Spotlight on Montana
Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
Montana is having its moment in the spotlight. Previously a hidden gem of Western culture and a spectacular sanctuary of wild, natural places, it has become a premier destination for nature lovers, peace seekers and adventurers alike. In 2021, tourism increased 12% (and is steadily climbing), and visitors pumped nearly $5 billion into Montana’s economy. With thousands of acres of national parks, miles of open country, an abundance of wildlife and unparalleled scenery, not to mention the irresistible cowboy culture, who can blame them?
It’s no wonder that Montana is also home to a thriving community of designers, architects, builders, artists and artisans. Here, we profile seven professionals who are inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape and the laid-back, live-and-let-live lifestyle of Montana. Their work is rooted in history and cultural richness, infused with creative energy and topped off with an innovative twist. Get to know these talented professionals and discover the allure of Big Sky Country.
The team at Gallatin Valley Design Group brings an innate advantage to their client’s design projects with an unmatched blend of design talents, highly detailed service, an abundance of resources and an architectural edge.
In your 15-plus years as a designer, what kind of changes have you seen in the Gallatin Valley?
It’s quite amazing to see the immense growth in the Gallatin Valley. With the coronavirus, families were moving here at warp speed, buying properties and homes sight unseen. We’ve seen a lot of renovations as well as owners wanting to update the property that they have owned for years. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are 2nd, 3rd, even 4th homes that are being built in Big Sky.
Tell us about GVDG’s design philosophy.
Our approach is based on four pillars: collaborate, inspire, create and over-deliver. We begin by getting to know our clients, their vision and their goals. Once we’ve developed an understanding of their ideas and objectives we start a process of collaboration and planning to create a space that is both timeless and unique.
Is there a project you’ve worked on recently that you’re really excited about?
We’ve had quite a few that stand out, but one of the coolest projects we are working on now is a compound with a main house, “barndominium,” guesthouse, barn and sports complex. It’s nestled right on the Gallatin River with spectacular views of the Bridger Mountain Range captured throughout all of the buildings.
GALLATIN VALLEY DESIGN GROUP
Rachael Celinski, Director of Interior Design
Old Main Gallery & Framing, founded in 1964, has a rich history in Bozeman. Meet Lindsey McCann, the tenacious owner and gallery director who is taking it to the next level.
Taking over the gallery just as the pandemic hit must have been a tremendous challenge.
Yes, my husband Micah Jastram and I purchased the business in January 2020, just as the coronavirus was taking hold. Deemed a “non-essential business,” we were forced to close our doors and lay off staff. We reopened six weeks later and continued to run the business, just the two of us, for about a year and a half. Fortunately, like many businesses that revolve around home design, we’ve made a successful comeback.
What is unique about your approach to art?
Our approach to art revolves around honesty. When working with various artists we strive to provide a safe space for them to share their work, their story and their approach to life without judgment. We encourage honesty in the work, which translates to our clients. When framing, our staff treats each piece with care and attention. We strive to create timeless pieces that honor the art rather than distracting from it.
Do you have any special events/featured artists coming up?
We feature a new exhibition every month of the year with an opening or closing reception, often with the artist(s) in attendance. We also partner with various nonprofit groups in Bozeman to expand the type of events typically held in an art gallery. From private catered dinners and parties to small chamber music concerts, we’re hoping to incorporate all forms of art in our space and encourage community involvement in the arts.
OLD MAIN GALLERY & FRAMING
Lindsey McCann Jastram, Owner, Gallery Director
FUNCTION + BEAUTY
Shannon Brown Callaghan, owner and principal designer of Clover Studio, has been creating distinctive homes and beautiful, livable, functional spaces in the Western Montana area for over 20 years.
You have a deep history in the mountain west—tell us a bit about your journey.
Being a Montana native, I grew up enjoying all of the sports and activities the mountains and lakes had to offer. After earning a degree in Interior Architecture I pursued my design career in Seattle and California. Ten years of city life left me yearning for the mountains so I relocated back to Montana to start my own Interior Design business.
How do you ensure that each project gets off on the right foot?
My initial focus in any project is the functionality of the home or space. We work closely with the architect and builder during the planning stages to assure all aspects of the interior are designed to accommodate how the clients live, entertain, work, etc. for their current and future needs and enjoyment.
Describe your creative process when working with clients.
We have a thoughtful approach to the decision-making on every project and work with the client on the entire process from initial concept and design through planning, materials and finishes, lighting plans, furniture and accessories to complete turn-key installation.
How are your designs inspired by your locale?
We’re inspired by the mountains, rivers and lakes and inherently love to incorporate natural materials and earthy color palettes of the landscapes of Montana into our projects.
Shannon Brown Callaghan, Owner and Principal
For Colton Martini, owner and principal at Camp Martini, a full-service interior design firm and lifestyle collective, it’s all about bringing the right people together.
What advice would you give homeowners searching for the right designer?
We truly believe when you are looking for someone to work with it is incredibly important to have an energetic connection. When you think about how personal your home is, or any space that belongs to you for that matter, it just makes sense to also connect with the person or people helping you create it. After all, no one wants to spend 1 to 3 years working with someone they cannot tolerate.
An integral part of Camp Martini’s process is a unified team approach. Tell us how you work together to create beautiful results.
We are always working to better ourselves, learn and grow within our craft. The camp has a unique vibe in that we are all equally involved in every project. Not one thing passes through without all of our eyes looking at it and offering approval, alternatives or even outright regrouping. If you talk to one of our team members you are speaking to all of us. I think this approach allows consistency in our work product and also reassures our clients that if one of us is subbed in for another it will ultimately be as if we were all there.
Colton S. Martini, Principal Designer, Owner
Whitefish, Lakeside and Missoula, Montana
The skilled team at Montana Tile & Stone works one-on-one with homeowners, contractors and designers in the Gallatin Valley and surrounding area to create beautiful custom spaces.
How do you guide customers through the sometimes overwhelming process of choosing tile?
We usually start by discussing the client’s overall vision, including inspiration photos and design themes. Then we narrow down options by talking about different types of tile and what spaces and uses they are best suited for. Finally, we discuss trim, finish details and grout to pull the project together. Once the client decides on a few final options, we put together samples in a lookbook for the client to take home to see what they look like in their space.
Tell us about the variety of products you offer in your showroom.
We offer many different tile products including porcelain, ceramic, natural stones (marble, limestone, bluestone, etc.), mosaics and glass, as well as Schluter, Ardex and other setting materials.
What is the best timing to begin choosing tile for a project?
We recommend allowing 3-4 weeks lead time for ordering and receiving tile. It’s very helpful to have cabinets and countertops selected prior to selecting tile because there are so many options versus fewer options for cabinets and countertops. We also suggest confirming quantities needed from the builder or tile setter ahead of tile consultations so we can verify in real-time if the selections are available in the quantities needed and within the timeline of the project.
MONTANA TILE AND STONE
Patrick Sievert, President
For over 20 years, Hunter Dominick, owner of Hunter & Company Interior Design has bridged the gap between interiors and architecture, creative and technical, while bringing each client’s unique story to life.
Tell us a bit about your creative background.
With an interior designer and musician as a father and a mother who is a painter, I was destined to be a creative. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in Interior Design, I built my expertise in Vail and Aspen, Colorado. I moved to Whitefish, Montana, where I founded Hunter & Company Interior Design and opened the showroom.
What serves as your team’s biggest source of inspiration?
We are inspired by the stunning place that we get to call home. We are surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges, sparkling lakes, rich history, incredible artisans and extraordinary wildlife, all of which continuously influence our textures, color palettes and overall aesthetics. There’s truly inspiration at every turn.
Is there a signature Hunter & Company look?
We pride ourselves on not having a signature style. We believe that like every person, every project is unique. We are passionate about creating distinct style that fits each client, ranging from campy casual to sophisticated chic.
How do you make each project unique?
Learning about our clients and blending a variety of elements to create an environment that feels unique to them is our passion. We create interior and exterior spaces that reflect the lifestyles of our clients with inspired, functional design.
HUNTER & COMPANY INTERIOR DESIGN • HOME
Hunter Dominick, Owner and Founder
TOTAL HOME SOLUTION
For more than 30 years, PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes has earned a reputation for creating the world’s most distinctive mountain-style homes. Read on to learn more about their full-service home building experience.
How do you work with clients to turn the vision of their dream home into a reality?
Every log or timber-frame home project is unique because every client is unique. That’s why our award-winning, in-house architectural design firm, M.T.N. Design, offers a vast portfolio of conceptual designs for inspiration. Depending on the client’s vision, we can modify one of the conceptual designs in our portfolio, combine elements from multiple floor plans, or custom design a home from top to bottom.
What advantage does PrecisionCraft offer homeowners in Montana?
Our signature Design-Fabricate-Build service gives clients who want a mountain-style log or timber-frame home the luxury
of working with one local company from start to finish. Our seasoned team of in-house sales, design and construction management professionals works together to ensure a seamless approach to helping each client create their dream home.
How do you incorporate energy efficiency into your log and timber homes?
Energy efficiency is contemplated from the foundation to the roof of every PrecisionCraft home. Our homes have an integrated structural shell that includes insulated concrete forms (ICFs), structural insulated panels (SIPs) and custom-fabricated log and timber materials. When this family of integrated products are used together, the result is an energy-efficient home that is as beautiful as it is comfortable.