It’s hard to imagine that a home so comfortably rooted in its Montana landscape is also a perfect example of the Japanese term Shibumi. In the world of Zen art, fashion, and design, the concept of Shibumi is central. Shibumi translates in the broadest stroke as effortless perfection. It is a near-impossible-to-obtain goal that requires tremendous skill to achieve, beginning with restraint. It balances simplicity, subtlety, tranquility, and naturalness, and is as much about what is left out as what is included. It is always meant to inspire you, to offer you a place to exist within yourself while drawing you closer to nature.
This 2 bedroom home, designed by Van Bryan Studio Architects, and built in 2012, brings the elegant sophistication of cutting-edge modern Western design into the forefront of Shibumi. The house comfortably sits atop a gentle swell of land embraced by rich meadows, farmland, fenced pastures, an apple orchard, and the mouth of Bostwick Canyon at the base of the Bridger Mountains. Located less than a 20 minute drive from either the heart of historic downtown Bozeman or the Yellowstone International Airport, the ranch-style home is ideally sited on a knoll that commands sweeping views of the Gallatin Valley. Take a seat on the wide veranda porch, and you’ll never tire of gazing at the rugged Spanish Peaks due south across the valley, the Tobacco Roots to the west, and Little Belt Mountains to the north. The property itself is cradled by the front range of the mighty Bridgers, with access to the Bridger’s public lands close by. Sacajawea and Ross Peak, along with Mt. Baldy, dominate the property's gorgeous eastern view, with the sunlight dancing on peaks, gullies, and forests teeming with wildlife.
The nearly 146 acres are anchored by the historic Kennedy barn, worthy of any coffee table book with its classic oxblood red paint, white trim windows, and wide-planked wood flooring. The big barn door opens into the spacious stable and stalls with a large overhead loft for hay storage. The accumulation of earthy fragrances from years of use let you know this barn is the real deal, with cattle chutes across the yard and the babbling, year-round, Stimson Creek beside it.
You enter the property through metal gates created by J R Digideo. Inspired by gates at a ranch on the island of Majorca, they set the stage for the deceptively simple home with its low-pitched gable roof and clean, easy lines. There’s a wide covered porte-cochere at the front entryway for parking your car. The concrete parking apron has been board-formed when poured and treated afterwards to appear weathered. A metal chandelier, suspended with metal rods from the timber support beams, was custom made by Russ Fry of Bozeman, as was all the other major light fixtures inside the home.
Standing at the home’s welcoming entrance, the understated excellence of the materials begins to draw your attention. The home’s apron of board-poured concrete transitions to reclaimed, vertically-positioned, fir siding and timbers, with a roof of cold rolled corrugated steel. La Loma windows are wire brushed and finished rustic, complementing the reclaimed fir. From the ground up, boulders, stone, reclaimed wood, and reclaimed timbers solidly work together with the surrounding land to create the sparseness that is focused and clear. The home melds its inside environment with the outside in seamless perfection, making use of numerous windows and glass doors, covered decks, patios and walkways. The reverence for nature extends to even the “stone” patios and walkways, which are actually reclaimed concrete tediously cut and fashioned to resemble prized flagstone.
The home is embraced with its gardens. Softening the transition from the structure to the meadows and fields, and three fenced pastures, famed landscape designer Linda Iverson has utilized native plants in strategically placed beds, lined with stones to match the home’s stone walls. The gardens unify and transition the outdoor entertaining areas, and the lap pool, with the rural setting.
Thick beams set in rocks support the shed roof and covered entry porch off the porte-cochere. The solid wood front door opens into a transition foyer and the great room beyond. The great room is the true heart of the home, with the gourmet kitchen on the east end, and the living room and stone fireplace on the west end. Throughout the space, there is an abundance of windows and double glass French doors opening to the porches, providing a space bathed in natural light, with tremendous views, and a sense of being someplace very special.
The living room has 12’ ceilings which transition to 11’ in the kitchen and dining areas of the great room, visually defining the different areas within the room. The true plaster walls, diamond finished and with the patina of buckskin, emphasize the richness of the reclaimed walnut floors. Along with the plaster walls, reclaimed timber beams, reclaimed white oaks cabinets, and Rocky Mountain hardware are consistent materials throughout the home. The living room fireplace is stone, with a slab stone hearth, and balances the interior and exterior stone walls used in strategic locations. The metal fireplace screen mirrors the “wave” motif incorporated at the entry gates.
The kitchen features a very large reclaimed white oak square island in the center of the room that includes bar seating and a farmhouse sink. Stained a rich hazelnut, the Bona finish provides a muted luster. Metal in varying forms is integral to the design elements, being utilized in numerous ways such as the hand forged metal legs supporting the island, the metal banding around the island’s edge, the oversized metal brackets supporting the open wood wall shelving, and the metal light fixtures. The kitchen is all stainless steel Thermador appliances including a 4 burner plus griddle range with a roomy oven, an additional wall oven and microwave, French door refrigerator, and dishwasher. The oversized farm sink is even stainless but with a custom finish. Generous counters run along both sides of the kitchen as well as the back wall and are a striking brushed black granite. Between the kitchen and living room is a bay window area with a built in “U” shaped bench and table that comfortably seats 6 to 7 people.
The master suite, on the west side of the home, begins with an office that has a trio of north-facing windows and built in desk. The bedroom itself has two sets of glass French doors to the south-facing covered porch and windows to the west. Beefy, hand forged metal rods hold the window curtains, while the plaster walls and walnut flooring sets off the most rustic reclaimed wood used on the wall behind the custom made bed. The bath is more luxurious than the finest spa, with slab Carrara marble used for the tub’s deck surround and for the floor and bench in the extra large, glass fronted shower. The vanity has double sinks, reclaimed white oak cabinets, and Rocky Mountain faucets. A charming Moroccan chandelier is over the tub. The carpeted walk-in closets are roomy and well organized.
The very private guest suite is at the east end of the home. The gracious and spacious room has double glass doors opening onto the yard. The guest bath area is accessed through a sliding barn door. As with the rest of the home, the windows are recessed in the plaster walls, with wood casings. Glass doors and windows throughout are large picture glass with divided upper windows.
The powder room is stylish and in keeping with the rest of the house. The vanity, which is a wood counter, is held aloft with metal legs to match the kitchen island legs. The handmade Russ Fry metal scones are cube shaped, as are others located in different areas of the home.
The mud room, which has a glass door to the east, has stained concrete floors, lots of built-in cabinets, and coat hooks. The laundry room, located in the hall area connecting the mud room to the front foyer, has a GE washer and dryer, as well as storage cabinets. The home has forced air heat, air conditioning, a sound system, and a setting that is unbelievably beautiful.
Step outside any of the numerous south-facing doors and the kitchen’s back door onto the wide covered porch. The shed roof is supported by timbers set in a row in such a manner as to recall the wild days of western frontier towns. You want to lean back in a chair, prop up your legs, pull your hat low, and take a snooze. The birds and creek provide the background sounds, while the bucolic scenery and sense of the vastness of surrounding lands lulls you into a very tranquil place. Hard to beat the star gazing here, and few places better to be than around the backyard fire pit or swimming laps in the pool while falling stars zip across the infinite sky.
This home has no covenants and the opportunity to build additional structures or to add on to the existing home. It has been minimally lived-in and is in mint, move-in condition. Horses, cows, and chickens welcome!