Photo Credit: Heidi Long
For 95 years a small, unassuming stone-and-timber
structure tucked into a hillside quietly watched over the sweeping mountains, soft meadows and dramatic skyscapes of Montana’s Paradise Valley. Built as a granary, it was eventually abandoned, and its equipment rusted into forgotten relics of Western lore.
When the Pate family purchased the land in 2010, the granary was so dilapidated it was unsafe for entry. As the new owner, Richard Pate was intrigued by the old granary and its decrepit equipment. Something captured his heart. At this point, the structure’s fate took an unexpected turn.
“My dad hated the idea of tearing it down,” recalls Amy Hyatt, the owner’s daughter and granary’s interior designer. “You could see that it was once a really neat building.”
Richard decided to revive the granary as a blended guesthouse and party barn to accompany the main house — an older cabin that the Pates remodeled. The cabin fulfills a more traditional, Western expectation. The granary, however, is a juxtaposition of history and modern times; an intersection of elemental materials, industrial strength and sleek style. North Fork Builders of Montana dismantled the granary, salvaging materials along with purchasing reclaimed, Douglas fir timbers for its reconstruction. “We recycled about 70 percent of the old granary,” says John Morgen, North Fork’s superintendent. Using these resources and staying true to the granary’s original footprint and appearance, the team took on the task of rebuilding.
A poured-concrete foundation makes up the lower level with an open common area and full kitchen
with an entertainment bar. Six, full-glass, wood-paned doors open-up accordion-style converting the entire daylight basement into a space that feels more like an outdoor room with three walls.
Raw materials — steel, concrete, rock and wood — assert the granary’s industrial roots. Thick wood wraps around a steel beam framing the door. Large timbers also run alongside the floating steel-and-wood staircase. Native Montana rock was applied to concrete walls providing contrast to the smooth, stained concrete floor. Corrugated steel with an aged patina adds to the granary’s functional, unembellished flavor.
Outside, a true timber-framed outdoor hearth complements the granary. Anchored into the rock cliff, the fireplace’s stones match those of the granary. The mantel shows off various bones and horns the kids have collected around the property.
For all its rustic
and rugged exterior, the interior is anchored with elements that would be equally at home in a swank Manhattan loft.
“Amy told me she had a disco ball in her living room
, and that any ideas were fair game!” exclaims Jerrad Inlow, the creative force behind Elements Concrete.
For the bar, Jerrad selected a live-edged, California walnut slab with a waterfall end and set it atop a concrete base. On the bartender side, programmable LED lights refract on ice that melts and spills down a concrete waterfall to a floor drain. A similar water feature is built into the upstairs, bathroom sink. The effect is spectacular.
Sadly, Richard has passed away but lived long enough to see his vision for the project come to life. The granary still holds something of great value; Richard’s spirit and ongoing legacy for his family
to share time together in Montana’s outdoor paradise.
“Being able to continue doing the things he loved most was his biggest gift” says Amy. “We cherish our summers here.”
North Fork Builders of Montana Interior Designer:
Tour the Stone-and-Timber Structure
Big in personality but small in stature, the granary cabin is only 1,400 square feet.