We are a family of DIYers. Of course, some of us more than others. My sister Jaime and her husband Jacob are on the extreme end of that DIY spectrum. Having built their own home and the majority of the décor inside, they have a wealth of knowledge to share on this blog. Today, I’ll taking you on a tour of their beautiful home, which they built themselves!
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The Bell’s mountain-modern style home, nestled on the edge of Glacier National Park in Montana, has a serene warmth that ties together natural elements with a hand-crafted motif. From the mahogany acid-washed concrete countertops in the kitchen, to the travertine and marble master bath, to the rock slab shelves gathered from their own back yard, Jacob and Jaime’s home is both artistic and highly functional.
Mountain Modern Home Tour
The house took six years to build since Jaime and Jacob did all the work themselves (ok, I helped a little!) and they are still working on sections of it.
The Bell home is lofted on top of a three car garage, which hosts Jacob’s workshop for his construction company and a Garn gasification wood broiler. The second floor, which is their main living space has a open floor plan that centers around the kitchen. There is a full bathroom to the right and the coffee/tea bar on the left, followed by a wine nook and pantry. A pyramid of windows graces the entire backside of the home with a large window seat (big enough for two people to lie out on each side) jutting from the home. Continuing through, you come to the open living room, the focal point being a slate ledger wall with embedded arching book shelves on both sides of an arched candelabra fireplace and log mantle. By the living room is their son’s room and then back around to the dining room, which sits at the front of the home. The dining room is enclosed with sliding glass doors and a tinder framed hip-roof
At the heart of the home is the round kitchen. Because it is placed in the middle and almost completely open (with cabinets underneath the counter), they can interact with guests and keep an eye on their son Sam from the entryway through the dining room to the living room.
Since Jacob mixed and poured the cement countertops in the kitchen (and the master bathroom), he was able to create custom details such as a whole that opens the countertops to the hidden trashcan below and a slot on the edge of the counter for a hand towel.
The same round curve in the kitchen can be found echoed throughout the home tying their design together. The curvature can be seen in the nooks, curved ceilings of the bathroom shower, and even the staircase which sweeps up from the kitchen to the master bedroom in a cantilevered semicircle of halved logs wrapped by a steel band with copper patina.
Wooden stairs loop around the backside of the kitchen leading up to the master bedroom.
The master bedroom has an upside down boat motif with an arched ceiling, rope accents, and portals.
The master bath is the true apex of the tour. You enter the master bath at the opposite end of the barrel dormer with an arched entry and full length mirror edged in travertine. Jacob laid the floor with mosaic glass and marble strips that flow across the bathroom through the travertine into the catacomb-like shower, which shows the connectivity of elements that draws one room into another and feels like a flow of water pooling in the shower.
Across from the bathroom is their custom closet, complete with areas to organize Jaime’s love for scarves and Jacob’s hat fetish.
Their bed lays below a window overseeing the lake and their gazebo, which houses a grill, sink, small fridge and a beautifully hand-crafted wooden table with benches.
Mountain Modern Home Design
Jaime and Jacob chose three to four building materials to use throughout the inside and outside of their home. On the outside, they used green siding, stone, metal and wood accents. They used similar elements inside along with travertine. You can see these elements played together in the fireplace, living room, nooks and window seat.
J&J Tip: Have design concepts but don’t make rules. Have one key design that echoes throughout the house. Such as the boat motif or the round curvature of the kitchen. Also, know the types of materials you are using and the downfalls.
Mountain Modern Home Decor
When it comes to decorating, the couple advises that less is more. Most of the time, they said, you’ll end up with two piece of furniture in each room that you really don’t need. Instead, just buy key pieces that really draw the eye in the room and since you are saving money by buying less furniture you can spend more on those key pieces.
Before purchasing anything, Jaime and Jacob took the time to find deals on Craigslist and Ebay. For example, Jaime and Jacob found the Pegasus bamboo faucets at Lowes but instead of paying full price they found them much cheaper on Ebay.
Jaime and Jacob also did quite a bit of recycling to decorate their home. The angle iron trim accents you see around the house came from an old bed frame they reclaimed. They gathered rocks from the local area and cut them in half with a tile saw for the accented stones throughout the home. The door frames are from the walk planks Jacob used to build the outside of the home, which he cut, sanded and treated to use as accents inside.
There are two particularly special types of decorations in the home. The first are the little fossil fishes seen in both bathrooms, which came from Jacob’s home town in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The second are the bronze sculptures displayed throughout the home. Jacob’s grandpa made the bronzes and the Bell family still sells them today.
Advice to DIYers
While the majority of their home would require an expert builder like Jacob, there are some areas that any DIYer could duplicate, such as hand texturing the walls like they did in Sam’s room.
Jacob’s advice to DIYers: “You don’t need the technical skills to accomplish your project; you just need the patience and tenacity to keep trying to achieve it. DIY is the purest form of education you can get. You just have to be willing to tear down and put back up.”
NOTE: Alicia originally posted about the Bell’s Mountain Modern home on Kokoa Mag.