Located about an hour’s drive from the western entrance to the Yellowstone National Park, the recreational residence of a young family of six is a modern mountain retreat. It is a luxurious mix of reclaimed wood, tall windows and fabulous art and yet, it is also clearly a family home with surprisingly intimate spaces.
More important, with their architect and designer, the home owners have avoided the uninspired log-cabin, mountain-ski-chalet look and arrived at a sophisticated balance that feels genuine, opulent and graceful.
The owners are an entrepreneurial couple and their four young children. Wife Chantal-Patrice Vernez Spanicciati is a former interior designer who recently changed careers and established The Session, and husband Mario Spanicciati is an investor and executive at BlackLine Inc.
Their family’s Big Sky residence was designed by Greg Matthews, founder of Greg Matthews Studio in Bozeman, Montana, and Olivia Williams, founder of Los Angeles, California-based full-service interior design firm, Olivia Williams Studio.
Williams has also designed the family’s residence in Notting Hill, London.
For Chantal Spanicciati, a balanced life of slowing down, connecting with nature and living in harmony with one’s surroundings is extremely important.
On her Instagram account she describes this philosophy: “Our environment has a profound impact on our mood. When a space is designed to be energetically attuned using natural materials, nuanced colors and materiality, all connected to the natural landscape, the result is a sense of grounding – a psychological experience evoking a calming a positive emotional response.”
The family’s six-bedroom, six-bathroom retreat expresses this thinking for example in the use of re-claimed wood, lichen-covered stone and 21-foot-tall windows. The views of the gorgeous scenery are present in every space.
The furniture is sparce, uncomplicated and intensely curated but the designer’s goal was not minimalism but harmony. Rather than aiming for activity and sizzle, the designer focused on creating environments that evoke quiet moments and peaceful repose.
Spread throughout the residence are pieces of art sourced by art consultant Sharón Zoldan of SZ Advisory. Several pieces feature the colour blue including the large-format canvas, Conjunction 20-17, by the South-Korean Ha Chong Huyn that hangs above the living room fireplace and hides a TV.
Our favourite is the meteorite-like sculpture by American multidisciplinary artist and writer Lita Albuquerque of a walnut-tree stump coloured in Prussian blue and displayed inside a clear acrylic cube in the basement ski room. The eerie sculpture is illuminated by one of several Noctambule Tall Cylinders LED light pendants by Flos.
Natural stone, several fireplaces and bunk beds bring out the ski-chalet vibe of the retreat, but they are balanced out in the bedrooms and bathrooms by modern furnishings and lighting, and custom-created bath tubs and basins of travertine marble.
Greg Matthews is a Seattle-born and raised former computer sciences and drafting specialist who graduated from architecture at Montana State University in 2012 and worked as a draftsman and project manager at a nationally recognized architecture firm. He then started his own firm Greg Matthews Studio in 2019, at the age of 40.
Olivia Williams of Olivia Williams Studio also heads Fearon Hay Los Angeles, established in 2018 with Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon, partners of the Auckland, New Zealand-based architecture firm, Fearon Hay.
Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first National Park, established on March 1, 1872. It is mostly located in Wyoming but stretches also into, Montana and Idaho.
The 2.2-million-acre park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains half of the world’s active geysers including the Old Faithful, and other natural landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Tuija Seipell