This cabin is located in the Apline Gulch of the Judith Mountains, central Montana. The owners had been looking for an idyllic site for years and when they finally found this location it was ‘like being hit by lightning’. The cabin lies on 113 acres of land which originally had a small log cabin on it. Although the owners found it to be dark, cold and claustrophobic and decided that they wanted a larger, brighter space to live in.
For both the architect and clients, the new cabin had to fulfil cultural needs as well as physical needs. The forests of Montana often feature fire towers to help guard the land. These lookouts are found at the most inaccessible and spectacular locations, and the people that lived there often lead a very basic lifestyle.
The clients wanted to help capture this romantic lifestyle in their new home, and so the cabin had to meld with the landscape – not just in form and material, but also in time. Their aim was to make the cabin look old from it’s completion. To achieve this aged look, they used recycled materials extensively. The cabin features corrugated metal roofing, originally from a barn that was being demolished. The beams, flooring and decking were recycled from an 80-year-old trestle. The stone was sourced from the site and the rock flooring quarried from Idaho.
In contrast to the rustic exterior, the interior is light and relatively modern. The first floor contains cooking, washing and storage amenities, with a sleeping area for two. The second floor contains windows in every direction, and also includes a 6-foot-square skylight at the apex of the roof, flooding the space with light. The second floor also has sleeping for two and storage spaces.
To provide the cabin with electricity the clients have opted for two 50-watt photovoltaic panels that provide power for outlets, lights and the well pump. Power provided by the PV panels allows the owners to have a sterio, TV/VCR, running water in the sink, and to water to fill a wood-fired hot tub. The home also features a composting toilet.