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

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Indoor-outdoor sensibility
Thomas J. Story

Indoor-outdoor sensibility

The family’s love of cooking and casual entertaining—crowds gather here regularly for barbecues—inspired the kitchen’s glass-paned garage door that rolls up, encouraging activity to spill outdoors onto the cedar deck. “It’s the kind of place where things happen comfortably at the same time,” Jeanne says. “I can get coffee going and the kids might be having fun in the mud on a rainy day.” Gliding slatted screens, a roll-up garage door, and a canopy that rises at the touch of a button allow the outdoor space to expand or contract to suit the weather or time of day. The living room’s “sun visor” (pictured at back) is not fixed but dynamic. Engler fitted its slatted wood screen with a sophisticated system of exposed tractor parts and hydraulic cylinders from a Caterpillar excavator, which lets it be raised from a vertical mode to a horizontal canopy—or any angle in between—to temper the sun’s rays.

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