Green and Affordable Living in Montana

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photos by:
January 27, 2012

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.  Photo by: John Clark

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

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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  Photo by: John Clark
    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

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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  Photo by: John Clark
    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

    Photo by: John Clark

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

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

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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  Photo by: John Clark

    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

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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!”  Photo by: John Clark
    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!”

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  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.  Photo by: John Clark

    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.

    Photo by: John Clark

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  Whitlock hard at work with the tools of his other trade: sound mixing.  Photo by: John Clark

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

    Photo by: John Clark

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

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

    Photo by: John Clark

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