Exterior Renovation, Choteau, MT

Here’s a project currently under way:

Part of this home’s story is told here in rich evidence of past openings, building dimensions, roof lines, available building materials, insulation attempts and workmanship. There’s Dan’s signature above the old window – not sure who Dan was. Walls like this are pure art.


For a time, it looked like this:


Too bad the window’s gone but it is the north side, and it’s Choteau, Montana, wind and bad winters and all…

The next chapter in it’s history is being written now. Note the layer of rigid foam insulation wrapping the house under the new siding. Owner Dave (no relation to Dan) says it’s noticeably more comfortable inside already.


Wrap Around Porch, Choteau, MT

This is Sam and Noy’s new porch. It is covered by a roof on the west side and open to the skies on the south. We built this out of Douglas Fir entirely. The posts, beams, knee braces, rafters and subroofing (exposed 1×10’s) are left rough from the mill to add texture to the warm color of fir. The deck planks are conventional fir 2×8’s, smooth to walk on and stout. This porch faces the Rocky Mountain Front, and may be one of the best places in the world to sit and have a sandwich. Sam slings his hammock here.

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We recalled our timber frame heritage to attach knee braces. Exposed joinery and curved braces go a long way to enrich the finished product:


Front Range Kitchen


Here’s a kitchen taking shape for Sam and Noy’s renovation. Right at the start of the design phase they said, “No upper cabinets, just windows!” So we gave them a bank of square windows that wrap around the kitchen corner and cap the hand-painted tile backsplash. We built in a huge butcher block under the windows to handle the knife work, and a wide bar top serves everyone who wants to eat, drink and chat with the cook. The six skylights above add ample daylight to the room and are outfitted with solar-powered electric blinds. Press a button on the remote, and the blinds power themselves open or closed, keeping things cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

We had some rusted metal left over from the roof so we paired it with cedar to finish the peninsula:



We like rusty metal so much that we edged the countertop with it (we coated the metal with polyurethane so it wouldn’t rub off).