Differences of opinion are bound to come up when a house is being designed for more than one person. For a San Antonio–based couple building a holiday home, it was easy to agree on a location: Bigfork, Montana, a favorite vacation spot for them and their four college-aged children. But they couldn't come to a consensus on aesthetics. "One wanted more of a white farmhouse and the other a woodsy retreat," Seattle-based designer Kylee Shintaffer says. Fortunately for them, Shintaffer excels at elevated rustic style.

Shintaffer and Fullerton Architects, a local firm, built the project from the ground up along a river inlet off Flathead Lake. Creating a seamless narrative with the landscape, the design team incorporated natural elements into the home, from Montana Moss Rock to reclaimed timbers for the ceiling. These features—along with a "barn" that acts as a garage/guesthouse—satisfied the rustic retreat desire. As for the white farmhouse, Shintaffer brightened the interiors by whitewashing the wood walls and adding contrasting details. "We stained a wood window dark to give it that freshness and graphic pop against the lighter wood walls," she explains. The centerpiece of the double-height, open-plan living area is another farmhouse-meets-rustic feature: a towering white plaster chimney with three large stones surrounding the fireplace. "If we clad that entire thing in stone, it might feel heavy and dark," Shintaffer notes. Instead, it's a blank canvas that shifts the emphasis to the rest of the room—including the heart-stopping views.

"The way the house is situated, every spot has a different view: of the river, the field, the mountains," Shintaffer says. This inspired her to create smaller areas within the larger room, which she describes as "spaces where you pause to enjoy the vistas beyond." One of her favorites is the sitting room behind the fireplace, which feels nestled in the trees.

To blend indoors and out, modern farmhouse and woodsy refuge, Shintaffer opted for a combination of new and midcentury furnishings. "There's a beautiful handmade quality and patina to vintage pieces that help them anchor in with the rustic elements of the building," she says. All together, the couple agrees, the design adds up to the best of both worlds.

Great Room

great room featuring a living and dining area along with a kitchen
Eric Piasecki

This living and dining area is the center of the home. Pendant: custom, Roberto Giulio Rida. Sofas: Roman Thomas in Casamanche fabric (opposite fireplace) and FAIR DESIGN in Larsen fabric (perpendicular to fireplace).

great room featuring a living and dining area
Eric Piasecki

Sitting Room

sitting room
Eric Piasecki

"You feel immersed in nature here," Shintaffer says. Coffee table: Woods of Wisdom. Sheepskin sofa: &Tradition. Ladderback chair: vintage, Liberty & Co. Leather chairs: antique, Adolphe Chanoux for Chanoux & Co. Rug: Merida.


Pictured above.

Stools stay tucked away until extra seating is needed, while a series of drawers offers additional storage. Walls: whitewashed shiplap. Ceiling: reclaimed wood. Island: wire-brushed rift-sawn oak in a custom ebony stain. Stools: Lucca Antiques. Pendants: Allied Maker.

Breakfast Nook

breakfast nook
Eric Piasecki

"This is a magical spot," Shintaffer says. Bench: Custom, in Clarence House Fabric. Leather Pads: Custom, Moore & Giles. Table: Custom. Pendant: Vintage, Andres Pehrson.

Dining Nook

dining nook
Eric Piasecki

A cozy eat-in area in the barn-turned-guesthouse. Banquette: custom leather, Rogers & Goffigon, seat back in Stroheim fabric. Pendant: Nickey Kehoe.

Powder Room

powder room
Eric Piasecki

Shintaffer designed the vanity with a brushed bluestone top. Sink: Contour, Stone Forest. Pendant: Fuse Lighting. Mirror: midcentury Italian brass, 1stDibs.

Guest Nook

sleeping nook
Eric Piasecki

In the second-floor hallway, two beds are tucked into alcoves for visitors. Curtains: custom, A Custom Shade Co. Bedding: Pottery Barn and St. Frank. Pendant: Barn Light Electric.


Eric Piasecki

Shintaffer split the clients' antique cupboard into two parts and painted the interior Sienna by Benjamin Moore.

Guest Room

guest room with two twin beds
Eric Piasecki

This playful bedroom is one of two above the barn. Bold paint makes heirloom beds feel new. Wallcovering: Lake August. Beds: vintage, clients' own, painted in Graphite by Benjamin Moore.


Eric Piasecki

The family loves to hang out here. "The antique wood cladding and rustic stone cobble flooring are a great complement to the rugged landscape," says Shintaffer. Pouf: One Kings Lane, reupholstered in Lee Jofa fabric. Armchairs: Serena & Lily in custom stain and Perennials fabric. Cushion: Shoppe Amber Interiors. Throw: Housewright.

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