Situated in the heart of Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, this mountain retreat rises into the dense fir and pine trees, offering the owner family a close connection to the natural environment. With their main residence in Manhattan, the owner couple desired a vacation home where they could reconnect and encourage their three children to interact and commune with the landscape as they grow up.
The husband spent time growing up on his grandfather’s tree farm in New Hampshire, and wanted to emulate those treasured experiences for his young family. The resulting 700-sq-metre home brings everyone close to the forests and lakes of Big Sky, which are framed by interior and exterior spaces across the home’s two levels. A launchpad for their many outdoor recreation activities, including skiing, fishing, and hiking – the home is a framework for the their connection to the elements, and to one another.
Located in a sub-alpine, densely forested area, the home was carefully sited to blend with the landscape and minimise site disturbance while maximising views. The home is aligned to the edge of a gentle slope. It’s long, linear plan punctuated by two wings at either end of the house that reach out and into the landscape to capture dramatic views. Says Kevin Burke, Design Principal:’For this family, who is used to an urban experience, the home needed to provide transitional exterior spaces that allow them to get outside, but are still covered and protected so they don’t feel completely out in the wild.’
The two wings are angled outwards to embrace the landscape and define a semi-sheltered outdoor space between the volumes. A double-sided glass corridor on the upper level connects the two wings, centering a porous, transparent zone in the home’s core and inviting the outside in. The driveway and autocourt are positioned on the south, which opens the site to southern light, bringing it deep into the house and to the lower walkout basement. Sustainable aspects include local material sourcing, high performance windows, a super-insulated envelope, and plenty of natural light.
Says Sarah Kennedy, Interior Designer:’The clients’ art collection knits their two worlds together, with pieces from Brooklyn and Montana sitting side-by-side. The interior design is a continuation of the architecture, both of which take their lead from the natural context of the site.
The home’s program supports connectivity with modestly-sized bedrooms on the lower level to encourage family members to congregate in the main living areas. Elevating the kitchen, dining, and living spaces allows for sweeping, treetop views of Ulery’s Lake and the Spanish Peaks. The design emphasises a link to nature from every room, with indoor entertaining areas directly connecting to outdoor spaces for a free-flow of movement from inside to out.
The interior design reflects the family’s personality and unique identity, while also drawing influence from the natural surroundings. Continuous hemlock soffits run from exterior to interior, with white oak and polished concrete floors in bedrooms and living areas, and dark walnut casework in the kitchen. Dry-stacked quartzite stone on interior and exterior walls completes the elemental material palette. Furnishings help bring the colors and textures of nature inside, with pops of deep reds and oranges, rich leathers, and textural rugs and fabrics conjuring an autumnal landscape palette. A deeply personal art collection unites the family’s two worlds, with pieces sourced locally and from New York City.
architecture and interior design: CLB Architects | builder: Highline Partners | landscape: Field Studio | structural: KL&A | lighting: Helius
CLB Design Team – architecture: Kevin Burke, Sam Ankeny, Mark McPhie | interior design: Sarah Kennedy, Maria James, Libby Erker, Sydney Millyard
Photography: Kevin Scott