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French Twist

With the help of Amish builders, a French couple crafts a unique home.

As a child in France, Jacques Berten dreamed of building a log home. Decades later, he and his wife Patricia visited a dude ranch in Montana, fell in love with the area, and decided to retire there.

Four years ago, the Bertens settled in northwestern Montana, the heart of the state’s Amish country. Many Amish builders specialize in log home construction, and the Bertens hired Dwayne Keim of North West Log Homes in Rexford, Montana. Jacques and Patricia were always available, but mostly they stood back and allowed Dwayne, his crew and their talent to shine.

Built from 14-inch standing dead lodgepole pine, the 2,200-square-foot home that sits on a wooded hillside and overlooks two creeks was done in seven short months. The crew built a house, an office and two barns in record time.

No area shines brighter than the kitchen where multicolored mosaics, yellow-stained maple cabinets and retro barstools break the mold of the typical European kitchen. A local artist designed the bold backsplash and bar mosaics.

The two-bedroom, two-bath home’s most unusual feature is how few windows there are. The Bertens eschewed windows because Jacques, a former maritime antiques dealer, wanted wall space to display his collection of paintings and “furniture with a soul.” (This is how Jacques describes his grandfather clock, an 18th-century desk and a huge wood table from a convent.) But it gets plenty of sunlight from a large 28-foot-tall window in the back of the house.

Published in Log Home Living
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