If you want to unplug and enjoy the breathtaking scenery that Montana has to offer, head to The North Fork. Located only a mile from Glacier National Park and three miles from the Canadian border, this small community operates on off-grid generators and solar power, with no cell phone reception for miles.
“That’s exactly why we chose to build here,” said Bill, owner of a three-level log home. What attracted Bill and his wife Luann to the area is also what created a unique challenge for builder Scott Leigh. “To get to the site, we had to drive 60 miles up a gravel road, sometimes in terrible weather, and then have no cell phone reception the entire time we were there,” Scott said. To minimize the difficult commute, he would stay onsite with his workers four days a week and then drive back to his office on Friday and gather more building materials.
The layout and design of the three-bedroom, three-bath log home was a collaborative effort that included Scott, Bill and Luann and designer Eric Bachofner whose company provided the 12-inch Swedish cope, hand-hewn lodgepole pine logs.
Because the site had an unspoiled view of Kintla Peak in Glacier National Park, the scenery was a major influence on the design. “Bill’s big push was centered on how the house was oriented,” said Scott. “He wanted the bay windows to face the mountain range, so we sat out there together with a compass and the floor plans and made it happen.”
The other key essential was a dining bay with 14-foot ceilings that Bill saw on another floor plan and wanted to incorporate into his own log home. The room features large windows with a 270-degree view of the horizon. Western larch logs provide structural support for the roof, but also create a unique “speckled” design leading up to the ceiling.
Not to be outdone by the dining bay, the kitchen boasts amazing views that “look straight out into Lewis and Clark country,” according to Bill, and is decorated to transition seamlessly into the dining and great rooms in the home’s open design.
To complement the logs, Kurt Kress was brought in to create the kitchen’s custom cabinetry from knotty alder. He applied several layers of stain, glaze and lacquer before heavily distressing the doors to give them an antiqued look. He chose a deep brown hue with green undertones that plays off the copper farm sink framed with two handmade newel posts. Seeded-glass panels were inserted into several upper cabinets as accents. Crema Bordeaux granite countertops complete the rich look of the space with copper features that mirror the same accents found throughout the home.
If you want to disconnect from the wired world, Bill and Luann’s home is certainly the place to do it. And you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop than some of the most spectacular scenery in North America.
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