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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 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 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.
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 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.