The search for a summer vacation destination led one southern California homeowner to the quiet of Montana’s secluded Flathead Lake, where he found the perfect setting for a contemporary Western timber frame home. The homeowner, who runs a plywood-import company, worked plenty of wood into his retreat, but he also accented the home with steel, stone and other materials. Much of the home’s wood could tell tales of past life.
“The doors are made of old cherry vats,” he explains. Stains and scars give the wood character. The wood flooring was salvaged from a century-old schoolhouse in Washington, and the base of the powder room’s sink is a section of a tree that grew on the property. These vintage treasures, along with the homeowner’s Western artwork and collection of antique Navajo rugs, underscore the home’s Western roots. Steel was added to the mix for its modern feel, but much of the home’s contemporary flair comes through its masonry — in the walls and exterior finishes, but particularly in the great room’s massive fireplace.
“I wanted something special,” the homeowner says. “It’s made to look like an avalanche or a rock slide.” Rocks, anchored in place from behind, appear to tumble down the face of the hearth. In all, the mason used 20 tons of rock in the one-of-a-kind monolithic fireplace surround. In warm weather, wide pocket doors in the great room slide out of the way, opening the room to spectacular open-air views of the lakeshore, the boat docks and Glacier National Park in the distance. Outdoor living areas provide plenty of room for the homeowner and his guests to enjoy the long days of summer. Entertaining space was one of the amenities he and his wife, who recently passed away, wanted in the home. Beyond stunning first impressions, the timber frame home offers relaxed living spaces filled with comfortable seating areas replete with panoramic views.
For a bit of whimsy, the homeowner created a media room that resembles a Victorian theater of the Old West — complete with red curtains, brass accents and a balcony. From the exterior, varied rooflines make the house fit right in to its five-acre, forested setting. The homeowner had considered building on Lake Tahoe or Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Lake. Now he’s certain that Flathead Lake was the perfect choice for his dream timber frame home.