From Dark and Dated to Light, Bright and Modern in Montana
The designer and homeowner closely collaborate to redesign a remote Montana Ski Chalet
It takes a special relationship between a designer and homeowner to pull off a home renovation 1,000 miles away. This rings especially true when a pandemic prevents the designer from stepping foot in the house before and during the entire design process.
“We shared a mood board as we chose colors and materials for the house, and Jolene regularly dropped off samples at my primary home in San Francisco,” says the homeowner about the renovation process of her family’s second home in Big Sky, Montana. She and her family live just three blocks from her good friend and interior designer Jolene Lindner of JL Interior Design. The homeowner closed on the purchase of the home in the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club after only seeing it one time. The sale was finalized the same day the 2020 lockdown began, so Lindner was forced to work solely from house plans and through FaceTime meet-ups with the neighborhood’s property manager, who took on-site measurements for her.
The homeowner wanted to lean into the home’s original design as an understated mountain chalet, while modernizing and lightening all the rooms. “We wanted the house to feel like it was in the mountains and not something you’d see anywhere else,” she says. “We wanted it to look very different from our primary residence that is a modern city house with steel beams and a wall of steel windows.”
Lindner chose the homeowner’s favorite colors—earthy hues outside the windows overlooking the golf course and the Spanish Peaks mountain range—and created a working color palette. She painted the dark wood ceiling, including the main living room’s lofted ceiling, and walls with classic Benjamin Moore “White Dove,” a tried-and-true soft, warm white. She brought in shades of olive green, warm mustard brown and yellow-tan accented with black and white in rugs, furniture and accessories, leaning on local artisans to complete the work and recommend some readily available decorative accessories.
In a light remodel of the kitchen, she worked with Millworks ’58 to remove wooden cabinets with heavy moldings and replace them with clean-lined cabinets painted dark olive, contrasted with a custom metal hood over the range. Glass fronts on the upper cabinets, modernized lighting and a new Neolith countertop and backsplash complete the facelift. “I didn’t want the family to worry about stains or hot pots on the countertop,” Lindner explains,” so I chose Neolith, an engineered product that is extremely durable.”
With an eye to making the interior comfortable and easily maintainable for a family with young children, Lindner selected washable linen-cotton blend fabrics throughout the home. She treated an eye-catching houndstooth plaid fabric from Holland & Sherry with Teflon before up-holstering the wall behind a grouping of beds in the bunk room, both the designer’s and homeowner’s favorite room. She also chose gray outdoor fabric and lightweight, movable furniture on the upper deck for ease of everyday living. Despite only seeing the finished results on the first day of installation, Lindner kept in touch with the homeowner every step of the way to ensure the project’s success.
“It doesn’t matter the distance if the designer-client connection is strong,” Lindner says.