Nestled on 4.5 acres in the eastern outskirts of Whitefish, Montana, the Railway Residence is located at the nexus of three defining features: the Whitefish Range to the north, Great Northern Mountain, bookended by the Swan Range and Saddleback Mountain to the east, and connecting the two, the Great Northern Railroad. The design of this 3,500-square-foot home captures and frames these landmarks through simple, gabled forms that loosely recall the agrarian vernacular architecture throughout the region. Together with contemporary detailing, the house captures the familiarity of the past while providing the functionality and performance of today.
The living area, home office, music studio, garage and storage are divided into four primary volumes arranged around a central court. The spatial organisation enables the family of four to have distinct public and private zones. Short, low-slung, glazed walkways connect the cedar-clad gabled forms and emphasise movement from one zone to another. Windows are pulled up to the underside of roof eaves, bringing a modern sensibility to traditional building forms.
A barn, original to the site, was restored and now provides storage and a backdrop for the homeowner’s photography business. The interiors adopt a European-inspired aesthetic made evident through simple, clean lines and a limited yet warm material palette. White walls and concrete floors, made comfortable through energy efficient, radiant, in-floor heating that’s paired with a heat recovery ventilator, unify the interior aesthetic. Large windows showcase the dramatic mountain vistas.
To accentuate the views in the living and dining room, one of the walls is angled toward a view of the Great Northern Mountain. The interiors are pulled together by highlighting similar colours and textures throughout the space. High performance doors and triple-pane windows round out the performance initiatives. From the placement on the lot to the simple cedar siding to the accents of texture and colour throughout, all these elements together create a sustainably responsible house that celebrates family life and the surrounding landscape.