From the swimming dock on the trout-stocked pond the span of the Locati Architects-designed home is in full view, with multiple rooflines that mirror the Bridger Mountain Range to the east. Urbani Fisheries designed the pond that anchors the backyard.

Living the Dream

Locati Architects designs a home that responds to landscape and lifestyle
Written by Seabring Davis      Photography by Roger Wade      
Home 2013 / September 2013

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

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 Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision 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: 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 Letter from the Editor: Staying Power

WITHIN JERRY AND KARI LOCATI'S MONTANA HOME there is a place for everything. From the prominent entry gate, to the generous expanse of front door and on to the way in which the elegant interiors seamlessly connect to the outdoor areas, it is a gracious home touched with exquisite detail. For a couple who loves entertaining and recreation, this is a place that effortlessly combines all of their interests.

“Our house is driven by our activities and lifestyle drives the design,” says Jerry, founding principal of Locati Architects in Bozeman, Montana. 

The tour begins at a threshold that gradually leads the eye toward the high, reclaimed timber trusses in the great room, and eventually draws the eye outside toward a painterly property, dappled with sunlight from the nearby pond. Stepping deeper into the living area the scenery envelops the house, but does not detract from the lovely welcome that ensconces anyone who visits. Here, the Locati Architects’ signature rustic materials — timbers, stone, metal and wood — are integrated in a refined fashion. A thoughtful art collection finishes the interior spaces with a connection to the West — Steve Seltzer, Rocky Hawkins, Tom Gilleon and many others — combining a love of landscape, history and contemporary works. A treasured Salvador Dali sketch flanks the stone fireplace and alludes to the couple’s distinguished tastes.

Reclaimed beams arching over the threshold of the Locati residence are precursors to the architectural language throughout the home.

Outdoor living, an essential component in a Montana home.

Incorporating luxurious upholstered furnishings, rugs and antiques adds an element of eclectic refinement to the rustic materials in the great room.

Jerry and Kari spent a year discussing the possibilities of this 20-acre property on the rich flats of farmland near Bozeman. Its beauty is subtle, Jerry notes; there isn’t necessarily a central focus, but more of a panoramic view. That wasn’t a drawback for the Locati team, but instead an opportunity to create design solutions. Layering architectural and landscaping elements, the final design of multiple, low-profile rooflines and natural materials become a self-contained focal point, where ultimately the home seems to echo the length of the Bridger Mountain range in the distance.

“There’s no reason you can’t build your own Disneyland,” muses Locati, as he surveys his backyard, replete with trout pond, flowing creeks, meandering trails, lake house, driving range and guesthouse. The theme-park reference infers Locati’s firm belief that a client’s dream is entirely possible through good architectural design. 

In this case, shaping the property into a dreamscape was intimately connected to the artful work of a talented team of landscape design professionals who contributed to the extensive styling in the back yard, including Lone Pine Landscaping and Mayville Landscaping; Jim Urbani and Jim Saunders for aquatic design. Locati often uses his own home as a model for potential clients to illustrate this point and that fact fostered another level of excellence in the design process. Crediting his fellow partners at 

Continuity of design was carried throughout the home.

The master suite seems opulent with its European influenced interior design elements and golden tones from the plaster walls and the glow of the light that filters through the windows throughout the day.

Locati Architects, brother Steve Locati, Kyle Tage and Greg Dennee, Jerry points out aspects of the house that even he marvels at regularly. General contractor Schlauch Bottcher Construction and handful of local craftsman were essential to Locati’s vision for his home.

It is a mountain lodge, touched with European sophistication. Yet it’s the personal touches, from antiques to friendly family dogs, that override the showcase elements and make it feel every bit the family abode that it is from day to day.

“We fill this house up,” says Kari, who claims the kitchen as her domain. “We love having our family and friends over to share time here.”

Designed to expand and recede comfortably, the house entertains 100 guests or their own family of four. On any given night, the couple cozies up around the kitchen island to share a meal, the corner fire burning, to catch up on family life. “It could be a legacy house,” Kari admits.

This is the third home Jerry has designed for their family and though they appreciate the amenities here, it’s possible it won’t be the last one on the books.

“Architects design their own houses at great peril, for who wants to be trapped in yesterday’s idea?” wrote renowned architect Robert A. M. Stern, of his own cottage in East Hampton, New York. Inspired by Stern, Jerry echoes that sentiment to a degree: “As an architect, designing your own house is really hard because you are your own worst critic,” he admits.

Yet he also champions the idea of home as a constantly evolving thing and something limited only by one’s imagination. 

An ornate antique French armoire completes the dining room, bringing the focus indoors, while the scenic landscape outside remains an ever-present backdrop.

Outdoor living, an essential component in a Montana home.

The home theater is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a movie together.