Reclaimed Refinement

A Montana ski lodge is a study in understated elegance

There’s a lot to love about a traditional ski lodge, but the rough-and-rustic, heavy-timbered approach isn’t everyone’s cup of cocoa. This Montana home was semi-finished in just such a traditional style when it was purchased by an East Coast couple who recognized its potential. The ski-in/ski-out Yellowstone Club residence, designed by Bozeman-based Locati Architects, featured reclaimed Douglas fir beams, a towering stone living room hearth—and not much else. 

The owners had admired the fresh modernity of Mountain Living’s 2011 Home of the Year, so they decided to call on the same team of talented design professionals to take the Western-style elements of this home in a different, more restrained and contemporary direction.

Interior designer Lisa Kanning, of Lisa Kanning Interior Design, and builder Rob McRae, of Big Sky’s Highline Partners, teamed up for the challenge. Together, they developed a plan emphasizing sleek, clean lines and soft neutral colors grounded by rich textural variations. 

True to mountain form, wood plays a starring, albeit uncommonly sophisticated, role in the home. The reclaimed timbers McRae chose for the new doors, baseboards and trim were particularly rough, with bolt holes and scratches. “But we sanded them very smooth and treated them in a much more refined manner to create a cleaner look that still references the older reclaimed materials in the house,” he explains. For the dining area, Michael McGee, of Bozeman’s Integrity Builders, created a live-edge reclaimed walnut dining table with boldly contrasting steel inlays and butterfly joints. 

Admitting that “the original orangey-brown beams were not my favorite,” Kanning tempered them by establishing a subdued color palette. “Grays and taupes really warm the space up in a different direction,” she explains. The raw walls—framed, but not drywalled when the project began—were given a warm gray shade of Venetian plaster, and taupe-and-white-grained fumed-oak floors continue the muted theme. 

The tall living room space features a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace original to the home. The designers removed a pre-existing wooden mantelpiece to create a cleaner and more contemporary profile, and placed a lounge chair and sofas around a cocktail table designed by Kanning and cleverly crafted by Michael McGee from small cubes of the same walnut used for the dining table. The tawny hues of the custom brindle-cowhide rug tie all the room’s colors together. 

Upstairs, Kanning envisioned the loft as a “cool hang-out area,” so she furnished it with a comfy sectional and a playful gym mat-inspired coffee table perfect for upraised feet at the end of a day on the slopes. The opposite wall serves as a study, with a reclaimed live-edge slab of white ash for a desk and curvy leather chairs that swivel. 

The master bedroom’s rugged accent wall is clad in linear pieces of Frontier stone, native to Montana and often used as flagstones. “It’s in keeping with the palette of the living room fireplace but updated by the more modern stacked-stone shapes,” Kanning explains. Glass shelves built into steel-framed recesses introduce a “stark, clean element into the stone,” she adds. 

The incredible master bath is sheer design drama. As Kanning remembers, “the alcove just called out for a tub.” She answered that call with a sculptural matte-white Kohler tub placed atop soft gray porcelain tile floors and surrounded by a pale faux-wood-grain wall covering. Gentle illumination comes from Christopher Pullman’s nature-inspired candelabra, embellished with drops of raw-edged crystals. It’s no surprise that in this quietly elegant home, an unexpected detail turns out to be a jewel. 


For walls in heavy use areas—a ski room, kids’ bath, bunk or laundry room—designer Lisa Kanning recommends applying vinyl wall coverings replicating grasscloth, leather or stone as a cost-effective and wear-resistant way to add an extra layer of interest to an otherwise utilitarian space. 

“Initially we thought we would add some bright pops of color to the rooms, but in the end we decided the textures could stand on their own,” Kanning explains. Smooth and pebbled leathers, suedes, hair-on hides, shearlings, Melton wool, embroidered fabrics, silk, chenille, velvet and textured vinyls are just some of the tactile materials she introduced along the way. 

“One idea for achieving a sophisticated mountain interior that’s also family-friendly is to use outdoor upholstery fabrics on indoor furniture,” Kanning suggests. There are a wide variety of plush velvets and textured chenilles available that are sumptuous yet durable, and they allow for a stress-free environment. 

“Ceilings are often under-utilized as design elements,” Kanning says. “In this home’s great room, I applied a textured fabric wall covering with a metallic background, which added not only warmth but also much-needed light from the reflective quality of the material.” 

 ARCHITECTURE Locati Architects, Bozeman, MT, 406-587-1139, CONSTRUCTION Highline Partners, Rob McRae, Big Sky, MT, 406-600-6362, INTERIOR DESIGN Lisa Kanning Interior Design, Lisa Kanning, 303-898-7633, RECLAIMED LUMBER Montana Reclaimed Lumber, Gallatin Gateway, MT, 406-763-9102, DINING ROOM/KITCHEN WALNUT SLAB DINING TABLE Integrity Builders, Bozeman, MT, 406-539-6024, CUSTOM LACQUERED BENCHES Brownstone, 510-236-0772, BENCH UPHOLSTERY Edelman Leather, Denver Design District, Denver, CO 303-825-1277, TABLETOP BOWL Calvin Klein, TABLETOP SCULPTURE Tyler Rand, Visions West Gallery, Bozeman, MT, 406-522-9946, WALL SCONCES AND PENDANT LIGHTING Hubbardton Forge, 802-468-3090, CUSTOM METAL RANGE HOOD Bensley Sheet Metal, Bozeman, MT, 406-763-4124, BACKSPLASH Artistic Tile, CABINET HARDWARE Sun Valley Bronze, 866-788-3631, LIVING ROOM SOFA Hickory Chair,  800-349-4579, SOFA FABRIC Holly Hunt Great Outdoors, CHAIR Lee Industries, 800-892-7150, PAINTING OVER FIREPLACE A.M. Stockhill, Altitude Gallery, Bozeman, MT, 406-582-4472, WALNUT COCKTAIL TABLE Integrity Builders, Bozeman, MT, 406-539-6024, SIDE TABLES C-7 Studio, 406-590-5727, GREY BRINDLE COWHIDE RUG Mike Ragan Rugs, 323-346-0690, BATHROOM TUB Kohler, 800-456-4537, TUB FILL Rubinet, 905-851-6781, CUSTOM CANDELABRA CP Lighting, 866-597-4800, WALL COVERING Nobilis, BEDROOM CUSTOM BED and SETTEE Brownstone Upholstery, 323-232-5400, GRASSCLOTH WALL COVERING Phillip Jeffries, PAINTING OVER FIREPLACE, Theodore Waddell, Visions West Gallery, Bozeman, MT, 406-522-9946, OFFICE CUSTOM DESK Integrity Builders, Bozeman, MT, 406-539-6024, CHAIRS Restoration Hardware, 800-910-9836, CUSTOM FILE CABINETS C7 Studio, 406-590-5727, LAMPS Ralph Lauren, 888-475-7674, LOFT SEATING AREA SECTIONAL SOFA Brownstone Upholstery, 323-232-5400 SECTIONAL SOFA FABRIC Holly Hunt Great Outdoors, COCKTAIL TABLE Restoration Hardware, 800-910-9836, CEILING COVERING Phillip Jeffries, END TABLES Vanguard Furniture, 828-328-5601, FLOOR LAMPS Arteriors, 800-338-2150,


Categories: Rustic Homes