Spotlight on Montana
Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
Whether your Montana dreams consist of casting a fly rod into a crystal clear mountain stream, experiencing a spectacular prairie sunset on horseback, touring an iconic National Park or shredding some serious powder at one of the state’s world class ski resorts, the Treasure State has something for everyone.
Unparalleled in the beauty and wonder that defines the American West, Montana captures the hearts of visitors and residents alike.
Perhaps that’s why it is also home to a thriving community of cutting- edge designers, architects, builders and artists.
Here, we profile seven professionals who have been inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape and the laid-back, room- to-roam lifestyle of Montana. Their work is rooted in history and cultural richness then infused with creative energy and an innovative twist. Get to know these talented professionals and discover today’s Montana.
A RETURN TO HOME
Meet Sara Marcille, Principal at Mountain Home Collective (MHC), a rising star on the Bozeman interior design scene, whose firm creates thoughtfully authentic and luxurious interiors for the mountain-seeking soul.
After more than a decade of immersing yourself in the art of interior design, you opened your own studio. Tell us about the journey that culminated in MHC.
MHC is the result of natural evolution and a longstanding dream to open my own Montana-based firm. My career began close to home designing custom homes for a luxury interior design firm in Whitefish, Montana. Then, seeking to deepen and strengthen my expertise as a designer,
I joined one of the nation’s top firms in Chicago as a design director where I honed my skills in customer experience and luxury design. It became clear to me that my passion to design was in the west and 5 years later in summer 2020, my husband and I made our way back to Montana, bringing my own firm to life.
Does MHC have a signature style?
More than anything, our style is rooted in a deep love for mountain towns and Montana. And while we gravitate toward certain design profiles, our client’s dreams are at the nexus of every design. What we really bring is a unique and creative perspective on interiors that is defined by understanding the vast range of possibilities interior design has to offer. We are highly educated on the best materials and practices and travel to markets across the country and around the world to bring back inspiration to our clients and partners.
Based in Bozeman, Montana and designing wherever the mountains are calling.
MOUNTAIN HOME COLLECTIVE
Sara Marcille, Principal
406-579-2324 | mtnhomecollective.com
After studying design in Florence, Italy and at the New England College of Art and Design, designer Sophia Cok returned home to Montana and established Sanctuary Interior Design in 2014. Here, she shares the secrets of her success.
Tell us about the personal, boutique design experience clients can expect at Sanctuary.
Our focus is client-driven rather than project-driven. Our small team size allows us to stay connected with our clients and project details every step of the way. Strong client relationships are what make our projects successful.
Your website showcases a variety of design styles. Would you say Sanctuary has a signature look?
Our portfolio includes a variety of styles, from rustic to transitional to mid-century modern and more. But I would have to say our ability to listen and capture each unique client’s vision is what makes Sanctuary Interior Design special. Our signature look is not what is trending, it’s the beautiful, unique results that reflect our clients’ visions.
How do your designs reflect the unique Montana vernacular?
Montana’s spectacular landscape provides us with an expansive natural color palette with which to work. Being respectful of the fact that six out of twelve months our landscape is snowy white, we infuse our designs with warm colors, natural organic materials and cozy textures to bring balance and harmony to our clients’ spaces.
SANCTUARY INTERIOR DESIGN
Sophia Cok, Principal and Owner
406-579-1632 | sanctuary-interiordesign.com
RESHAPING THE MOUNTAIN AESTHETIC
For the team at Locati Architects in Bozeman, connecting people to the landscape by incorporating innovative products with timeless style is an art form.
Your website showcases a variety of spectacular projects. Tell us about the diversity of your work.
At the core of our firm is bringing innovation to western architecture and creating a composition of site, design, and family life with each new project. This can mean using a rustic/traditional aesthetic cleverly paired with modern technologies, performance, and configurations for the way families live today. Or it can mean pushing the boundaries of what the mountain aesthetic can be, bringing design elements to the west that can reshape what is possible.
How has the talented team at Locati Architects evolved since it was founded in 1989?
What started as a design firm with a single principal has grown into a collective of over 40 men and women with a broad variety of talents, life experiences and contributions to our work. The members of our diverse team specialize in each aspect of the increasingly complicated role of an architect.
What do your clients like best about working with Locati?
Building a home is a deeply personal and sometimes intimidating experience. We understand that, and work to manage the entire experience from the very beginning to when the home is enjoyed. And amidst the challenges of building today, we make sure to not lose sight of the craft of architecture and the fun of creating something together with our clients.
EXPERIENCE + INTEGRITY
Schlauch Bottcher Construction (SBC) recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in the Gallatin Valley and Big Sky. We sat down to talk with partner Jamie Bottcher who shares with us his firm’s approach in helping homeowners achieve their visions and thoughts on how building has changed.
SBC has a long standing tenure in the area. What’s the key to your firm’s longevity?
We have been building custom residential homes in the Gallatin Valley and Big Sky for 25 years now – we just passed this milestone this past May. I would say the key to our longevity is that the principles our company was built on have not changed since we started. We treat each of our clients the way we would want to be treated – essentially the Golden Rule. This leads to a foundation of openness and honesty through the process.
Building can be an overwhelmingly stressful experience. How do you coach homeowners through the process?
The key is to not rush the process. There are so many decisions that must be made to help a project come together efficiently, but it can all be done if you approach it thoughtfully, one decision at a time. We understand the time it takes to process decisions and interaction between those decisions. If a homeowner feels rushed, the process starts to lose its luster—which is the last thing we want.
How has the building landscape changed in Montana in recent years?
Business is booming and people from all walks of life are discovering what we have known for quite some time—Montana is a special place. The good news is the people we’ve encountered who are choosing to move here have a similar mindset to the residents that already call Montana home. They are eager to be a part of the community and contribute as good neighbors. We appreciate the opportunity to work on great projects and work with great people. It allows us to be proud of what we do and what we are able to create.
FASHION WITH A KICK
Meet Nikki Edmundson, owner of southwestern Montana’s Canty Boots. Canty, by definition, means lively, upbeat and in good spirits. Find out how her outlook and her boots live up to their name.
What exactly are Canty Boots and who are they for?
Canty Boots are one of a kind, re-designed western boots for anyone, anywhere who has a desire to feel good in truly unique, short boots.
What was the inspiration for Canty Boots?
My husband bought me me my first pair of boots and I loved them but they were tight in the calves. I wasn’t willing to give up on them because they were eel skin, so I cut them down, rolled them and then embellished them. I got so many compliments, I knew I was on to something!
What advice do you have for artisans who want to start their own business?
It is scary to start anything, but if you commit and put your foot on the gas you become a force. I have learned to keep my eyes forward to focus only on where I want to go and forget what everyone else is doing.
What’s it like running a big time business in a small town?
Harrison is home to under 200 people. No stoplights, no gas station…no distractions. We are surrounded by beauty and serenity and I wouldn’t trade it for all the opportunities in the big city. People that want Canty Boots will find me…I’ll be here, with my family and my beautiful shop until the end of my time.
Meet Rachael Celinski, Director of Interior Design at Gallatin Valley Design Group, whose experienced and approachable team specializes in pairing fresh design perspectives with clients’ visions to create the perfect living space.
How does GVDG achieve their signature “full service interior design with an architectural edge.”
Our team consists of nine talented team members, ranging from senior interior designers to rendering specialists to interior architects. With a Masters in Architecture, I can “speak the language” to clients, assist with the big decisions throughout the design and build process, and help problem-solve the schematic design phase of the process. This provides a fully integrated and seamless approach between architect and interior designer, which truly benefits both the homeowners and the general contractor.
What advantage do clients gain from working with your firm?
We start by taking a deep dive in the plans, elevations and details. Our goal is never to change the design but to enhance it. The team is highly involved in every detail of the home and our set of organized deliverables speak for themselves. We are our clients’ advocate throughout the entire process.
What tools do you use to help clients envision the final result?
Our clients are kept up-to-date every step of the way with a “visual lookbook,” a living and breathing document that hones in on the details for every space of the home. In addition, we provide a full ID drawing set, three-dimensional renderings and video fly-throughs which make it easy for clients to envision their space. Finally, we make sure to keep our clients as informed as possible, by sharing weekly progress calls and updates in order to make sure we all have the same priorities and goals in mind.
A PIECE OF PLACE
The Montana Territory Hat Company is a custom hat company rooted in the heritage, authenticity, and enduring romance of the American West. Each hat is custom designed and made by hand from start to finish by owner Courtney Green in Bozeman, Montana.
Tell us about the journey you’ve taken to get where you are today.
When I was little you could always find me hiding away with my sketchbook or in the barn spending time with my horses. After college, I worked for over a decade in the fashion industry as a designer and buyer. I loved it, but I always knew I belonged in the mountains. When I finally moved to Montana, I wanted to create something that pulled from my background in fashion and design, combined with my love for art and the American West. I wanted to commit to something that was rooted in and inspired by Montana.
Walk us through your creative process.
I make each hat by hand, one step at a time.The antithesis of the recent trend towards fast fashion and planned obsolescence, these hats are made to last a lifetime. Montana’s rich history and the beauty of the wild landscape inspire designs that represent a life well lived.
What is the philosophy behind what you create?
I believe in product that feels like art. Classic designs, quality construction, thoughtful details, built with a sense of pride and purpose. Something inspired by the past, to be lived in and loved today, and passed onto future generations. My hats represent the preservation of a place, a culture, and a way of life.
LIFE IN PICTURES
Husband and wife photojournalists Lido Vizzutti and Jessica Lowry Vizzutti joined forces in 2013 to create Cou Cou Studio, a Missoula based photography studio specializing in capturing architectural and interior projects in spectacular fashion.
What is the philosophy behind Cou Cou Studio?
Good design makes life beautiful. We love telling stories and capturing this beauty in every shoot. Photojournalism taught both of us how to be nimble and think on our feet while also capturing visual narratives. Photos capture the hard work and thousands of decisions that go into each project. We work closely with architects, interior designers and builders to highlight the design and details that make every project memorable.
How did you develop such keen insight about the process?
We recently remodeled our own home with the help of an outstanding architect and builder. At the end of that project, we photographed our house for the team. The whole experience gave us broader insight into the building and renovation process from start to finish. It’s so important to capture the story of each project and we felt lucky to be able to document our own home for the team and our family. It will be so special to look back on those photos in years to come.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are busy photographing everything from kitchen remodels and home renovations to brand new builds. Every project is unique and we feel lucky to capture the story in each home.