Green and Affordable Living in Montana

written by:
photos by:
January 27, 2012
Originally published in Less Is Modern
as
Builder's Special

A resourceful sound mixer sources some local design talent, rolls up his sleeves, and builds small, green, and affordable in Bozeman, Montana.

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  • 
  Resident Brian Whitlock saved some serious cash by taking on much of the construction and electrical work himself.

    Resident Brian Whitlock saved some serious cash by taking on much of the construction and electrical work himself.

  • 
  Sultan of SitEven if your carpentry skills peaked in eighth-grade woodshop, reclaimed lumber and a bit of sweat can stand you in good stead when it comes to outdoor furniture. Whitlock created a ruggedly beautiful bench (below) from scratch. He bought a chunk of trestle lumber at a local salvage yard and lag-bolted four Ikea Sultan stainless steel bed legs to its base. “It took me two hours, including lumberyard drive time,” he says. “I spent $70 total.” ikea.com
    Sultan of Sit

    Even if your carpentry skills peaked in eighth-grade woodshop, reclaimed lumber and a bit of sweat can stand you in good stead when it comes to outdoor furniture. Whitlock created a ruggedly beautiful bench (below) from scratch. He bought a chunk of trestle lumber at a local salvage yard and lag-bolted four Ikea Sultan stainless steel bed legs to its base. “It took me two hours, including lumberyard drive time,” he says. “I spent $70 total.” ikea.com

  • 
  Just GlazeDouble-glazed windows are typically composed of two layers of glass with a layer of air in between. You might spend more on them upfront ($200–$1,500 each), but the extra insulation can save loads on your heating bill and more than recoup your investment over time. weathershield.com
    Just Glaze

    Double-glazed windows are typically composed of two layers of glass with a layer of air in between. You might spend more on them upfront ($200–$1,500 each), but the extra insulation can save loads on your heating bill and more than recoup your investment over time. weathershield.com

  • 
  Color Me RadTo give the exterior of your home a chic, contemporary veneer without splurging on expensive cladding, use a bold accent color.
    Color Me Rad

    To give the exterior of your home a chic, contemporary veneer without splurging on expensive cladding, use a bold accent color.

  • 
  Whitlock’s window frames are accented with Benjamin Moore’s Electric Orange ($6.50 per pint). “People go on vacation and take photos of all these vibrant houses and then they go home and paint their house brown,” Whitlock says. “Don’t be afraid of color.” A hint: When going Day-Glo bright, look for shades with barely there black undertones to mute their intensity. benjaminmoore.com

    Whitlock’s window frames are accented with Benjamin Moore’s Electric Orange ($6.50 per pint). “People go on vacation and take photos of all these vibrant houses and then they go home and paint their house brown,” Whitlock says. “Don’t be afraid of color.” A hint: When going Day-Glo bright, look for shades with barely there black undertones to mute their intensity. benjaminmoore.com

  • 
  Not only do these colorful bottles make for humble accent pieces, they're also a reminder of the house's past: Whitlock discovered them while building the home, which stands on what was once a Chinese apothecary.

    Not only do these colorful bottles make for humble accent pieces, they're also a reminder of the house's past: Whitlock discovered them while building the home, which stands on what was once a Chinese apothecary.

  • 
  A mustardy couch and a large map of the world—Whitlock travels all over the place for work—keep the living room bright and cheerful.

    A mustardy couch and a large map of the world—Whitlock travels all over the place for work—keep the living room bright and cheerful.

  • 
  Pro and Con(crete)For Whitlock, using concrete for the first floor was an inexpensive alternative to stone, wood, or tile. “I just poured the foundation and it gave me my finished floor,” Whitlock says. “Way simpler!”
    Pro and Con(crete)

    For Whitlock, using concrete for the first floor was an inexpensive alternative to stone, wood, or tile. “I just poured the foundation and it gave me my finished floor,” Whitlock says. “Way simpler!”

  • 
  A handful of boxy protrusions on the facade give the modernist residence an additional three-dimensionality. The colorful window frames and door also give variety and depth to the gray structure.

    A handful of boxy protrusions on the facade give the modernist residence an additional three-dimensionality. The colorful window frames and door also give variety and depth to the gray structure.

  • 
  Whitlock relishes his home's proximity to downtown Bozeman and the foliage native to his little lot: century-old hedgerows and a trio of ash trees.

    Whitlock relishes his home's proximity to downtown Bozeman and the foliage native to his little lot: century-old hedgerows and a trio of ash trees.

  • 
  Keep an eye out for pops of color around Whitlock's house. The window frames, door, and kitchen all make use of lively hues to add a burst of character.

    Keep an eye out for pops of color around Whitlock's house. The window frames, door, and kitchen all make use of lively hues to add a burst of character.

  • 
  Here's another instance of a bit of bright color (on the countertops) giving an appealing accent to what is an otherwise pretty sedate palette. And if affordability is the name of the game, often a splash of color is more achievable than a spendy material.

    Here's another instance of a bit of bright color (on the countertops) giving an appealing accent to what is an otherwise pretty sedate palette. And if affordability is the name of the game, often a splash of color is more achievable than a spendy material.

  • 
  Though Whitlock lives alone, he very much wanted a home built for entertaining. Martini Mondays are de rigeur when he's in town and we're assured they often move out to the backyard fire pit.

    Though Whitlock lives alone, he very much wanted a home built for entertaining. Martini Mondays are de rigeur when he's in town and we're assured they often move out to the backyard fire pit.

  • 
  Whitlock hard at work with the tools of his other trade: sound mixing.

    Whitlock hard at work with the tools of his other trade: sound mixing.

  • 
  Just adjacent to the house is Whitlock's small shed which houses many of the tools that he used to build the home.

    Just adjacent to the house is Whitlock's small shed which houses many of the tools that he used to build the home.

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