A creative team transforms a log house reminiscent of historic lodges into an innovative and stunning shoreline residence

Story by Colton Martini | Photography by Gibeon Photography

Envisioning a lodge, it’s easy to reflect on those found in national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier. The Old Faithful Inn, Belton Chalet and historic Isaak Walton Inn come to mind.

Characterized by heavy log and timber forms and dark colors, these historic lodges were created from materials found nearby and designed for the purposes of making travelers feel comfortable from the elements and exposing them to a unique nature experience.

When the now owners of the Lazy Bay Lodge were looking for a quintessentially Montana home, they stumbled across a gem with all the outward characteristics you would expect to find just down the road in Glacier National Park. It was love at first sight, situated on 1,200 feet of Whitefish Lake shore — the Lazy Bay Lodge boasts an island address, with water surrounding the grounds on all sides.

Typical of a great historic lodge, this large-scale log home was originally built more for interior gatherings than exterior. The homeowners wanted to change that a bit and take the indoors outdoors while bringing a fresh, lighthearted and modernized take on rustic lodge décor.

Gibeon Photography.

The homeowners knew when they bought the property they would need someone to understand their vision, a builder who would not only relate but one who could also bring together a team to create. Andrew “Bear” Barinowski and the team at Malmquist Construction in Whitefish were brought on to see the project through. The bulk of the renovation centered around an outdoor experience and family living, and the homeowners tapped into the talent of local architect Rich Graves with Altius Design Group to help give the home its new purpose.

A massive, yet tasteful, stone fireplace was imagined as the centerpiece for an outdoor living, dining and kitchen area that would become the heart of the home. Terraced living areas of Pennsylvania blue stone were laid to connect the existing terraces and patio to what is now the home’s focal point. Greenwood Masonry owner Tim Greenwood painstakingly, stone by stone, connected the home’s interior to the exterior, while creating a natural pull to the home’s biggest asset: its connection to Whitefish Lake.

With a solid foundation in place for the exterior, the homeowners moved their sights to the interior of the home.  Hunter Dominick and her team at Hunter and Company Interior Design focused their efforts on experimenting and eventually developing a color palette that would take the stodge out of the lodge and give it a fresh perspective.

Gibeon Photography.

“The homeowners wanted a more contemporary feel,” Dominick says.

Because she was working with an existing log home, and the structure and logs were not ultimately malleable, Dominick and her team felt the only way to achieve this was through the use of color and textures, almost all found in the furnishings and textiles. Blues and reds light up the neutral tones of the logs. Items like lacquer red powder-coated steel pallet chairs were playfully used on the terrace in the dining area.

Whimsy was also added to bathrooms. Hand-painted Moroccan tiles sourced from Rocky Mountain Tile and Stone in Whitefish set the theme in each, one boasting a blue-gray palette with another punched with a red and black colorway. 

Hunter and Company also made sure to utilize key areas to make them as functional as possible. Because the house was essentially remaining the same in terms of rooms and scale, Dominick said creativity was imperative. An otherwise unused area under the stairs was transformed into an innovative wet bar, featuring a floating wood slab countertop and backlit glass shelving.

Gibeon Photography.

Dominick’s favorite room in the home, however, was the theater. The team liked the colors and the use of Italian chairs that you wouldn’t expect to find in such a log home. They were even able to redirect the room from its original layout and hide the location of the antiquated theater screen with the placement of a custom bison painting.

The ultimate goal for the team was to create a final product that perfectly aligned with the homeowners’ vision. The goal was to give them not just a house, but a home. Barinowski reflected on the how much fun it was to work with the owners and the team. He said they all walked away feeling confident they had crafted a “lived-in home” with an endlessly “approachable vibe.”

Colton Martini studied architecture at Montana State University. He is a practicing interior designer in Whitefish and Missoula and can be reached at (406) 480-2375, coltmartini@mac.com and www.ColtonMartini.com.