A beautiful Craftsman-style home in Montana
Reader Marion Kello has sent us photos of her fabulous house and matching garage with loft apartment. We’ll have a look at the garage loft tomorrow. Today, Marion takes us on a virtual tour of her home.
My husband Jim and I fell in love with our not-so-big-house the minute we saw it while relocating to Hamilton, Montana in late 2006. It was much smaller than the typical new house in the Bitterroot Valley. The house was about 90% complete and was being built as a spec house by local craftsman builder Ben Stoddard. The architect was Lee Kierig, also of Hamilton.
I’ll never forget pulling up to the house located in what we consider a very eclectic, downtown neighborhood of older houses. We were blown away by the cedar sided, beautifully crafted gem with the high peak and almost A-frame or lodge type feel. It was actually the first house our agent showed me (my husband Jim had done some house hunting without me), and I knew the second I saw it that I wanted it. I also knew as soon as Jim saw it, he’d feel the same.
As I walked up to the spacious and inviting front porch, the detailed and unique style of the columns caught my attention immediately. Each had four wood pillars shooting out of concrete block and stone leading to a board and batten, well lit overhang. All this before I even hit the front door!
I loved the beautiful woodwork and the obvious attention to detail everywhere, as seen in the trim pieces that fit together like a puzzle. Plus, when Ben the builder referred to the house as “she” as in “she’s going to be a beauty when the stone on the front is all finished,” I knew he loved it too, and that was a very good thing in my mind.
I entered the home into a big great room with gorgeous rough sawn fir flooring, five huge windows in the living room to my right, hickory kitchen cabinets with walnut inlays to my left and a custom bar made of recycled barn wood that nicely separates the kitchen from the living room. Straight ahead was a sliding glass door that served as the “back door” and would later lead out to a small deck and our lovely backyard.
I immediately noticed the incredible use of space. Even with three bedrooms in 1,250 square feet, it didn’t feel small. It felt right. We quickly put our offer down, and told Ben to keep going in terms of finishing the home within the style and the manner he had created. We loved his style, and he loved us for trusting him and giving him full artist’s license to complete the house.
The master suite located behind the kitchen is cozy and nice. We have a bed with drawers underneath to maximize the space, and the bathroom is appointed with lovely stone tile floors and huge shower, and the same beautiful hickory cabinets used in the kitchen. I didn’t even realize (nor do I care today) that the master bath has a single vanity. Our room also has three large windows that match the ones found in the living room.
The other two bedrooms are small, only about 100 square feet each, but offer great space with the same huge windows found in the living room offering great natural light. We use one bedroom as an office and the other as a guest room, which fits our needs perfectly.
The other thing we love about our house is our backyard that we built after the house was complete. We call it our “oasis” with stamped and stained concrete, trees, shrubs and flower beds, flower boxes all with automatic sprinklers, plenty of room for our hot tub and tables and chairs for relaxing. We chose to not put any grass in the backyard, as the lawn in front is plenty for us to maintain given our active lifestyle.
It was finding the house that helped us fall in love with small house living. We loved the idea of getting rid of furniture we didn’t need and using/finding furniture with a purpose and storage when possible. Like our bed for instance, and our stacked washer and dryer that fits snugly in a utility closet at the center of the house. We saw the potential for living blissfully in a small, contained, smartly designed house. And, one that is warm, inviting, unique and well-built.
There is one thing we’d change about this house—we don’t have a fire place and would really love one. We know exactly where we’d put it, and some day we just might.
This is our small house bliss story! Thanks for reading.
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Photographs by Marion Kello.
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