Cowgirl Hotlist
Our Newsletter to your inbox every week!

Creekside Creature Comfort

A retired couple builds a right-sized home on a peaceful creek near Red Lodge, Montana.

March 03, 2020

BY CHRISTY NEILSON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROGER WADE

Red Lodge is a vibrant, diverse community that boasts good schools, great medical care, and year-round outdoor activities galore. Its quieter lifestyle was just what a couple from Minnesota longed for after they became empty-nesters. So, they bought a two-acre lot on Rock Creek about a mile outside of town to build on someday. When they were ready to downsize from their original Montana residence, they jumped at the chance to work with longtime friend Andrew Porth, principal of Porth Architects, Ltd., to design the last home they plan to build.

The beautiful windows by Kolbe Windows & Doors (VistaLuxe Collection, Accent Style)—reminiscent of steel windows you’d see in a factory—create an industrial aesthetic.

The heavily wooded lot is a private retreat within an aspen forest that is home to a host of wildlife. Rock Creek—which sits only about 50 feet from the home—teems with trout and offers a soothing backdrop for the comfortable home that conforms to the land and offers views of the mountain and the stream. The design of the 2,800-square-foot home flows together organically, with the daily functional living spaces and master suite on the lower level and the guest bedrooms and office upstairs. A heated three-car garage offers plenty of space for vehicles and an all-important fishing raft. Easy-to-clean wood floors, in-floor heating, and passageways built for accessibility as the owners “age in place” round out the creature comforts of the dwelling.

The efficiently designed farmhouse kitchen boasts a pro-style gas cooktop and custom cabinets built by local craftsman Eirik Stout.

The home, which resembles a modern farmhouse concept with reclaimed barnwood accents, white painted cabinets in the kitchen, and rustic random-width hickory flooring in most of the rooms, is well-appointed with calming spaces that are essential for the owners. The craft room—which earns the wife’s adoration for nurturing her painting, sewing, and gardening pursuits—gets prime southern exposure. A tall wrought-iron fence encircles the room outside and protects the lush garden against wildlife intruders. The husband uses the cozy music den every day, and retreats to the office to tie flies that he will cast into Rock Creek. To promote harmony with the wooded setting, Porth chose to wrap the home in stained Douglas fir siding in a naturally weathered tone that is hung in an interesting mix of horizontal and vertical orientations.

A mix of stained and painted wood throughout the home creates warmth while staying true to the farmhouse feel the owners wanted.

The Cortona Limestone fireplace and reclaimed wood accent wall above the built-in knotty alder custom cabinet add textural interest in the living room.

The great room has an industrial loft feel with generous windows resembling the steel windows found in an old factory. Recesses behind the top window trim conceal roller shades, offering privacy as needed and unobstructed views otherwise. A mix of stained knotty alder and painted wood on the trim and interior doors create warmth throughout the space. The farmhouse kitchen features an island that was built to look like a rustic wooden table. The island is adorned with a natural stone that calls to mind the texture of tree bark, apropos of the wooded setting. The remaining kitchen counters are covered in a clean, monochrome gray quartz material.

The bright master bedroom is a calming retreat with windows that look out to the aspen-forested lot.

A freestanding tub (Kohler) and heated towel rack were must-haves in the master bath. The tile on the floors, in the shower, and behind the vanity is brushed limestone—beautiful to the eye and appealing to the touch.

The striking staircase—which was built on-site using steel channels for the stringers, laminated hickory treads, and a custom-made steel railing—contributes to the industrial aesthetic. Three windows above brighten the open stairway with nature’s luminescence. A reclaimed wood wall wraps around one side of the stairwell and peeks into the great room where it sits atop the built-in cabinet beside the buff-and-gold Cortona Limestone fireplace. The reclaimed wood is also used in the lower level office nook, and is picked up again in an alcove of the master bedroom. To reinforce the farmhouse feel, barn doors are featured in the music den and also to separate the stairwell from the substantial mud and laundry room. Herman Miller Nelson bubble lamps over the staircase and a replica in the office nook add softness and luminosity.

The airy open staircase was built on-site. The fixtures above the stairs are replica George Nelson cigar bubble pendants.

The office nook on the lower level is the nexus for day-to-day activities and has access to one of two outdoor spaces. The light fixture is a Herman Miller George Nelson saucer bubble pendant.

ARCHITECT

Porth Architects, Ltd.

Andrew Porth, Principal

BUILDER

Timberline Builders Inc.

Dan Kyro, President

Cowgirl Hotlist
Our Newsletter to your inbox every week!