Mountain Modern Design With A Timeless Look At A Montana Lake House
A private retreat is tucked into rocky outcroppings on Flathead Lake
Like the relationship with an old friend who has been around since childhood, homeowner Kathy Veazey has a backstory with the land on which she built her Montana lake house. “I had to buy this land because it has been in my soul for so long,” she says. Every childhood summer, her grandparents brought her to their home on Flathead Lake to play and explore to her heart’s content. Later, her parents’ friends purchased a nearby piece of land that is now her homestead. “It’s magical, with lots of moss and trees and a big crevasse of water coming onto the property where we played make-believe that it was a passage for pirates.” The land changed hands after the owners passed away, but Veazey and her late husband never lost sight of it. “We always lusted for this property,” she says. “So when I drove by it one day in 2015 and saw a sale sign, it was time for me to buy it.”
On the day of closing, Veazey called a contractor to remove a small trailer sitting on the property and also contacted builder Jeff Gallatin of Gallatin Construction, with whom she had an existing relationship. He put her in touch with architect Jeff C. Maphis of JCM Architecture when he discovered her yearning for a minimalist, modern home to sit subtly on the land that left the landscape intact. Veazey’s choice of interior designer to complete the team was easy; her sister-in-law, Laurie Robinson of LFR Design, had already successfully designed three other homes for her.
Veazey gave Maphis creative freedom to design the house, relying on him to employ Mountain Modern design while acknowledging the lay of the land to create a timeless look. He nestled the home between two rocky outcroppings on the bank of the lake, choosing slate for the exterior of the private lower level that seamlessly blends with the natural rock formations. “I included elements of an historical mountain cabin. I was always intrigued by the Forest Service cabins hidden in the woods that I saw when I took my son camping,” Maphis says. “They look like they have always been there, and the ones I was drawn to had a flatter pitch to their sloping gable roofs, with extended overhangs.” He brought this historical inspiration to Veazey’s Flathead Lake home through strong horizontal lines on the lower level, breaking into a more vertical look on the main level with reverse board-and-batten siding in a dark brown stain to mimic the tall pine trees surrounding the house.
“It’s a unique site on a peninsula with expansive views across the lake to the mountains of the Swan Range to the northeast and a more intimate view in the opposite direction to a quiet bay,” says Maphis.
To bring the outside feeling of serenity inside the home, designer Laurie Robinson took inspiration from the moss and lichen that grow on the property, employing a color palette of moss green, gold and orange to mimic the natural surroundings. Mesquite floors reflect the underside of the ponderosa pinecones that litter the ground outside. “The house has huge, open windows that bring in outdoor views, but it was my challenge to add warmth and coziness in the midst of the modern influences,” she says. “That much glass, steel and stone could look cold, but my design sweet spot is creating warm, peaceful environments.”
All the glass has a wonderful benefit: The house has unobstructed views of the lake from every room. It is a “see and not be seen” sort of home. “You can see the house from the sides, but for those in a boat out on the point, the house is invisible because it is so tucked into the rock,” Robinson explains.
It’s no wonder Veazey named the house Serenity Point. “People just exhale when they come here,” she says. “It is the most relaxing home.”
Although it’s hard to be stressed while relaxing near Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, there are reliable ways to design a halcyon home. Architect Jeff C. Maphis and interior designer Laurie Robinson share their tips.
SIMPLICITY Simplify shapes, forms and spaces, says Maphis. “Simple forms equal less clutter, which can be in direct contrast to the complexity of our daily lives.” SETTING Take advantage of natural elements – trees, rocks and water – and engage with all of them within the design, which organically provides a sense of peace. Serenity Point achieves this connection with a color palette reflective of the plants and materials visible from the windows. PURPOSE Be intentional in co-creating a space with the client, nature and the structure, says Robinson. Listen to what they say and honor that in the home’s interior. “A house isn’t my creation,” she says, “but a team effort that includes the landscape.” LOVE LANGUAGE Include what you love in a house to give it a sense of calmness. “I love warm and soft textures, so that feels right to me,” says Robinson. In the living room, JAB Anstoetz green velvet fabric on the sectional and Osborne & Little gold velvet fabric on the chairs bring in warmth while mimicking the natural colors outside.
ARCHITECTURE JCM Architecture
INTERIOR DESIGN LFR Design
CONSTRUCTION Gallatin Construction
PHOTOS Jacob Hixon