Here’s a vacation home by Cushing Terrell named Confluence House. Situated on 10 acres, it sits high on a bluff at the confluence of two rivers in a Montana mountain valley. With efficient design and thoughtful siting, this house is a seamless addition to the natural setting, rather than an interruption.

A Fly Fisherman’s Dream

Hence, Confluence House is a fly fisherman’s dream. A getaway for family and friends, the home’s design is derived and influenced by the geophysics of the surrounding landscape. Views from the toe of the bluff toward the river basin are lush and dynamic. Additionally, the distant mountains form a dramatic Montana backdrop.

A Vacation Home with Three Structures

The home is composed of three structures – main house, guest house, and utility structure – in a loose triangular form.  First, the two living volumes (2,282-square-foot main house and 946-square-foot guest house) are aligned with the two converging river bluffs. 

Secondly, the utility structure (garage and wood shop) forms the third leg of the triangle and screens the house from the access road. Together, the three legs form a protected central courtyard. And the flat roofs allow the structures to disappear into the horizon line. 

No Hallways

The main house, aligned with the west bluff, holds all the usual living spaces. Also, it features a study, piano room, large mudroom and pantry, and well-appointed master suite. Plus, it’s a model of efficient space with no hallways.

Outdoor Spaces are Important

The guest house is separated from the main house to provide privacy.  And a covered porch between the house and guest house features a wall-mounted TV for outdoor movies.  

The utility structure is topped with an expansive solar PV system. Reminiscent of old railway maintenance sheds in the region, it serves to screen the house and courtyard from the access road. Meanwhile, the breezeway between the garage and shop ceremonially brings guests into the courtyard. Native, drought-tolerant vegetation mirroring the landscape surrounds it. 

Dramatic Views

Exterior building materials are tough to match the local climate. They feature dark-stained, locally sourced wood and stone, and a metal roof.  In addition, large, floor-to-ceiling, energy-efficient windows provide dramatic views to mountains, rivers, and the valley. 

Interior Details 

Inside, polished, exposed-aggregate concrete floors subtly recall the gravel beds of the nearby rivers. In the same way, whitewashed Douglas fir ceilings suggest the soft, natural tones of weathered wood. Furnishings are comfortable, yet durable. Plus, they contribute to the carefree environment.

Cushing Terrell design team
David Koel, Principal
Fran Quiram, PM/Architect
Wes Baumgartner, Landscape Architect
Carl Maehl, Lighting Designer
Gerry Nichols-Pagel, Mechanical Engineer
Carl Maehl, Electrical Engineer
David Koel, Interior designer
Fran Quiram, Interior designer

Consultant team
Cushing Terrell (Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Lighting Design)
Martel Construction (Contractor)
TD&H (Civil Engineer)
Beaudette Consulting Engineering (Structural Engineer)
CMG (Geotechnical Engineer) 

All photography by Karl Neumann

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