French doors off the kitchen also lead out to the covered patio. The outdoor room was one aspect Dennee really had to sell his clients on. “We don’t have bugs in Montana, and there are many days when it’s a wonderful place to be outside,” he says. With its large fieldstone fireplace, comfortable seating, cover, lighting and cozy proportions, it has become a favorite space, especially for meals, and the homeowners are glad he talked them into it.
“My clients are big gardeners and were used to Seattle’s gardening-friendly climate,” Denee says. “Gardening in Montana is more like combat gardening; it’s really tough, and the beauty of their yard is a real tribute to their hard work and the work done by Mayville Landscaping.” They used many plants that are native to Montana and can survive its climate.
You cannot make it out in these photos, but the patio also has a brass plate with a pipe that leads to a wine-making room in the basement. A grape-stomping bucket goes on top of it so that the owners can stomp out here. “I have had their wine, and it is fantastic; they get really good grapes!” Dennee says. They make the wine to enjoy themselves and give to friends.
The French doors on the right lead to the master suite; there are two guest bedrooms along the shed dormer upstairs. The patio is stamped and colored concrete. “It has the look of slabs, but it’s much more durable,” Dennee says.
The garage is accessed from an alley and continues the design vocabulary of contrasting paint colors and a mix of shingles and siding. The garage is big enough for two cars and Montana toys like kayaks and a tandem bicycle, with storage on the second level.
This home was a passion project not only for the homeowners but also for Dennee. He was used to building luxury ski-resort homes; it was a change to face the challenges of fitting into the neighborhood in both scale and style, and collaborating with his clients on such a very personal level. “A lot of what made this home great is because of them; they made thoughtful choices, asking for specific things but leaving the door open to my suggestions,” he says. “They have fun, big personalities, and it really shows in the house.”