studio zerbey / montana residence

As architects, the most exciting aspect of our job is seeing a project physically come to life. We continue to be knee-deep in Studio Zerbey design work right now (hence the lack of home-related blog posts) – early summer is always a hectic time with many of our current projects being submitted for building permits or starting construction. So over the next few months, we thought we’d share a few that have recently been completed or are under construction as we write.

First up, a new custom home in Missoula, Montana that recently wrapped up construction. Thanks to Joe McMahon of McMahon Construction and his entire team for executing the design so well. Kyle started this project in 2008 while working with his previous employer, Balance Associates. It took almost three years and many trips to Missoula to work through the design with the City and acquire the necessary building and land use permits – as the site was a designated steep slope, flood plain and partial wildlife habitat area. Kyle worked with city environmentalists to restore the wildlife area and address their remaining concerns. (When Kyle joined Studio Zerbey the project had already started construction so Balance Associates and Studio Zerbey agreed to complete the project as a joint project.) Kyle was up in MT a few weeks ago and took these photographs of the exterior and main living spaces. More photos to come in the future, but here’s a glimpse for now:


A view of the backyard grassy play area and outdoor kitchen with cantilevered deck and outdoor fireplace beyond. The cantilever was actually a design solution to the topography in this area, spanning across the slope rather than anchoring into it (which wouldn’t have been allowed anyway).


The living room opens up to the outdoor area with a large sliding door. The door has 2 operable panels that slide to the right for an opening that’s about 14′ wide!


You can barely see it in this photo, but beyond the trees there is a large creek that runs through the backyard of the property. Not only does it create a pleasant soothing sound when the doors are open, but the homeowners can also just walk out their back door and do some fly-fishing!



Kyle worked with the homeowners and Melissa Leadbeater at Seattle’s Design Within Reach to select all the furniture for the home. (Obviously, our clients have excellent taste.) They’re now working together again to pick outdoor furniture for summertime.


This view is from the creek looking back towards the house. Originally the yard had a steep slope area that was redesigned into a terraced walkway with Corten steel retaining walls.


The entry side of the home is designed to have a low profile and hug the earth.


Kudos to Andy Lennox of The Lennox Craftsmen for the well-crafted sapele cabinetry with integral lighting that can be seen throughout the home.



Stay tuned for upcoming posts highlighting construction progress on the Olympic Forest Cabin, Alaska Surf Shack and Missoula Mixed-Use Remodel. In addition to two new custom homes, we also have several residential remodel projects that will begin construction this year – a few of which will include good ol’ sweat equity from the homeowners themselves! We can’t wait to share the transformations with you (because if we can’t work on our own homes we might as well live vicariously through others, right?).


21 Responses to “studio zerbey / montana residence”

  1. kurt says:

    how cool to see some modern architecture in Missoula. i’m from there so your work piqued my interest. by any chance is this in the Rattlesnake or is it up Reserve Street?

    Congrats on a lovely piece of architecture.


  2. Marlena says:

    Oh my goodness! It looks amazing! Congratulations on a dream home.

  3. Ann says:

    This is a great looking house, spectacular design.
    One question: considering it’s in Montana, you must have taken heavy snow load into consideration…yet the roofs look pretty flat rather than steeply pitched. Can you share how this works? Thanks.

    • Kyle Zerbey says:

      Hi Ann,

      Snow load actually wasn’t as high as you would think as its in a valley . The green roof was the really challenging weight to design for. The cantilevered roof structures have some pretty sizeable steel beams in them to carry the extra loading! Flat roofs, if designed properly in snow load areas can actually be safer as you don’t have the issue of snow sliding off of the roof.

  4. hjc says:

    What an amazing project!

  5. Dana says:

    Gah! What an amazing home. I love how it’s integrated into its surroundings. And how fun to see a project to fruition!

  6. Joe McMahon says:

    Lauren and Kyle,

    Thanks for including McMahon Construction in your blog posting . Working with you, Kyle is an experience in high quality aesthetic. As your photo’s attest, you are a consummate pro. Let’s build another!

    Highest Regards,


  7. Lilly says:

    Stunning home, truly!

  8. June says:

    This looks awesome!

  9. dk says:

    ok seriously u have to say what is the overall cost of a glorious home like this

    • Kyle Zerbey says:

      Hi DK, wish I could share costs but withheld at clients request. In general I could say that it was a home of high design and construction execution which do come at a cost. Not your typical home for sure.

  10. Amy S says:

    Just stunning. Again.

  11. Laura C says:

    Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Rachel says:

    Wow! The house is beautiful- I really love the combination of exterior materials. Could you tell me what color stain was used on the siding?

    Congrats on such an awesome project!

    • Kyle Zerbey says:

      Hi Rachel, If you’re asking about the cedar siding it had a very light semi transparent white wash clear finish. The other siding material you see is weathered corten steel. Thanks for compliments.

  13. Susan S says:

    Wow, that project is superb! I super love the design. It’s very classy and comfy to live at.

  14. Nikki says:

    I love the outdoor space! Ah to dream of moving out of the apartment….

  15. Sandy B says:

    Stunning home with a respectful nod to Falling Water.

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