While a ski-in retreat surrounded by snow-covered open space sounds especially idyllic when much of the rest of our lives has migrated online, one local family laid the foundation for this timely dream long before our new normal set in.
When interior designer Kendall Wilkinson initially received the call to collaborate with Silicon Valley clients on their new construction in Big Sky, Montana, it was the beginning of a nearly five-year project. “They wanted this to be a forever home for them even though it’s a second home,” Wilkinson says of the clients, with whom she had previously worked on a San Francisco property. “They wanted to really make sure that it was representing the landscape and nature as well as being a functional place for them and their children.”
Wilkinson joined weekly virtual meetings (before it became such a pervasive reality) with Greg Dennee and James Weikert of Locati Architects and Rob McRae and Allison Roberts of Highline Construction, both local to Big Sky. She also made regular trips to the Rocky Mountains property, ultimately completed in 2018. The resulting 10,000-square-foot home achieves the envisioned duality. Reclaimed barn wood, board-formed concrete, stone and plenty of glass combine with a nuanced color palette to reveal a luxe durability throughout a vacation home also meant for four-season living.
With much of the furniture customized, such as the white-panel club chairs in the living room by Kimberly Denman, there were also memorable shopping expeditions in Los Angeles. “The client and I went down there and shopped her [Denman’s] apartment with all her fabulous furniture designs,” Wilkinson says, calling attention to the kitchen’s barstools and the dining room chairs, also made by Denman. “Having been an antique dealer, I remember exactly the moment when I bought each antique, what fl ea market I was in or what show I was in,” Wilkinson adds with enthusiasm.
Today, “they’re using every aspect of the house,” Wilkinson says of her clients. The fi nished family home has it all, from being able to comfortably accommodate guests to a kid-friendly entertainment zone complete with pool and shuffleboard tables to the home office, a favorite space of Wilkinson’s. “It feels like you’re sitting in this glass box doing your work and you’re fl oating over the mountains there. You see the big sky. I love the materiality there,” she says. In fact, so much of the home benefi ts from expansive views and high ceilings that lighting became the main challenge. In the dining area, for instance, the pearl-like spheres in a Lindsey Adelman chandelier provide functional, ethereal lighting without blocking the view of Sphinx Mountain, pristine pines or the wraparound drama of that big Montana sky.