Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this spectacular retreat has brought a modern yet timeless grace to a traditional ranch setting
Named after its endless vistas and wide blue yonder, Big Sky in Montana is a heavenly destination, ideal for nature lovers and offering all manner of adventure. And it is where, not far from Yellowstone National
Park, one family realised their dream holiday home. The aesthetic of this ranch-style ski lodge was prompted by its surroundings. Its use of local reclaimed wood and stone, along with the overhanging eaves and low, linear profile, anchors it firmly in the architectural tradition of the region. Charged with designing the interior, Victoria Hagan created a scheme that brings a modern and sophisticated twist to traditional ranch living. We spoke to Victoria about her creative journey.
How did you arrive at the project? I’d worked with this young and adventurous family on their primary homes on both the east and west coasts, so we started with a strong foundation. We all decided to do something totally different, which gave the project an aura of freedom and a sense of fun from the very beginning. I have a clear sense of how the family live and function, which has continually enabled us all to stay on the same page.
What was your brief? These clients are all about family and friends. They wanted the house to be welcoming and warm as it is used as a vacation retreat in both winter and summer. It’s an incredibly special spot and needed to reflect its environment. While the house itself is wonderful, the lifestyle primarily revolves around the outdoors. Overall, the project took a few years from conception to installation and I was integrally involved from the beginning.
How did you consider the house’s functionality and
setting? There is a tendency to treat a ski house as a bit of a cliché, which I was keen to avoid. Constructed of local reclaimed wood, it has strong bones and a bold sense of style. We juxtaposed unexpected materials and furniture from different periods to make it unique – a sophisticated adaptation of a traditional ski home for vibrant, modern living. We found antique pieces to fit into the Western theme in a subtle, low-key way. I love a scheme that isn’t too literal, suggesting a history but leaving room for interpretation. Many of the materials used – wood, stone and old timbers – were sourced locally to relate to the topography and incorporate a local design vernacular.
How did you bring your design aesthetic to the
project? There are design principles that I feel are as important in a Rocky Mountains home as in any other interior: generous and strong proportions; a relaxed, easy flow from space to space; dreamily comfortable furniture; and a spare, graphic look that helps the whole house come together. Each room basically had the same programme: it needed to be a mix of casual, comfortable and sophisticated, just like the owners themselves.