By the time Rick Barnes was just out of college, he had already hatched a utopian vision of his future, which included a log home. He was so sure of this that he bought a buffalo skin 15 years ago to complement the Native American-influenced decor his home would highlight.

Twenty years later, Rick is living the dream, right down to the handcrafted lodgepole pine log walls and a collection of brilliant paintings celebrating Lakota Indian culture.

Sense of Place
In addition to foretelling that he would one day build with logs, Rick also knew where his home would be. “When I was right out of college, I heard someone mention Whitefish, Montana,” says the Colorado native. “Since then, it’s been in the back of my mind.”

The town, which is split by railroad tracks and graced by a gorgeous lake, turned out to be the kind of paradise he was after.

Inner Beauty
Interior designer Barb Cooke worked with the themes Rick and Anita wanted to incorporate into their decor and created a distinct look that unifies the home’s unique shapes, colors and symbols.

This meant combining neutral and earthy tones for the furniture with brilliant accents, such as the bright blue wall in the foyer, stained-glass floor lamp in the great room and, of course, the J. Nelson paintings that are this home’s signature.

“It’s just a relaxing, comfortable place,” says Anita. “Our friends have been amazed. When you shut the door, everything else seems so far away. It’s an inviting place, and we come here to get away from the daily grind. For us, it’s an escape.”

The full story ran in the October 2006 issue of Log Home Living.