Photos by Spacecrafting
Pulling off a design that combined the rusticity of a traditional Montana home with the clean lines of contemporary architecture required a lot of collaboration, according to Hendel Homes’ owner Rick Hendel. “We worked with Jim McNeal of James McNeal Architecture & Design, who provided the creative direction,” says Hendel. “It was an amazing experience.”
The house is pretty amazing, too—a 5,600-square-foot two-story walkout with four bedrooms and five baths that boasts nature views out nearly every window. The homeowners, who have spent an abundance of time in Montana, wanted to create an elevated version of a mountain lodge with plentiful windows, reclaimed materials, and a modified open floor plan with distinct spaces connected by a floor-to-ceiling glass hallway.
Before the design process began, though, the team took its time getting to know the homeowners. Hendel says, “We want to really understand our clients, how they live, where they go, and when they wake up in the morning.”
For these clients, their outdoor environment was nearly as important as the interior of the home itself. The couple wanted to make the most of the wooded Afton property, adding water features like a trout pond and pool to the acres of bucolic prairie land. Highly visible from the home’s interior, these spaces needed to have a consistent, harmonious aesthetic. “It was so unique to bring the landscaping and hardscape into the interiors and make sure all aspects were playing off each other,” Hendel reflects. The Wayzata-based builder also worked with partner Lerfald Landscaping to develop a truly special element: “We created a waterfall on the entry of the home that flows under the house into the pond,” says Hendel. “It’s spectacular.”
A mix of reclaimed woods, weathering steel with a rust-like patina, and stone gives the home an organic flavor that’s very much in the spirit of Montana, while warm, white walls, frameless windows, and a floating steel staircase are more contemporary elements that add lightness.
Yet, perhaps no room embodies this mix more than the great room. Anchored by a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and wrought-iron Castile chandelier, it’s one of Hendel’s favorite space. “On one side, you see the organic pond, and on the other side, there’s the pool,” he explains. “The ceilings are vaulted, and the walls are nearly all glass. The sun shines in all day, and it’s such a beautiful room any time of the year.”