Montana Cabin

Montana’s nickname, “Big Sky Country” is self-explanatory once you hit a long stretch of highway uninterrupted by the mountains that the state is also famous for. How inspiring it is to be in a place where the sky just stretches out to the edge of the world in such a lovely, sharp shade of blue. While designing this small guest cabin, I was compelled to make Montana come alive in the interior since I knew it would be home mostly to first-time visitors to the state.


I worked with a local contractor to do a remodel and renovation of a building that had been constructed in the late 80’s. We worked from the outside in and tried to tie the architecture to a new home that had recently been built on the property. New siding, windows, doors, and an entryway led to a lovely two bedroom, one bath home for people vacationing on the property. We installed bamboo flooring, granite counters, custom made cherry built-ins, and a collection of Eames Bubble pendants.


With renovation done, I got to work on the details: selecting photographs and art, restoring an antique walnut table that had been in the family for 50 years, finding vintage Woolworth blankets, designing a hand carved cherry banister and adding in some Asian and Native American inspired decor to punctuate the interior.


I wanted to use “Big Sky” Montana aqua blue as an accent color. And I wanted the rest of the colors to feel soft and earthy. I used linen and soft whites to reflect the endless clouds as well as the canvas found on Native American teepees. I was inspired by the pussy willows that bloom in spring on the property, the rocks found in the nearby lake, and rich wood colors found in the bark of the pines that surround the structure. But most of all, I was inspired by Sharon Beal’s photographic collection of birds’ nests used by researchers to study birds DNA and habitats. The photographs make for beautiful art, especially shown as a collection and I had a hard time selecting just six for the home.


The original space consisted of one room with a bath and small kitchen. We transformed it by pushing out two eaves and carving out two additional bedrooms so that an entire family could stay there comfortably. The interior flooring was linoleum and carpeting. Just resurfacing the floors in bamboo created a drastic improvement. The drywall, paint colors, and recessed lighting were all dated, as was the bathroom in the cabin.