Rustic Big Sky Beauty

A strategic splash of water can add a refreshing spritz of character to a mountain home, producing a cool, reflective oasis in a high-altitude setting.

In this Big Sky, Montana project, architect Candace Tillotson-Miller designed the home, built from stone, hewn logs and vertical boards, to sit on a “knob” at the highest point of the 160-acre property. The water features, all manmade, revealed themselves as the home was being built: The large pond behind the house, fed by a small pond higher up on the site, was originally the staging area for the construction equipment. “It looks like a spring,” Miller observes. “It has a natural sense about it.”

Along the lower level of the home, near several bedrooms, landscape designer Beth MacFawn created a retaining wall of stone—dubbed “the weeping wall”—down which water trickles with soothing gurgles before collecting in a small pool and then recirculating. Steps along this wall of water lead up to the home’s front door, creating a dramatic entry.

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Photo by David O. Marlow