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Arts 2009 Round Up

A poke full of newsy nuggets from around the Northern Rockies

Reid Smith Architects maximized views with a contemporary design that brings the mountain landscape of the Yellowstone Club into the home. A subtle roofline successfully buffers the home’s square footage.

Using rustic elements in a refined manner to punctuate a less-is-more sensibility, high-backed linen-upholstered walnut chairs surround a custom-built live-edge wood dining table. In the open living-dining area custom lighting was chosen to enhance the sensation of floating above the trees.

Utilizing natural materials, including load- bearing timbers, Montana Reclaimed Lumber was the source for hardwood and weathered barnwood throughout the house.

Central to the house, both aesthetically and structurally is a stone wall that mirrors a ridge on the building site and emphasizes regional products using a combination of Montana moss rock and a chief cliff blend in the main living areas on both levels.

Western Design: Mountain Zen

Streamlined and ethereal interior style redefine a Montana ski lodge

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

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 Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance 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: 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: Staying Power
Photography by Roger Wade  
January 2013


When Steve and Sascha Taylor came to Reid Smith Architects, they had lofty visions for their home in Montana’s Yellowstone Club.

“I just wanted to feel like the house was floating in the trees,” said Steve. And Sascha asked the architect to “make it magical.”

Undaunted by those requests, Reid Smith, principal of the Bozeman-based firm rose to the task by focusing on the fundamentals first: site, function and form.

A prominent stone ridge on the hillside lot inspired the central line of the house. Structurally, the ridge literally translated to a primary load-bearing wall made of native stone that defines both the home’s orientation on the site and the aesthetic connection to place. The stonework runs throughout the house, from exterior to interior, on both levels.

Like the ridge itself, the home extends slightly upward and out across the views of Pioneer and Cedar mountains. With single-slanted rooflines and streamlined forms, the contemporary shape is a relative departure from the classic mountain homes at the club.

“Architecturally it’s bold,” said Smith, “but from a standpoint of mass, it’s on the subtle side.”

Operating on the “less is more” design theory, Smith worked closely with Teton Heritage Builders to achieve a design that was understated, linear and mirrored the landscape. That translated to a fluid, modern structure that showcased the surrounding mountains, rather than the architecture.

“We wanted to build a home that was cutting-edge mountain contemporary,” explained Steve.

From the moment the immense bronze door swings open at the front of the house, the view is all consuming. Through the entry, floor to ceiling windows span Pioneer and Cedar. Step down, turn to the right, where the open lifestyle space flows from living to kitchen to dining area and Lone Peak soars overhead. Glass, wood and stone frame the spectacular vistas without overshadowing them.

“This contemporary style makes for a very simple form that maximizes views,” noted Smith from a practical standpoint.

Defying the notion that “modern” interior design is “cold,” the home is full of textures and surfaces that evoke nature and simplicity. Inside, favorite rustic elements, such as stone and recycled timber from Montana Reclaimed Lumber are present, but the application in the sleekest modernist form sets the interior apart from typical mountain style. The use of a muted color scheme — stonewash, brown and black, punctuated by colorful graphic artwork, and of course, the immense Montana sky outside — lends the living spaces a distinct air of serenity.

Working with a designer, Steve and Sascha were intricately involved with all stages of the project. The couple enjoyed the process so much that they opened Earth Elements Design Center in Bozeman. The showroom features building supplies sourced from around the world. Much like their home, the business showcases products that emphasize clean, contemporary style with rustic elements as a connector.

The home satisfies the Taylors’ multi-year search for the ideal mountain getaway. They did their homework in ski towns across the U.S. — Vail and Aspen, Park City, Tahoe, Sun Valley. Finally, they came to Big Sky, though they’d heard the infrastructure was a bit “under-developed” in the community. But after two hours at the Yellowstone Club, they knew they wanted to be in Montana. They bought a lot two weeks later.

“We fell in love with Yellowstone Club because of the membership, and the mountain was great — we couldn’t ski all of it in a day,” said Steve.

Ultimately, the couple’s vision for the house is complete. “It’s better than I ever imagined it would be,” said Sascha. There is indeed a sensation of floating in the trees and a feeling of magic.

A “floating” staircase with a custom-designed glass and steel railing extends the ethereal atmosphere of the home.

The lowered ceiling of the entryway offers an intimate embrace for visitors before the volume of the great room unfurls its mountain views.

The ski room, with a radiant-heated travertine floor is functional and streamlined, providing ample room for gear storage in lockers and the luxury of boot heaters on the way out to the ski-in/ski-out access of some of America’s best alpine terrain.

Even in the master bath, windows and custom light fixtures continue the statement of minimalism with maximum impact.

The master bedroom displays the distinct materials used throughout the home — stone, glass and wood — all applied en force in the fireplace wall, the mirror-ball light fixture and the reclaimed wood of the main wall.