A Modern Chalet Home With A Seamless Blend Of Rustic And Refined Elements
Nearly every room has a mountain view in this modern chalet atop a ridge in Big Sky’s Yellowstone Club
After vacationing for nearly 20 years at their two bedroom condo in the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, a Philadelphia-based couple with four grown children finally decided to build on the nearby five-acre lot they had purchased years earlier.
While they were not ready to build back then, they couldn’t resist the lot’s many desirable attributes, which include a field of wildflowers, pine trees galore and 280-degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges. “It’s a spectacular setting, and we feel very blessed,” the wife says. “We feel like we’re its stewards, and we owe it to the world to share it.”
A seamless blend of rustic and refined elements, the home they finally built has heavy Montana moss stone walls and reclaimed timber siding, a material palette that flows into the interior. “It’s on this ridge with wind and exposure to the sun, so it needs to feel as strong as the formation that it sits on,” says lead architect Larry Pearson, who collaborated closely with project architect Patrick Johanson on the project.
The result is just one of several designs that Pearson created for the site over the years. Unlike the previous iterations, it features large metal-framed windows that highlight the majestic vistas, capture natural daylight and help to blur the line between inside and out—a result of developments in window and glass technologies. “The time associated with design iterations allowed us to give them not just great views but spectacular ones,” Pearson says, pointing to the way the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling corner windows perfectly frame a view of Lone Mountain.
Glass doors lead from the dining room to a terrace located atop the lower-level bunk rooms, an ingenious solution to create a large outdoor gathering area on the sloped site. It’s one of several distinct outdoor areas, which include a covered porch with a skylight and a stone fireplace and patios off the guest suites. “We worked very hard to create a succession of events between inside and outside,” Pearson says.
The architects also made it a priority to create a mix of interior spaces, some larger, others more intimate. A three sided stone fireplace, for example, ensures that the family and dining areas feel more cozy than cavernous. “Moods change,” Pearson says. “One day, you might want to watch a storm come through the valley. Other times, you want to sit by the fire and feel grounded and protected.”
Interior designer Barbara Eberlein likewise strove to foster that sense of warmth and comfort in the chalet. Deferring to the colors outside, she rendered the interior in a pleasing rhythm of neutral hues punctuated by pops of color, pattern and texture.
It’s a far cry from the owners’ more refined primary residence yet reflective of their Montana lifestyle. “It’s interesting to watch someone break down their own aesthetic boundaries,” Eberlein says. “As a designer, it’s important to help them grow into themselves and into things that are fresh, new and more relevant.”
To that end, she incorporated pieces that perfectly walk the line between rusticity and sophistication. In the dining room, for example, gold-tipped crystal antler chandeliers softly illuminate a table with a tree trunk pedestal base. And a brass chandelier with a whimsical branch-like shape calls attention to the heavy wood-beamed ceilings in the primary bedroom. “We found things that reflected the character of the area that were special in and of themselves,” Eberlein says, crediting the many local craftspeople she employed. “We wanted everything to be harmonious but distinctive, and that’s a tricky balance.”
In 2020 the owners enjoyed their first Christmas as a family in the home. Since then, they have hosted big events, such as their son’s recent engagement party, where 100 guests danced to country music performed by a local musician. “It’s everything we had hoped, and we were so excited,” the wife says about their new residence. “This was a dream come true.”
LIFE IN MONTANA
The owners of this modern chalet have been visiting Big Sky for decades, and they say there’s nothing quite like it. Here are a few of the things that most enchant them about the so-called Treasure State.
NATURAL SPLENDOR Montana is far more rugged and remote than other Western states, the wife says, noting that they have spied elk, moose and bear traIpsing through their property. Not to mention a paw print left by a disturbingly large mountain lion. YEAR-ROUND RECREATION In addition, the area’s many recreational opportunities, and two beautiful seasons, winter and summer, which include fly-fishing, golf, hiking and snow skiing, means they can spend up to six months of the year enjoying the outdoors. “Living in Montana keeps you young and excited about life and all the possibilities,” the wife says. “The people here are super-fit from just doing what they love.” ROARING FIRES The owners often host gatherings around a fire pit on the outdoor terrace. Even when it’s just the two of them, the husband builds a fire every single night, often dining fireside or curling up next to the stone fireplace in the primary bedroom. “Building a fire is so wonderful here,” the wife says. “The wood is so dry and crackly that it just explodes.” THE YELLOWSTONE CLUB The owners bought a condo in the main lodge years ago and now enjoy their dream home in the community. While the Yellowstone Club offers amenities galore, they most appreciate the people who live there. “Everybody is down-to-earth and family-friendly,” the wife says. “We have so many friends there.”
ARCHITECTURE Pearson Design Group
INTERIOR DESIGN Eberlein Design Consultants Ltd.
CONSTRUCTION OSM Construction
PHOTOS Audrey Hall