In Perfect Harmony
Opposites attract—rustic and refined, masculine and feminine—in a larger-than-life home on the shores of Montana’s Whitefish Lake
The home is called Tetelestai, and appropriately so. Of Greek origin, the word translates to “it is finished,” and according to the owner of this Montana residence, completing the 10,000-square-foot home was no small feat. But thanks to the superb synergy among its design team, the lakeside retreat is finished—and as spectacular as its mountain backdrop.
Key to the success of this project was the owners’ clear vision. After narrowing their list of potential architects to two firms, they asked the finalists to draft proposals. In the end, Lyndon Steinmetz of Kalispell, Montana-based Lyndon L. Steinmetz Design was the winner of the mini design competition—in part, says his client, because “he could complete our sentences. When taking on a project of this scope, it’s important that you’re communicating; that you have the same ideas.”
Set on the shores of Whitefish Lake, the homesite was “very desirable, but tight,” says Steinmetz. “It’s only about 100 feet wide, hemmed in on the north by mountains and by an existing house and pond on the sides.” Steinmetz also had to contend with a vertical constraint, as local building codes specify a 35-foot vertical limit. “ was looking for something partially timber framed,” says Steinmetz. “He wanted to use timbers and native materials while varying the roof pitches, much like you see in old mining buildings around here.”
To satisfy the homeowners’ desire for a home that appeared old beyond its years, Steinmetz selected stone of varying shapes and sizes to clad the walls. Then the search for reclaimed timbers began. But because of the home’s large scale, the right sizes just weren’t to be found. So Steinmetz turned to timber framer Sandy Koness of Centennial Timber Frames, who set about creating customized timbers for the project. Starting with new Douglas fir logs, she roughed up the edges, made marks with braces and bits, and even added and removed bolts and washers. To add an instant patina, she applied ferrous sulfate, which reacted with the wood to give the timbers a weathered gray tone.
When interior designer Hunter Dominick joined the collaboration, she worked with the homeowners to create refreshingly unexpected interiors that juxtapose rustic with refined, masculine with feminine. In fact, what started as a simple search for fabrics in Dominick’s Whitefish showroom evolved into the designer’s involvement in every aspect of the project. “[The homeowner] brought in photos of her former home in California so I could get a sense of their style and, like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words,” says Dominick.
Because the owners were virtually starting from scratch, Dominick had the luxury of working with a clean slate. Still, there were some definite must-haves. For one, the owners wanted to infuse the rustic home with some formality. That request is fulfilled beautifully in the great room, where a luxe leather sofa and gold-leafed side table face a towering stone fireplace flanked by oversized hickory chairs. In the dining room, chairs upholstered with a lush cinnamon-hued velvet seem perfectly at home next to a rustic window wall and rough-hewn ceiling beams.
The home’s predominantly gold-and-copper color palette, inspired by Italy’s sun-drenched landscapes, infuses each space with warmth, even in the cold of winter. To add visual interest, Dominick chose a layering of textures: from sparkling glass tile to embroidered silk fabric, smooth granite countertops to grasscloth-covered walls, there’s a surprise for the eye at every turn.
But surprises are what this home is all about. Straightforward architecture is paired with intricately detailed interiors. Masculine elements stand comfortably next to pieces with feminine flair. It’s a rustic-meets-refined point of view that, instead of coming off as contradictory, creates a home balanced in perfect harmony.