The new ranch home

It’s prefab and fab, modular and modern, eco- and kid-friendly. And this Montana update of a 1950s icon makes the most of its Big Sky views

A Western design classic in the making
Thomas J. Story

A Western design classic in the making

Huge expanses of glass. Exterior walls that roll up and virtually disappear. Almost 2,400 square feet of deck. Bedrooms with reclaimed-fir screens, mounted on barn-door sliders, that let inhabitants reposition the panels, as needed, to temper the sunlight. Jeanne and Paul Moseley’s pre-fab house opens wide to the great Western landscape where they camp and fish: the Ruby Valley and five surrounding mountain ranges. That rugged-meets-sophisticated sensibility runs throughout this home, a reimagining of the ranch house made iconic by Western architect Cliff May (and Sunset magazine) in the mid-20th century.

The couple started working with interior designer Stephanie Sandston of Greathouse Workroom in Bozeman. “We love this valley and wanted a place that would be playful, with great flow, but in no way fancy,” says Jeanne. Sandston introduced them to architect E.J. Engler of Medicine Hat who came up with a design that capitalized on the landscape and was durable enough for the harsh Montana climate—not to mention the couple’s son, Austin, 12, and daughter, Bennett, 9.

Because of the property’s remoteness, transporting construction crews and materials to the site day after day would have taken a heavy financial—and environmental—toll. So the Moseleys chose a prefab approach where Engler's team built the house on vacant lots near his office in Gallatin Gateway and then truck it in four sections for quick assembly on the land. “Minimizing our footprint—with a house made of four ‘pods’ narrow enough to fit on flatbed semi-trucks—really appealed to us,” says Paul. One pod in the 1,880-square-foot home contains the master bedroom and bath; another, the kitchen and dining/living room; another, the children’s bedrooms with a shared bathroom; and the fourth, a laundry room, pantry, and den.

Design: Stephanie Sandston, interior designer (greathouseworkroom.com) and E.J. Engler, architect (medicinehatinc.com)

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