complete renovation of one of the rattlesnake’s oldest farmhouses

Known as Foxglove Cottage, this former B & B was purchased by a young family hoping to save much of the building, both structurally and in exterior character. Confluence Construction was the general contractor on this magnificent project, where a tricky process of engineering ensued.  The home was gutted, then redesigned by Becky Broeder with custom finishes & high end fixtures throughout.  Each piece of lumber was hand selected at Heritage Timber by Becky and Bruce, the cabinet maker.  Considering sensitivities to artificial light and allergens, this home was thoughtfully designed to maximize daylighting.  Selection of healthy, mindful, regionally sourced materials prevailed, and locally made custom furnishings are being built to further fill the space.  The result is a light, airy, customized environment that truly reflects the personalities of the homeowners & the architecture, and displays Becky’s texture-driven aesthetic.

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a project from my heart

I’ve said it many times: Design Matters when it comes  to what educated, licensed interior designers can do to help people heal and dream, be comfortable, healthy, happy, and safe.  I’ve embarked on a project for dear friends that I consider part of my extended family, and it’s becoming the project I am proudest of.  On May 6th of this year, my friend, Kalee, and our friend, TJ, were killed by Kalee’s estranged husband who then turned the gun on himself, leaving their three daughters orphaned.  Kalee’s mom and dad, our close friends and neighbors, were granted custody of the girls, but were in desperate need of more space.  Heartbroken over the loss of this remarkable mom, friend, and professional, this incredible community of kind-hearted people immediately began asking what they could do to help.

I knew what I could do right away.  I had to help to deliver them an addition and remodel.  I reached out to friends in my industry and we assembled a team of the most generous, kind, thoughtful people who wanted to contribute everything they could.  And it’s been astounding.  Erin and Brian at Encore Construction and I arrived at a design that is stylish but economical, yet exceedingly functional in regards to space planning and circulation. We were able to achieve my goal: It gave each girl a room of her own.  Beaudette Consulting Engineers graciously engineered the project and created construction documents which I then brought to my pal, Jeremy at JM Moran & Company Construction, who agreed to build for no fee.  From there, we’ve been honored and surprised by the level of generosity given from subcontractors offering labor and materials for free or at cost.  Most incredibly, has been Boyce Lumber, who has offered to donate everything they have access to, which spans from windows & doors, to sheetrock, to siding, to kitchen cabinets, to paint and well beyond!  Boyce Lumber is truly a marvel and I will encourage everyone I come across to shop there for a multitude of reasons.

I write this post as testament to humanity and to community.  My faith in people is stronger than ever.  I am honored to call Missoula my home, surrounded by such an uplifting, industrious, and inspirational group of humans.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress, as things are moving quickly.  Here are a couple of pictures of the site, the massive excavation mass, and the progress with the ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms).  Yes, the front of the house is torn off and they braving it.  Jeremy has the back portion of the house blocked off and created a mini kitchen for the time being.

If you’d like to show support to the family here’s a link to the GoFundMe site: https://www.gofundme.com/scolattigirls

Thank you for reading.   BB

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Good Interior Design Makes a Difference

One of the primary reasons I chose interior design to be my calling is my passion for designing spaces that improve lives.  Good design lowers stress (decreased blood pressure), improves mental health (aids in fighting depression or PTSD), minimizes toxins that contribute to health issues (decreases risk for cancer), encourages movement (improved heart health), and enables people to stay in their homes as they age or suffer from a disability, among other good things.  Healthy homes are an essential need in the human experience, no matter of socio-economic status or neighborhood.

Recently, I attended a forum in Boston discussing a partnership between ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and the Clinton Global Initiative uniting to advance Health and Wellness by engaging 11 important partners in order to establish protocols for heath and wellness in design.  Interior designers have always been able to tell you that a space feels good with arguments of scale, balance, proportion, etc.  Now, as a result of these strong partnerships, new research is emerging daily supporting these claims with FACTS.  As a true design nerd, I find this era in design to be extremely exciting.  I love being able to support my design decisions with solid explanations.  It’s a great time to be a designer, and an even better time to hire a qualified and knowledgeable designer.

Here are just a few design solutions to ponder:

  • Increased daylighting in hospital settings has been found to greatly reduce healing time among patients as well as greatly reduce the burn-out rate among nurses.
  • Eliminating high sensory objects and design details in an environment where the user or users have autism reawakens their ability to interact with society and discourages disconnection.
  • The American Cancer Society released a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology stating that men who sat for six hours or more per day had an overall death rate that was nearly 20% higher than men who sat for three hours per day or less.  Women who sat for more than six hours per day had a death rate that was almost 40% higher! And dedicated exercise showed no neutralizing effect. Designing corporate work environments that encourage mobility will lead to more productive, healthy, happier people who live much longer.

Here’s a link describing the ASID / CGI partnership along with the 11 organizations helping to create health and wellness protocols that will help us all in our built environments:

https://www.asid.org/content/asid-advances-health-and-wellness-agenda-cgi-america-commitment-engages-11-partners#.VbgAyHlRGUk

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kitchen cabinets: the benefits of going custom in interior design

Here’s a close up of one of my often used wood artisans, based here in Western Montana and shot by Steven Begleiter, for a project we’re doing called Project People Made.

Kitchen cabinets are the heart of a well-designed and beautiful kitchen.  Sure, they are viewed as a necessity in interior design, but when designing your future kitchen, it’s extremely important to consider how every detail will lay out to maximize your efficiency in the space and to maximize usage of the space architecturally.  I am a firm believer in having kitchen cabinets made specifically for you and your needs in your space.  A common misconception is that custom cabinetry is leaps and bounds more expensive that purchasing cabinets from an off-site manufacturing facility.  That simply is not true in most cases and the extra minimal percentage of cost pales in comparison to the increased quality of the overall product.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing to have cabinets built locally:

1. Cheaper and Less Expensive are very different things.  As Joe Jensen of Confluence Construction puts it, “Stock cabinets may be less expensive, but they are always cheaper”.  Manufactured cabinets have nice looking door faces, can be glazed, weathered, you name it.  But the reality is that the construction is not going to be great and they are not built to last.   Here is a quick overview of the differences that make custom cabinetry a different animal:

Custom CabinetryStock Cabinetry
ComponentsPlywoodParticle Board
JointsDovetail, Dowel, or Mortise-and-TenonGlued, Nailed, or Screwed
Corner BracesWood Glue BlocksStapled Plastic Corners
Drawer SlidesHidden UndermountSide Slide Brackets

Stock cabinet manufacturers do whatever they can to cut cost and keep production up, and quality suffers because of it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a kitchen full of new stock cabinets, opened the doors and snooped around the workings of a drawer, only to find myself disappointed.  To me, the granddaughter of a wood worker, the difference is glaring:  I see big disappointments to the end user down the road, especially given the amount of money spent on cabinets.  THEY CAN AND SHOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER.

2. Everything You Need; Nothing You Don’t.  With custom cabinets, you (and your designer ūüôā ) choose what you need and where.  You can customize every detail at no extra cost because it’s all a part of the process.  I’m nearly 6′ and would design my kitchen accordingly, with taller cabinets and taller work surfaces, making life not only more enjoyable but healthier in terms of ergonomic stresses.  You can also select a unique cabinet and drawer layout, specific depths of drawers, widths and heights of shelves, details tailored specifically to your cooking, baking, and entertaining style.

3. You have the Ability to Locally Source Materials and Labor.  Western Montana is home to some gorgeous wood species. Using local varieties is environmentally conscious and adds a unique local character to your project.  Harvesting beetle kill timbers or using reclaimed lumber will also add an incredible look with a story to tell for generations.  We are fortunate to have access to some AMAZING talent, as well.  Employing local craftspeople gives a sense of pride.  Plus, it’s important to know that you can pick up the phone to have service and answers before, during, and long after the completion of the project.

4. You Pick EXACTLY What You Want.  Beginning a project that has no ceiling, design-wise, can be intimidating but incredibly liberating.  With custom cabinetry, if you see something you like online or in a magazine, you can re-create that look.  Hiring a designer during this phase will help in guiding you along the direction you would like to go, as well as help you in communicating your ideas and wishes to fabricators.  Stock cabinet companies often claim hundreds of options, but my experience is that those options narrow down extremely fast, with only a couple suitable choices.  Custom cabinetry will give you exactly the style and feel you’re after.

5. I Have Never Experience a Stock Building.  Stock cabinets will always have hiccups when it comes to fitting cabinets built offsite into the actual site.  Custom cabinets are built to fit, maximizing every single inch.  Stock cabinet companies use fillers to accommodate discrepancies between the sizes they offer and the lengths of the spans available for cabinets.  I’ve worked for a stock cabinet company for a short stint and was disheartened by the lack of flexibility when it came to layout.  Fillers ran rampant!  A custom woodworker will measure to the 1/32″ after the drywall is hung so that the products fit perfectly.  This is especially crucial if you have a unique layout, an unconventional floor plan, or an older home with imperfections (Character!).

When embarking on a kitchen, bathroom, or master closet build or remodel, I encourage you to consider the above.  If you’d like guidance in finding a talented craftsperson and / or designing your space, give a call and we’d be happy to make starting your project a lot easier.