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Living on the Edge in Montana

This cliff-hanger of a house promises incredible views and an abundance of inviting spaces to take them all in.

Written by Suzanna Logan
Photography by Joe Hilliard


Most homes are built with a simple, singular goal in mind: to provide a place of shelter for your loved ones and belongings. 

But then there are homes that take architecture to the next level. Reaching beyond the ordinary into the realm of possibilities, they transport you to another world. (A world where “WOW!” may be your initial reaction.) 

These homes aren’t just built for shelter; they’re works of art. Anchored onto a rocky outcropping in northwest Montana is just such a place. And, if art imitates life, as the saying goes, this marvel is taking its cues straight from its natural surroundings.

It’s not hard to do. The secluded, 60-acre parcel bordering a national forest is teeming with inspiration – and life. Black bears mosey through the property, unbothered at sharing their territory with the 7,000-square-foot log home. An 80-foot waterfall plunges into a glassy pond, fringed by wildflowers. Dark masses of pine trees stretch as far as the eye can see into the landscape, interrupted only by a turquoise-blue river to the west and snow-capped peaks to the east.

Even arriving at this majestic location is quite the experience, says the home’s interior designer Lynn Fleming of Xact Interiors — though one that might not be for the faint of heart. “You descend down a long, forested pathway, pass by the waterfall and ponds, and then arrive at this home on the edge of a cliff,” she shares. “I’ve done homes all over the world, but this one is a total jaw-drop for me — hanging over the edge, seeing the eagles float by the front window.”

For Lynn, the setting is the real story here: “This home is all about where you are in nature,” she says. This location-centric focus shows up in every aspect of the home from the design to the materials.

Caribou Creek Log & Timber, which spearheaded the three-story project from beginning to end, kept the views front and center through the entire process. “Our team went to the site and measured everything out to be sure we were capitalizing on every view,” says Jenna Magee, Caribou Creek’s sales assistant. “There truly is something to see from each room in the house.” 

From the moment you swing open the front door, awe-inspiring vistas draw you in from all sides. (If you can manage to pull your gaze away from the sweeping double staircase, that is.) Make your way past the massive, flared western red cedar posts into the great room, and you’ll be compelled to settle in by the riveting scene through the glass. The wood-burning fireplace and leather sectional add to the temptation.

But you might want to make a stop at the eat-in kitchen first. Here, a sliding door opens out to the covered patio, erasing the line between inside and out and delivering seamless access to the outdoor kitchen and dining table. “It all feels like one fluid space,” says Jenna. 

From the covered patio, stone steps lead to the property’s infinity-edge hot tub and a few other special features, including a water wheel made to mimic an old-fashioned mill and a replica of a mine shaft — both added to pay homage to the region’s history. These extra-special details make a visit to the home even more memorable, according to Travis Liermann, who executed the landscaping and construction of the outdoor features on the property. “It isn’t just about seeing this incredible log home,” he says. “It’s a whole experience; you could wander around this property for hours.” 

And, when you do head back inside? There’s still more to take in. To construct the chink-style log home, Caribou Creek leaned into organic materials: layers of wood, stone and metal are the repeating themes. Massive 16-inch Douglas fir logs comprise the full-log structure, while strategically placed flared character posts vie for attention. Other wood elements, mostly provided by Martin Wood Products, include circle-sawn tongue-and-groove ceilings and reclaimed materials galore. Turn-of-the-century oak cabinetry in the kitchen, interior walls clad with thousands of feet of salvaged barn planks and refinished white oak floors fulfill the rustic cabin vibe.

“At first, the starting point was a medieval look, but then it evolved into more of the hunting and fishing aesthetic,” Lynn explains of the home’s design inspiration. The abundance of stone inside and out harkens to the original inspiration. Stacked stone stretches across sections of the home’s exterior and pops up frequently on the interior walls. Flagstone floors, granite countertops and a sandstone island in the outdoor kitchen earn an honorable mention, but it’s the local Idaho basalt that steals the show. Weighing upwards of 6,000 pounds, the stones were cantilevered into their places next to the front entryway and as showpieces of the home’s five fireplaces. “They were too large to be carried by equipment, so they had to be moved with a winch system supported by the log structure,” explains Jenna.

This singular detail exemplifies the crux of this entire project: If there is a will, there is a way — a particularly apropos sentiment, we think, for a house that calls the face of a 400-foot cliff its home. 


Home Details


Square Footage: 7,029

Bedrooms: 5

Baths: 4 Full, 1 Half

Log Provider/Builder: Caribou Creek Log & Timber

Interior Designer: Xact Interiors


See Also: For the Love of the Lodge

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