Craftsman Details: Bigfork home showcases Craftsman, Montana styles
February 09, 2011
BY DAVE REESE/MONTANA LIVING
Front Entry of home by Stoddard Construction. Photo by Heidi Long, Longview Studio
Kitchen showcases rock, Italian influences, and thick cabinetry./Photos by Heidi Long, Longview Studio
Master bedroom in home from Stoddard Construction. Photos by Heidi Long, Longview Studio
When you walk into this home near the Swan River in Bigfork, you immediately get a sense of comfort, intimacy and serenity.
The design of this stone and timber frame home puts Craftsman details within a Montana vernacular, all leading to a final product that has been one of Craig Stoddard’s resounding successes.
Stoddard, a second-generation home builder, created this home in the rolling foothills of the Swan Mountains in a setting where the home fits comfortably and naturally. Using natural timbers and an abundance of Montana stone, the home seems as if it grew out of the ground.
“Everything here just seemed to come together,” Stoddard said.
Stoddard has built homes in Montana for nearly 20 years, combing aspects of certain homes with others, and continually refining his design and construction. “We design a home as if we’d live in it,” he said. “It’s a continuing evolution of ideas. This is one of the favorite homes we’ve done.”
The great room and kitchen of this home are adjoining. In the kitchen are knotty cherry cabinets, built by Cornerstone Cabinetry, with two-inch-thick doors, rough granite counters and Italian influences throughout. The design treatment gives a consistent feeling of mass and weight in the kitchen. Craftsman details in kitchen include thick cabinet doors that make the cabinets appear almost as furniture — a reflection of when Craftsman-style builders were also the cabinet makers and furniture makers in a home. Craftsmen on this project were Blue Lake Joinery, Cornerstone Cabinetry, Legendary Finishes, Damon Designs, Best Wood Flooring and Buckeye Hardwoods.
Reclaimed wood inside the home is done tastefully, shying away from “rustic” but still giving the home a sense of nature and roots in the natural landscape. “I‘ve always loved the mountain areas, and the integration between the stone and timbers,” Stoddard said. “A lot of our designs are inspired by that.”
The 4,600-square-foot home was built in 11 months by Stoddard’s expert team of contractors. After 19 years in the Montana building industry, Stoddard has amassed a solid team. “They know the quality that we require,” he said. “And they share the same passion that we do. It’s not just the passion of my wife, Dana, and I that builds a great home … the subcontractors’ passion goes into it as well.”
Keeping the interior ceiling heights fairly low helped lend to the sense of intimacy in the home. Stoddard also designed the home so that when you enter the front door, you get a view, through the great room, of the landscape. This helps create the sense of “home” that often gets overlooked in a design, Stoddard said.
“We design a home so what when you enter it, you are not walking into a wall or walking down a hallway,” Stoddard said. “It’s a more welcoming feeling when you enter the home.”
The home reflects how a smaller home, under 5,000 square feet, can be luxurious yet not be opulent and out of budget for the budget-conscious home buyer of today. “We’re not seeing so much of the big homes now,” Stoddard said. “People can actually build as nice of a home, it just doesn’t have to be 9,000 or 10,000 square feet.”
Stoddard, whose father was an architect, enjoys the process of starting out with an idea, a piece of land and build it into a family’s home. His passion for designing and building has continued, despite a slowdown in the Montana building industry. “I want to be doing this when I’m in my 70s,” he said.