Tour this Nor­we­gianIn­spired Log Home

Built with 15 wood species and de­signed with color and light, this Nor­we­gian-in­spired log home is rem­i­nis­cent of a for­est teem­ing with life.

Log Home Living - - FRONT PAGE - story and pho­tog­ra­phy by Heidi Long

Perched on a ledge over­look­ing the Madi­son River in Mon­tana’s Up­per Madi­son Valley, Jarl and Molly’s log home is a mar­riage of Old and New World tra­di­tions and innovations that mir­rors their own trans-At­lantic union. And it brings out the best of both.

With the same in­tu­itive luck he had in find-ing Molly, Jarl stum­bled upon Blair An­der­son of Hil­gard Log Builders. "I was impressed with his full-scribe, non-chink­ing style. That's very Nor­we­gian," says Jarl. Blair be­lieves the best homes are built when home­own­ers are in­volved, and "Jarl was on fire dur­ing the project," de­clares Blair. The al­most-daily com­mu­ni­ca­tion made their long dis­tance col­lab­o­ra­tion a suc­cess. Work­ing with in­te­rior de­signer El­iz­a­beth Schultz of Boze­man and ar­chi­tect, Brian Broth­ers, the team thrived on each other's cre­ativ­ity and in­put. "He knew what he wanted and had ex­cel­lent ideas," says El­iz­a­beth, "It was our job to con­nect the dots

With the same in­tu­itive luck he had in find­ing Molly, Jarl stum­bled upon Blair An­der­son of Hil­gard Log Builders. “I was impressed with his full-scribe, non-chink­ing style. That’s very Nor­we­gian,” says Jarl.

Blair be­lieves the best homes are built when home­own­ers are in­volved, and “Jarl was on fire dur­ing the project,” de­clares Blair. The al­most-daily com­mu­ni­ca­tion made their long dis­tance col­lab­o­ra­tion a suc­cess. Work­ing with in­te­rior de­signer El­iz­a­beth Schultz of Boze­man and ar­chi­tect, Brian Broth­ers, the team thrived on each other’s cre­ativ­ity and in­put. “He knew what he wanted and had ex­cel­lent ideas,” says El­iz­a­beth, “It was our job to con­nect the dots

for him.” At the core of Jarl’s vi­sion was a home de­signed as if it were built by a Nor­we­gian im­mi­grant in the New World. The three-level, five-bed­room, log home evolved from there.

As is his trade­mark, Blair trav­eled far and wide to hand-se­lect the trees to be har­vested for Jarl and Molly’s home. Once the gen­eral scope of the project was de­ter­mined, Blair chose 130 trees. “It’s like pick­ing a can­vas,” says Blair, an artist of logs. Hil­gard Log Builders uses win­ter-har­vested trees (when sap pro­duc­tion is down) then dries them in the log yard with the bark on for at least a year be­fore con­struc­tion be­gins. Blair and his crew use a shrink-to-fit join­ery method that takes into ac­count the grad­ual set­tling of the log walls, which can take up to five years.

The metic­u­lous care and scru­tiny Blair’s team ap­plied to log se­lec­tion, prepa­ra­tion and hew­ing was equally matched by Jarl’s in­put on tech­ni­cal de­sign, as well as in the Nor­we­gian ac­cents and trim­work. He drew the ma­jor­ity of the trim pro­files him­self, many re­quir­ing cus­tom-made knives to cut the pat­terns. Other ar­chi­tec­tural pieces ar­rived in mul­ti­ple con­tain­ers from Nor­way. Three wood­carv­ing broth­ers from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Op­p­dal made the win­dow trim, fas­cia, en­try por­tals and other de­tails, as well as the din­ing room chairs. The Bjorn­dal­saeter fam­ily has been carv­ing since the Vik­ing Age. “When I opened those con­tain­ers,” says Blair, “that’s when I fully ap­pre­ci­ated the level of de­tail on the project.”

The or­nately carved front door por­tals and en­try posts greet vis­i­tors with clas­sic Nor­we­gian style, but the in­side is where the old and new worlds re­ally merge. “Logs steal light,” Jarl ad­mits, “which is why Nor­we­gians use wide win­dow trim and deep sills painted white to pull light into the room.” In ad­di­tion to the sills, white tongue-and-groove ceil­ings contrast with the warm log beams and do their part to re­flect light around the space. El­iz­a­beth took this Nor­we­gian cus­tom one step fur­ther by paint­ing the in­te­rior board-and-bat­ten gable

ends white through­out the house.

In the sec­ond-floor mas­ter bed­room, nat­u­ral light pours in from three sides of the room, re­flect­ing off the white wood walls and plas­ter ceil­ing. The ef­fect is airy and invit­ing, al­most con­tem­po­rary. At Jarl’s in­sis­tence, the Hil­gard crew used a rel­a­tively dark stain on the in­te­rior logs and aban­doned the usual pro­tec­tive wax or oil fin­ish to em­u­late a nat­u­rally aged look.

The bunkrooms are a nod to Jarl’s child­hood grow­ing up in a 500-square-foot cabin in the Nor­we­gian moun­tain­side. “We kids, the cousins and sib­lings, wanted to be to­gether at night,” he ex­plains. The bed­rooms may seem small by Amer­i­can stan­dards, but there are plenty of spa­cious com­mon ar­eas for gath­er­ing and pri­vate nooks for re­treat­ing. “It seems a waste of space to make sleep­ing rooms large,” notes Jarl.

The “Green Bunk Room” sleeps six and fea­tures built-in draw­ers, shelves, a hutch and a host of climb­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. The “Red Bunk Room” sleeps two and of­fers a stun­ning view of the Madi­son Range. “We’re not shy when it comes to color,” Jarl jokes of his coun­try­men. The Nor­we­gian-in­spired pal­ette runs the gamut of rich vi­brant hues, crisp whites, and warm tones that high­light the 15 dif­fer­ent species of wood uti­lized through­out the home. Be­sides Dou­glas fir log walls and stand­ing-dead western larch roof tim­bers, the doors are made of but­ter­nut (an eastern Cana­dian hard­wood). Poplar was used for most of the trim, re­claimed wal­nut for the main level floors and re­claimed oak for the sec­ond level and base­ment floors. Jarl and Molly’s home is a for­est full of life.

The kitchen, great room and din­ing room, while di­vided, aren’t cut off from each other. A cen­tral stone fire­place ta­pers up and in from all di­rec­tions pro­vid­ing the cen­ter­piece around which the other ar­eas ra­di­ate. Built to re­sem­ble a tim­ber-framed ad­di­tion, the kitchen is a

nat­u­ral gath­er­ing place open to other rooms as well as to the out­doors. Grow­ing up in the Rocky Moun­tains, it was im­por­tant for Molly to es­tab­lish flow be­tween the in­te­rior and na­ture. Decks and pa­tios en­cir­cle the perime­ter. The small lawn and sim­ple gar­dens merge into na­tive grasses, keep­ing the fo­cus on the sur­round­ings.

Stand­ing on the land­ing in­side Jarl and Molly’s log home, the great room win­dows frame a view of 11,316-foot Hil­gard Peak, the tallest and most iconic moun­tain in the Madi­son Range. It’s only fit­ting that Hil­gard Log Builders erected the log work around it. “I think we nailed it.” Jarl re­marks with a sat­is­fied smile.

Jarl’s of­fice is sim­ple and com­fort­able. A or­nately carved leather desk chair plays off the clean lines of the desk and built-in book­cases.

BE­LOW: You’ll find nooks and al­coves in­cor­po­rated into the de­sign through­out the home, like this one off the en­try­way. RIGHT: A ca­sual seat­ing area, com­plete with over­stuffed leather fur­nish­ings and a spec­tac­u­lar view, af­ford easy con­ver­sa­tion.

In keep­ing with the spirit of this Scan­di­na­vian-style log home, full­round, Swedish-coped logs and in­tri­cately carved sup­ports at the front porch greet vis­i­tors with flair. Note the pale green win­dow cas­ings and muntins.

ABOVE LEFT AND RIGHT: Three broth­ers — wood­carvers from the Nor­we­gian mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Op­p­dal — crafted the win­dow trim, fas­cia, en­try por­tals and many of the home’s other de­tails. “When I opened those con­tain­ers, that’s when I fully ap­pre­ci­ated the...

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