07 Apr Wild Rose
WHEN ANDREW BRECHBUHLER FIRST GLIMPSED THE SITE FOR THE KLANN family’s home in Bozeman, Montana, he immediately knew this project was destined to take full advantage of the stunning views. “Our approach is always to design for the site,” says Brechbuhler, principal architect at Brechbuhler Architects. “This parcel has spectacular views, both of the Bridgers and the Gallatin Range. It was on a slightly sloping lot, and that allowed us to design a walk-out onto the lower level, with doors that go out to grade.” From the back of the home, it appears as if the lower level is the main level, complete with a patio.
The clients have a large extended family, and therefore required two guest rooms, a bunk room, recreational room, and kids’ playroom on the lower level. The 4,500-square-foot house, built on 2.5 half acres, ended up with four bedrooms, a master suite, an office, an open layout for the kitchen, great room, and dining area, and a covered porch with an outdoor fireplace. The large, welcoming front entry doubles as a covered porch.
“These guys have four kids, and so do I, so we understood each other well,” says Brechbuhler, who has worked in Bozeman for 23 years and has owned his firm for 12. “They wanted a place where the whole family could stay, including their grandkids. And they wanted the house to have a Montana feel but not a mountain cabin feel. Our client has very good taste, and we reacted to her aesthetic with a refined feel that was fun and interesting.”
The Klanns hired Brechbuhler after interviewing several architects. “Before the pencil hit the paper, we had two or three meetings talking about what we wanted and what was important to us,” says homeowner Jennie Klann. “It was unbelievable. When the design came back, he took what we said, our wish list, and turned it into a floor plan. It was art.”
Through the use of 3-D modeling, Brechbuhler was able to show the Klanns exactly how the house would turn out, walking them in and out of each room. “Every room had a perfect view,” Jennie says. “As changes needed to be made, they were made, but nothing was complicated. It was a great experience and a collaborative process.”
The most unique element is the large skylight in the great room, which allows natural light to encompass an area that would see a good amount of use. “It made for a dramatic feel in that space,” Brechbuhler says. “We spent the time making sure all the spaces were well thought out.”
Another subtle and unique aspect of the house is the way Brechbuhler incorporated the shape of the skyline into the roof design. “The asymmetry on the exterior of the home is a reaction to the slope of the site as well as the forms of the Bridger Mountain Range,” he says. “We were very careful about the proportions of the roofline in how it relates to the site as well as the surroundings.”
The most important factor, Brechbuhler notes, is the same for all projects: communication. “We always make sure we understand our clients and the design direction they’re comfortable with,” he says. “This client is in the hospitality business, and she had a lot of experience designing spaces. So we talked in terms of how they would use this space and what features it would have so it works for them.”
Another important aspect of the home is the quality of work by Dovetail Construction. Because it’s a company that Brechbuhler works with often, he feels confident that they can execute any design he gives to them.
“Dovetail is very fond of that home; we found it to be quite clean and crisp,” says Tim Rote, a partner in Dovetail Construction and the vice president of business operations. “We were able to incorporate some beautiful natural materials and finishes. Our in-house craftsmen are extremely proud of the skylight/clerestory. An element like that takes coordination and perfect implementation for a system that creates a natural light atrium effect throughout the great room and kitchen.”
All the home’s cabinetry was crafted in Dovetail’s cabinet shop, including the dark walnut kitchen island, with a smartly placed undermount sink. Rote also notes the custom barn door his craftsmen designed and created. “It’s a 450-pound barn door that we built out of reclaimed white oak to provide access into the woodshop off of the three-car garage,” Rote says. “It’s always exciting for the craftsmen at Dovetail to build homeowners a woodshop.”
Rote also credits the solid work of the subcontractors for the project’s success, including the tiling and other elements that required outside help. “I’ve been in the construction industry for over 35 years,” Rote says. “My partner Kevin and I are both veterans of the construction industry, and with that, we bring a high level of expertise and care to our customers. We pride ourselves on [being transparent with] costs and schedules and always try our best to maintain those elements.”
For the Klann family, the house turned out to be a perfect fit. “Everything was in the right place, and the attention to detail was unbelievable,” Jennie says. “It was a joy-filled process.”