Outside: Saving Grace

Westslope cutthroats are heroes to the novice angler


Local Knowledge: A New Angle, Bozeman Reel Company

With a handshake, dedication to quality and ambition, this American manufacturer is poised to make its mark in the fishing industry

The classic spread of the stone and timber home pays homage to the ranch style of the Jefferson Valley and to the expanse of the Tobacco Root Mountains that anchor it in the east.

Western Design: Home Base

One angler creates a fishing retreat within easy reach of Montana’s blue ribbon waters

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance Good Country Authentically Western A Home for the Ages Where the Living is Easy Music in the Mountains The Flight of the Hummingbird Living the Dream Integrating Nature Mountain Exposure Eclectic Parkitecture Uniting Color Historic Symmetry The Year Of The Horse A Yellowstone Club Retreat Hearth and Soul Building a Timeless Legacy An Uncommon Cabin in the Woods Letter from the Editor: I Know Where the Fish Are Letter from the Editor: Big Sky Country Letter from the Editor: Forging Ahead Dining Out: Barn Dance Letter from the Editor: Like an Open Road Letter from the Editor: The Language of Fishing Letter from the Editor: Cast Again Editor’s Letter: The Passing Season Dining Out: Saffron Table Dining Out: Lone Mountain Ranch Serves Up a Sense of Place Western Design: Uniquely Rustic Western Design: JLF & Associates Letter from the Editor: Season of Possibility Dining Out: A Montana Tradition, Chico Hot Springs Letter from the Editor: Design Trends Dining Out: The Ranch at Rock Creek Redefines Montana Cuisine Dining Out: Seasonal Bliss Western Design: Refined Rustic Letter from the Editor: Winter Wave Letter from the Editor: Blending Seasons Western Design: A New Mountain Lodge Western Design: Historic Haven Western Design: In the Studio with the Viers Western Focus: Classic Connection: Miller Architects Western Design: Reviving the Barn From the Editor: Seasons of Simplicity Dining Out: Innovation Meets Tradition at Bisl Letter from the Editor: What is art? Dining Out: Holland Lake Lodge, Rustic Wonderful Letter from the Editor: The Secret Weapon Letter from the Editor: Fly Fishing for the Greater Good Western Design: Mountain Zen Western Design: Creekside Contemporary Living Big Sky on HGTV The Spirit of the West in Jackson, Wyoming Letter from the Editor: First Snow Dining Out: The Old Hotel Letter from the Editor: Signs of Summer Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn Dining Out: Simply Good Food From the Editor: Hit the Road Making a Statement: Miller Architects Letter from the Editor: Winter’s Toll Letter from the Editor: Evolving Home Dining Out: Comfort Food Western Design: Cowboy Modern Western Design: The Idaho Club Letter from the Editor: Talking Art Dining Out: Conserving Montana One Table at a Time Dining Out: Cosmopolitan Cuisine at TEN Dining Out: Ranch to Restaurant Letter from the Editor: Waiting for Summer Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy Letter from the Editor: First Frost Letter from the Editor: Why Art? Letter from the Editor: Up Close and Personal Letter from the Editor: A Tradition of Talent Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection Dining Out: The Taste of Whitefish Letter from the Editor: How Big is Your Bucket Letter from the Editor: Falling Short Western Design: Rustic Allure Dining Out: Fish Food Western Design: In the Studio with Painter Hugh Wilson Western Design: Home Base From the Editor Dining Out: Tradition, with a Twist Letter from the Editor: Staying Power
Photography by Longviews Studios  
February 2015


When Bill Nutt was searching for property in the Rocky Mountain region, it was all about the fishing. He house-hunted in Colorado, Wyoming and throughout Montana for more than two years until he found just the right location on the Jefferson River, near Twin Bridges, Mont.

“What I wanted was a home base for family and visitors to come and fish,” explains Nutt. 

Working with experienced land brokers Greg Fay and James Esperiti of Fay Ranches, Nutt found a property in southwest Montana that offered a bonanza of fishing opportunities. First, it was the 1 ¼-mile stretch of the Jefferson River that attracted him to this gem of a ranch property. The 13-acre, spring-fed lake and a small pond were additional bonuses. But it was really the proximity to so many other blue ribbon rivers that convinced Nutt this was the perfect location.

“The Jefferson is right there, out the back door,” he says excitedly. “But then within an hour and a half on any given day we fish the Big Hole and wade the Ruby. We go to the Missouri, over to Ennis to O’Dell Creek, and the lower Madison.”

Twin Bridges, a town of just under 400 souls, is only 10 miles away from the ranch and marks the confluence of the Ruby, Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers, which form the Jefferson River. If there is any doubt that this is a well-known fly fishing mecca for anglers, then the fact that the community boasts two major fishing rod manufacturers (ever heard of a little company called Winston?), the well-known Stone Fly Outfitters fly shop and for a lovely meal, The Old Hotel, should settle the argument. The Jefferson River is a segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and is undoubtedly a premiere fishery in Montana. Nutt had landed in the right place.

Once he secured the Highland View Ranch, replete with 545 acres of land actively in agricultural production and about 450 Black Angus cows, he brought in his wife Dedie to discuss their home on the range. After owning the property for a decade, the couple chose to engage Missoula architects Jeremy Oury and Jeff Crouch of the Kibo Group. Their needs were simple, yet specific: A small timberframe house with room to entertain 12 guests, and a connection to the views that wrap around the site.

“We wanted an open a floor plan and windows designed to let as much light into the house as possible,” recalls Nutt.

The owners spent hours with their architect to site the home, finally settling on a location that offers 270-degree views from the river around to the Tobacco Root Mountains in the east. The result is a clean-lined home that’s centered on the views of the Jefferson River and the comfort of anyone who walks across the threshold.

Walking in through the front door, visitors are greeted by the encompassing warmth of wood that emanates from the natural timberframe structure. The eye is drawn to the windows of the main living area, which look toward the river. There is no doubt that this proximity to the river is the driving force for the location; the view says it all.

But even Nutt admits the home had to be exceedingly comfortable inside to balance the expanse of the outdoor environment, and so he drew upon the interior design skills of Karol Klakken’s In Form Design, of Hamilton, Mont., to cultivate the welcoming ambiance of his home.

“Bill and Dedie are sophisticated and from the East, so they wanted a classic Western style for this home. I didn’t want it to seem cliché, but instead authentic and simple in a way that speaks to the landscape,” notes Klakken. 

Klakken’s eclectic design approach is influenced by three factors: the clients’ taste, the architecture and the landscape. She grew a strong relationship with the couple, who were actively involved with every phase of building and design for their retreat, while still giving free reign to the professional team. Most of the details were decided via long-distance communication, as Klakken selected custom furnishings and rugs for the home. But she accompanied Nutt to the Denver Design Mart to select some of the central finishes in the home as well.

A designer in Montana since 2004 and a native of Dillon, Mont., Klakken’s familiarity with the Jefferson Valley’s history made her a good fit for the interior design of the Nutt residence. She allowed natural elements to influence her color choices, incorporating slate tile, and the palettes of red willow and river rocks. To create the streamlined livability of the home, Klakken chose leather and wood furnishings with distressed antique-inspired finishes, and added custom-designed rugs with Native American patterns to delineate living spaces in the open floor plan.

There are three outside living spaces connecting the interior with the scenery. The screened-in porch is often used as a breakfast area; an antique-inspired propane stove extends its use into late fall. The larger back porch runs the length of the house, and has a hot tub as well as outdoor seating for watching the sunsets linger across the expanse of that big sky. From there, a trail leads to a firepit on riverbank, where the couple entertains al fresco with fireside cocktails and, indubitably, with fishing stories.

For Nutt, the story of Highland View Ranch always circles back to the fishing. “We are just beyond Hell’s Canyon, which is a great spawning spot for rainbow and browns,” he shares. “In the fall you can wade the Jeff and it becomes great for dry fly fishing.”

He’s excited to share this place and his love of the rivers that drew him to Montana. But the house admittedly offers a welcome respite from all that fun. The front porch faces east and looks to the sun as it rises over the Tobacco Roots. Nutt spends most mornings here until it’s time to get out on the river. Luckily it’s only a few steps away.

Hunt’s Timbers from St. Ignatius, Montana, provided the prominent timbers that frame the vaulted ceilings of the main living space.

From the bar in the great room, owner Bill Nutt “holds court” while entertaining friends and family.

The owners worked with the Kibo Group architects Jeff Crouch and Jeremy Oury to site the home to take advantage of ambient light and inspiring views.

In Form Design cultivated comfort and sophistication from the historic influences of Montana, and relied on natural elements to determine the color palette of reds and earth tones. Timber framing from Constructive Solutions defines the architecture of the home with elegant craftsmanship.

A well-beaten path from the house leads to the Jefferson River, which offers excellent dry fly fishing in the autumn months.