A LUXURIOUS, YET NON–TRADITIONAL HOMESTEAD IN MONTANA’S EXCLUSIVE STOCK FARM GOLF COMMUNITY ACHIEVES THE PERFECT BALANCE OF BIG SKY AND BIG STYLE.
Wildlife. Horses. Nearby rivers for trout fishing. Millions of acres of forested public land and pristine mountains for outdoor recreation. Add in a championship Tom Fazio golf course and a community whose mascots are a small group of beloved Clydesdales, and you have Montana’s Stock Farm, a unique golf club with privately owned residences in the heart of the Bitterroot Valley.
The Stock Club, ten miles from the old timber and mining town of Hamilton, was originally part of a 22,000-acre ranch bought in 1889, by Irish immigrant turned copper magnate, Marcus Daly. Daly, one of the most influential and well-known businessmen in America at the turn of the century, bought the property to house his thoroughbred horse operation. He named it the “Bitterroot Stock Farm.”
Daly also founded the nearby town of Hamilton in 1890. “Riverside,” Daly’s family compound—a fifty-acre estate and National Historic Site—still stands on the Stock Farm Club property. Today, the club, which is open to members and sponsored guests, is an impressive 2,600 acres of unspoiled western real estate. The exclusive enclave is situated in the “banana belt” of Montana, that boasts 270 days of sunshine a year.
It proved an easy choice for an Arizona couple looking to build a summer residence far from the three-digit temperatures of the Sonoran desert.
With the guidance and expertise of Locati Architects, the collaborative effort began.
The challenge was to design and build a home that would honor the aesthetics, integrity and architectural mandates of the Stock Farm Club, while still fulfilling the couple’s dream for a progressive residence. The couples requests would seem at odds to many designers: both rustic and contemporary; a hybrid between handsome, traditional timber log homes, and the modern farmhouse or classic ranch styles.
Architects Jerry Locati and Greg Dennee headed the venture, assisted by builder craftsman, Robert Webster. The homeowners, with spot on instincts for what would complement the space, personally took on the challenge of interior design.
Simple geometrical forms with a strong presence and a modern feel were the agreed upon starting point. The use of natural and reclaimed materials, many of them indigenous to Montana, would create a sense of the structure melding effortlessly into the site’s rolling hills and stands of cottonwood trees. The Locati team, celebrated for its talent to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces, went to work.
For the exterior, muted shades of fir complement natural stack stone that was quarried in Northwestern Montana, also used in the low standing walls around the home.
The dramatic entrance features a front door opening directly into a glass hallway, that in turn faces and opens out onto the central patio, immediately creating a flow of indoor and outdoor living that continues throughout the residence.
A contemporary metal roof protects the outdoor dining and kitchen areas; when festivities move indoors to the great room, floor-to-ceiling, paned windows framed in aluminum showcase the majestic Bitterroot Mountain range to the west and the softer, rolling Sapphires to the east. Elements of this great room epitomize the design concept employed by the Locati team: the restrained use of a few architectural elements with great presence.
An enormous stone slab was brought in for fireplace seating, and uneven blocks of stone bank the metal surround of the hearth. Massive, 100-year-old beams of reclaimed fir combined with mechanical trusses (highlighted with wooden pegs) provide ample structural support. The grid-accented windows provide contrast with their edgy, industrial, storefront feel. Rather than a chandelier, two strands of precisely placed cable lights cast a soft starlit-sky ambiance.
The kitchen’s stunning looks belie its pragmatic usefulness. The lack of traditionally placed high cabinets keeps the view and access open, and imbues a spacious and stylish feel. A commercial-grade cooktop hood, cabinetry and shelving—all of stainless steel—balance the walnut flooring. A brilliant green-glass island top is flat on the surface and rippled underneath, creating a river-like mirage.
The main living spaces are in the center of the structure, and the design branches out on either side, accommodating the more private living areas. These include three guest suites, the master suite, and an artist’s studio with dual garage doors that can be opened for maximum ventilation—and the sense of plein air painting.
Various sections of the home are artfully linked with curved hallways of rich wood and abundant glass which collect the golden light and jaw-dropping views, and deepen the connection to the natural surroundings.