45 Architecture creates a light-filled cozy nest in the Gallatin Valley of Montana
When creating the MT Nest for Robin Patterson, Architect Jeffrey Lusin was presented with a unique opportunity. Robin had spent years living in her Montana farmhouse on 20 acres, raising her sons, and when her empty nest chapter rolled around, she embraced the opportunity to build her forever home. For her, this project was a structural representation of a life both rejuvenated and reimagined, partly because it involved moving from the outskirts into town.
Robin, an active community member, avid cyclist, and yoga enthusiast, entrusted Jeff to create a tranquil yet quirky space on a small lot north of downtown Bozeman, a bespoke, detail-filled home, scaled to balance bringing new life to a long-established neighborhood.
“I had to consider the scale and materials very carefully,” Lusin says. “Montana is known for grand mountain homes and we definitely wanted rustic touches, but in a timeless form. So I spent a lot of time detailing the smallest moves, such as the transition from the front porch to the front door. And thinking about how I could create a sense of privacy for my client while also creating a sense of discovery for her guests.”
The custom timber porch swing, salvaged from one of the existing site trees, welcomes guests to the private and striking entry. Lusin designed oversized rafters supported by a large steel post sunk into a four-foot, locally-sourced boulder, creating an additional layer of what he calls “protected space,” a zone he considers a necessity for street-front dwellings.
Light pours over your right shoulder through the steel-paneled picture window as you come into the home. The hallway is lined floor to ceiling with warm corral boards, every touch as subtle and sublime as the next, so much so that you barely notice the custom flush inset powder room door as you pass by the dining room, which tucks under an old ash tree in the front yard.
“Originally we were thinking the dining room should be located towards the center of the home and for the area at the front to be a reading nook, but we decided to swap the two. I love how it connects with the street activity. It’s a dining room, but it’s also a favorite place to work and read. And I can wave to my neighbors when they walk by so it’s perfect exactly where it is,” chimes Robin.
Turning left past the dining room, you enter a kitchen designed with Robin’s love of cooking, conversation, and making coffee in mind. Unlike the farmhouse, which had a separate room for everything, Robin was keen to open things up and so the kitchen spills into the living room, and the entire space is anchored by a gorgeous custom stone fireplace and a stunning staircase. When you add the glass sliders that draw your eye to the backyard resplendent with flowers, a fire pit and gardening box, and the garage/office space, it’s a lot to take in, but in a calming way because of the timeless, simple design and choice of materials.
The Project was completed in early Spring of this year, giving Robin a peaceful place to shelter while the world went sideways. Jeff appreciates how Robin prioritized trusting the team gathered to deliver this design—architect, client, and builder came together seamlessly and the resulting chemistry generated an enduring home that maximizes livability in a classic form. With every detail intentional and made to measure, Robin’s son, Peter, called it a high “thought per square foot” project. This cheerful, warm home packs a big punch on a small lot.
“I can’t imagine having a better client or builder for this project,” Jeff says. “I’m already looking forward to the next thing we do together.”
Living room looking towards the kitchen and dining areas.
Center stair to the bedrooms
Living room with the fireplace
Backyard of the home