Elegance emerges from a confluence of periods and styles in Big Sky, Montana.
Atlanta designer William Peace of Peace Design is renowned for his elegantly subtle interiors in which traditional and contemporary pieces blend seamlessly for a sophisticated landscape. However, when working in the American West, Peace incorporates seemingly disparate elements—including Southern decorative arts, Native American objects, European antiques and acclaimed Western art—for an eclectic but cohesive design.
Sited on 680 acres and surrounded by the Gallatin National Forest, this Big Sky, Montana, project is spectacular not only because of its aesthetics, but also for what it accomplished architecturally. “I’ve worked with Montana architect Candace Miller for 20 years, and this project was one of our most comprehensive, given the unique environment,” says Peace.
The homeowners’ primary objective was to create the smallest environmental footprint possible, while remaining sensitive to the surrounding forest. Because of its remote location, the 4,600-square-foot house is completely off the grid and accessible only during the summer months. The house is powered through solar and geothermal panels with a small backup generator, and cell service is limited.
Working closely with Miller and Peace Design project manager Hillary Mancini, Peace selected all of the finishes used throughout the house, including the reclaimed logs, cedar wood planks and stone. “This is an authentic classic Western cabin, and we were respectful of the setting throughout the design process so that the interiors relate to the landscape,” says Peace. Although the house is essentially a log cabin, unexpected elements such as Carrera marble in the bathroom add to its refinement.
“We wanted to create a family-oriented environment that focused on the forest setting, so we used rich materials that are comfortable but durable for large family gatherings,” says Peace. Three generations gather in the large open living areas, while cozy bedrooms, a bunkroom and a sleeping porch ensure enough sleeping spaces.
Drawing on his Southern roots, Peace incorporated numerous references into the log cabin. Pottery is used throughout the house, both as sculpture and as lighting, in rooms that are cloaked in linen, burlap and chenille. Rich woods, wrought iron and the warm patina of European antiques give the project further depth. A collection of vintage Native American blankets by the Peace Design Collection serve as rugs throughout the house; Peace balanced them out with contemporary upholstery for a warm and inviting interior.
Although the house is far from his home base, Peace sourced most of the furnishings from Atlanta. “We have incredible design resources here, including our showrooms, workrooms and shops, so I was able to find almost everything in Atlanta,” he says. However, many of the European antiques, sculptures and paintings—including works by some of the most recognized 20th-century Western artists—are also represented in this collection and were found during his frequent travels.
“We approach every project with a fresh perspective, but we continue to rely on clean architecture, good lighting, quality finishes and elegant interiors to create classic homes for our clients,” says Peace. When the views include sweeping vistas of the Rockies, those interiors transcend time and space for remarkable family experiences that last a lifetime.