamy white with slate gray and a touch of red and blue. We topped them with this huge, gray flannel sectional that faces the windows.
ML: Not a bad view, we’re guessing.
KC: The house sits on a perch overlooking the club, so the view is fabulous. We didn’t want to impede it at all, so we skipped window treatments. We fitted the windows with charcoal-colored solar shades that diffuse the light when the glare from the snow and sun gets too strong.
ML: Tell us about that sexy dining area.
KC: The dining table is 14 feet long and made from walnut. It was a real feat to find walnut planks that long. Over it, we hung a beautiful Ochre crystal chandelier, and then put those tall custom host chairs at each end. We needed the bulk to make the scale just right.
ML: So sparkly chandeliers and crisp white walls can reflect a sense of place in the high country?
KC: From the start, the house had the potential to be clean and sleek and still keep the integrity of the logs, which feel so Western. We talked about this balance a lot. We have these massive logs that are such a spectacle, a chandelier from New York City, and a rustic but polished dining table surrounded by contemporary chairs. It’s the combination that makes it feel fresh and still rooted in Montana. It’s like New York City slid in here, had a good time, and left.
SHOP LIKE A PRO
Designer Kath Costanti shares her go-to spots for inspiration and can’t-miss finds.
1stdibs.com: “It’s the world at your fingertips. If you find a piece you like, the site tells you where it came from. I visit almost daily, either to buy something or for inspiration.”
Houzz.com: “I like to breeze through this site. It’s easy to use, and you can get furniture, accessory and room ideas. If I’m looking for lighting, I’ll often search here first.”
Denver and San Francisco Design Centers: “You can hop on their websites and go to your favorite showrooms to see what’s new, or stop by the centers and wander around. You once had to take serious credentials to design centers. It was like flying abroad! But today, anyone can go and check them out.”
Horchow.com: “Horchow is an online catalog of home furnishings from a wide range of sources. I like it because for many pieces, the site lists the manufacturer, so I can go to that vendor’s website to learn more. And if I want a piece from a vendor but can’t get it quickly from my own sources, Horchow might have it in stock. It gives my clients the immediate gratification they want.”
INTERIOR DESIGN Kath Costanti, YS Squared, Gallatin Gateway, MT, 406-763-4233, ys2inc.com INTERIOR PAINTING & STAINING Chad Airhart, Airhart Brothers Painting, Bozeman, MT, 406-587-0832 CUSTOM A/V CABINETS & INDUSTRIAL FLOOR LAMP IN LIVING ROOM Russ Fry Design, Bozeman, MT, 406-582-8085, russfry.com ARTWORK “Opulence” by Brittany Watkins, Montana State University Art, Bozeman, MT CLIENT’S COLLECTION In living room: coffee table, side table between swivel chairs, antique pine buffet, sculpture on table, Hermes pillow and blanket, hide-and-horn bench between settees; coffee table in master bedroom LIVING ROOM SECTIONAL USA Rags, Commerce, CA, usarags.com TUXEDO SETTEES USA Rags, Commerce, CA, usarags.com CHANDELIER Belzebu, Y Lighting, ylighting.com CUSTOM PILLOWS Fabric, Boussac/Ne Dess Pas Murs Blanc 1 SWIVEL CHAIRS Thayer Coggin, thayercoggin.com; upholstered in fabric by Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com AREA RUG Vintage Turkish hand-pounded felt rug POWDER ROOM PENNY TILE Statements Tile, Seattle, WA, statementstile.com SCONCES Urban Archaeology, urbanarchaeology.com DINING ROOM TABLE Custom walnut plank dining table, Scott Bartelt, Big Timber, MT, 406-930-1360 DINING CHAIRS Design Within Reach, dwr.com CHANDELIER Ochre, ochre.net HOST CHAIRS Artistic Frame, artisticframe.com; upholstered in Place Textiles, placetextiles.com KITCHEN CHANDELIER Tango, tangolighting.com DINING TABLE Skylandis Furniture, skylandisfurniture.com; custom top by Silestone, silestoneusa.com DINING CHAIRS Design Within Reach, dwr.com AREA RUG RUNNER Manufactured by Burak Aydogan, knotisse.com MASTER BEDROOM AREA RUG Manufactured by Burak Aydogan, knotisse.com MASTER BED Design Within Reach, dwr.com MIRRORED BEDSIDE CHESTS Bungalow 5, bungalow5.com BEDDING Area, areahome.com STAIRWAY CHANDELIER Belzebu, Y Lighting, ylighting.com