Location is everything for most cabin owners — from the views to the ambience to the outdoor connection. Having an immediate connection with the community also helps.
East Coast natives Richard and Nancy Rote were drawn to Bozeman, Montana, for the friendly residents, the university atmosphere and the culture. Richard had often fly-fished in the area during summertime, and with family nearby, their decision in 2006 to purchase the property on which their cabin sits was a simple one.
Of course, majestic views can’t hurt.
Located in the Gallatin Valley, the cabin is surrounded by four exquisite mountain ranges: the Bridger Mountains to the north, the Hyalite Mountains to the east, the Spanish Peaks to the south and the Tobacco Root Mountains to the west. The predominantly one-level design, with ample windows in the great room and transition areas, captures these views with its targeted siting.
“Any window you look out, you’re getting a different view corridor that brings the outdoors to the inside of the house,” Richard observes.
Equally important to the views, though, was a cabin that suited the surrounding area. The couple traveled around Bozeman and snapped pictures of homes they liked to help shape the look of the cabin. The end result is a mix of authentic, timeworn materials and modern elements.
“I was looking for something that reflected the architecture of old homes,” Richard explains. “It seemed to me the old homesteads started with a base house. As the years progressed, additions were put onto the original house. If you look at our house, it’s not one rectangular structure.”
The exterior materials used also resemble that of an old homestead. Dovetail Construction, owned by the couple’s son, Tim, and his friend Kevin Sullivan, hand-selected the local reclaimed, re-sawn Douglas fir timbers that anchor the cabin’s appearance from old buildings based on their wealth of character.
“We played on the older construction motif of incorporating various exterior materials,” Tim states, noting the varied use of local stone, stucco and metal, as well as the horizontal and vertical orientation of the timber siding.
The owners’ forethought on their cabin’s design also shines through in the aging-in-place features that ensure this retirement cabin remains functional for years to come. The couple worked with Dovetail Construction and Tammy Minge at Frog Rock Design to create an open plan that is easily accessible through wide-open doorways and grade-level paving around the cabin, with only one 6-inch step located on the main entry.
“We’ve had people who are physically challenged in wheelchairs here. It’s easy for them to enter by themselves as well as with the aid of one other person,” Richard observes.
The main living areas are all located on the ground level, separated from the two main-level bedrooms by well-designed transition spaces that serve as sitting areas and outdoor access points. The open layout provides great sight lines throughout the home and to the outdoors. An upper-level bonus room is reserved as a private room for guests.
Entertaining was an important factor in the design as well. In addition to being easily navigable, the open cabin kitchen layout provides immediate access to the great room and dining room.
“We wanted to see our guests,” Nancy states.
One of Nancy’s favorite features in the kitchen is the pantry, hidden behind an ornately carved antique door. Ample space allows her to categorize everything so that she doesn’t have to hunt around for the right foodstuffs.
The welcoming aesthetic of the beam work and timber accents showcased throughout this hybrid timber cabin also makes it easy for anyone to feel at home.
“Everything’s not overwhelming,” Kevin Sullivan observes. “The amount of timberwork, the ceiling heights and the relationships throughout that whole public area — it just feels very homey.”
With these and other details planned so well in advance, the only adjustment the Rotes had to make was acclimating to the Montana winters.
“We heard people say they would go away in April. Back east, that’s the start of spring,” Richard jokes. “We found out why people went away then — we pray spring starts in May.”
Square footage: 2,875
Architect: Frog Rock Design (406-586-0805; frogrockdesign.com)
Builder/general contractor; built-in components; garage doors; stairs; stucco: Dovetail Construction (406-585-8858; dovetailmontana.com)
Cabinetry: Medallion Cabinetry (medallioncabinetry.com)
Doors: Valley Glass & Windows (888-626-0581; valleyglassandwindows.com)
Landscape designer: Mayville Landscaping (406-388-4439; mayvillelandscaping.com)
Lighting designer: Edison Electrical Contractors (406-522-0242)
Roofing: GAF (800-766-3411; gaf.com)
Slate/tile: Unger Stone & Tile
Stain: Sherwin-Williams – WoodScapes in Banyan Brown (800-474-3794; sherwin-williams.com)
Stamped concrete patios: Northwest Concrete Services (406-580-4690; nwconcretemt.com)
Sound system: Smart Home Systems (406-388-0676; shs-mt.com)
Timber provider: Montana Reclaimed Lumber (406-763-9102; mtreclaimed.com)
Windows: Eagle Window & Door (855-324-5314; eaglewindow.com)