CTA’s design team worked closely with our clients throughout site selection for this mountain rustic cabin in Rock Creek Cattle Company (Deer Lodge, MT). Initially, they looked at a lot focused on mountain views, but RCCC opened up new lots along the creek with views they preferred. Our clients jumped at the opportunity, bought two lots, and combined them, the new combo property featuring a ridge and full view of a bend in Rock Creek. During our first walk of the new site with the clients, however, it became evident the home we had been designing to this point would no longer work.
We scrapped the original plan and started fresh with the new site. After spending time walking the site, taking in the view and the great sound of the creek below, we began to realize we needed to develop a very narrow plan that worked with the topography and really captured and maximized the views. In addition to the ridge topography, one of the challenges was a road located on the opposite side of the creek, creating a further constrained site. We also wanted to break from the norm of the creek cabins at RCCC — they tend to be dark due to the heavy tree cover and topography.
The clients were great to work with; they understood the vision for the project and let us run with it. After a few massing vignettes, the house began to take shape through simple forms and clean lines. In reviewing the survey, we realized the ridge we were attempting to put the house on was not as linear as initially thought, and instead had a break in it. We took advantage of this by dividing the design into two buildings connected by a glazed breezeway, separating the more public entertaining space from the private master suite and office.
Site and floor plans
As we dove into more detail, the clients expressed their desire to layer in as much of the outdoors as possible. When they are in Montana, they want to enjoy it; and with view and sounds of the creek, who could argue? As the floor plan took shape, we started to play with the indoor/outdoor connection. We wanted to make sure every room had a view of the creek, natural light, and natural ventilation. The plan also took advantage of several patios and outdoor spaces to offer flexible hangout spaces; this included spans from the private creek-side patio to the fully screened-in and covered patio at the great room and kitchen. The screened-in patio offers the ability to open the entire house up to the outdoors while keeping creepy-crawlies and flies out of the living space. The plan also features two, large bi-fold glass doors that allow opening up 16 ft. and 12 ft. of wall space to the exterior patio.
Alongside interior design firm Carter Kay, we strove to further lighten the house with material choices. To add to the clean lines, it was proposed to move forward with some rustic materials, but to have them detailed in such a way to make them feel “lighter.” The project includes no drywall, deploying 1×4 plank boards, painted with a whitewash, to give the walls and ceiling more interest. The materiality of the house was a marriage of rustic materials with clean line design and detailing to create a fresh product under the more rustic-leaning design guidelines.