How the West Was Done | Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin Photos

Country's Best Cabins | by: Rae Hamilton | photography by: Heidi Long

Read the full story: A Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin

Montana reclaimed log cabin entry
Local cedars support the roof over the entrance to Jim and Lani Gifford's cabin. The logs were harvested in the winter when there is little sap in the log.

Montana reclaimed log cabin exterior detail
A large steel knife set in each entry log's concrete base goes through the boulder and into the log to help it withstand seismic shocks.

Montana reclaimed log cabin mudroom
Monroe Metalsmithing provided hooks crafted from reclaimed iron from railroad tracks in the mudroom/foyer. Monroe Metalsmithing proprietor James Monroe also built the chair side table in the bedroom out of an old metal grate and railroad ties.

Montana reclaimed log cabin kitchen
Reclaimed materials permeate the kitchen and dining area. The dining set comprises a restored Virginia farm table and new chairs. The floors were made from corral planks taken from eastern Montana, which is much more arid than the western part of the state and, therefore, kinder to old wood.

Montana reclaimed log cabin great room
Leather sofas and woven reed chairs, selected by Whitefish, Montana-based interior decorating firm Hunter & Co., provide comfort and clean lines in the Gifford great room, while the candle chandelier, made by Burbank, California-based Laura Lee Designs, provides light and ambiance.

Montana reclaimed log cabin masonry
Montana-based Adoretti Masonry did the masonry work for the hearth, shown in detail here. The Giffords used a lot of local materials to achieve the cabin's Gold-Level certification under the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Green Building Standard program.

Montana reclaimed log cabin Christmas tree
Ranch manager Jim Boyd hauls in a Christmas tree for the great room. A 10-foot-plus span of windows serves as a great focal point for such a decoration.

Montana reclaimed log cabin powder room
Hunter Dominick, founder of Hunter & Co. interior decorators, found the unique starburst mirror on a trip to Mexico.

Montana reclaimed log cabin guest bedroom
Hunter & Co. decorated both the master bedroom and the guest bedroom, shown here. Jodi Shirkey of Hunter & Co. notes, "We tried to marry luxurious comfort desired in a bedroom with spare lines that are at least Western and perhaps a little Asian as well."

Montana reclaimed log cabin bathroom
The Giffords decided to use surface stone, with all of its idiosyncrasies, to wall in the showers. Taken from nearby Hot Springs, Montana, the textured surfaces add to the genuine rusticity of the Gifford cabin. "The stone had been lying on the surface for who knows how long — it was tumbled, weathered and speckled by lichen," notes builder Brad Reedstrom. "Despite initial doubts about its suitability, we all were pleased with both the visual effect and the functionality."

Montana reclaimed log cabin porch
Century-plus-old logs were reclaimed from the Stimson Dam for the cabin. Two porches, featuring cedar posts comparable to the entry, lie adjacent to each bedroom.

Montana reclaimed log cabin log detail
The Giffords and the builder decided the logs made such a dramatic statement that the corners should not be dovetailed, as originally planned, but saddle-notched.

Montana reclaimed log cabin exterior setting
Jim and Lani Gifford nestled their cabin among the trees overlooking their lake to make it appear as if it had been there for ages. They didn't leave much to chance. "We probably planted more trees than we took down," says Jim.

Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin Floor Plan

Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin Main Level Plan
Main Level
Click floor plan image to see a larger view.

Read the Story: A Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin

By on Nov 13, 2010
Please sent me approximtivement the price of this log home.


By Whitney Richardson on Nov 14, 2010
Musyacef--You will need to contact the builder, Bigfork Builders Inc. (406-837-3373;, for specific pricing information.

By Roger Jamieson on Nov 15, 2010
Awesome home! Love the reclaimed logs, rock work and log pillars. Looks fantastic!

By Jay on Dec 01, 2010
I love the stone in the shower! Is it at all possible to get the same stone anywhere online to do a similar project? I also love the rustic look to the reclaimed logs, much better than stripped-bark new logs IMO.

By Whitney Richardson on Dec 02, 2010
Jay--Unfortunately, we do not have specifics on the type of stone used for the shower. You may to contact the company that handled the masonry for the home, Adoretti Masonry (406-212-4983), to see if it has additional information.

By Joan Grandmont on Dec 04, 2010
I really like the layout of this plan but would like to consider adding an open loft overlooking the living room area - is there another plan that allows for this and does the structural elements of the existing plan allow of it? Thanks for all the beautiful photos. I am truly inspired to learn more about this home. Regards, Joan G.

By Whitney Richardson on Dec 06, 2010
Joan--Glad you like it. If you questions about modifying the original plan, it would be best to discuss those with the actual architect: George Gibson Architecture, Bigfork, MT (406-837-6898;

By Chuck on Dec 14, 2010
Do you now the room dimensions?
How big are the bedrooms?

By Whitney Richardson on Dec 15, 2010
Chuck--Each bedroom is roughly 15-by-18 feet.

By Chuck on Dec 15, 2010
What a nice smaller log home design.
Two master suites is very nice.

By Margaret R. on Dec 16, 2010
What an incredible log cabin! Love all the details, so well thought out. The master bath is especially beautiful. Gorgeously placed on the site. I love the patina older wood has. Is it generally more or less expensive to use reclaimed materials?

By Whitney Richardson on Dec 17, 2010
Margaret--It's difficult to compare costs of new versus reclaimed materials, given that the latter is more often subject to what's available. For example, if a company is taking down a 100-year-old barn and only 30 to 40 percent of the wood is reusable, that will translate into higher upfront costs for the company, which will likely be passed onto the consumer in some form. It would be best to speak with a few companies that deal in reclaimed wood to get a better idea of what you can expect to pay.

By Anonymous on Dec 21, 2010
I emailed the Architect.
Very nice person, and has some wonderful projects.
He is getting a plan book together, and told me he has several smaller designs around 1,600 sq. ft. and under.

From what I have seen reclaimed wood products are generally going to cost 2 to 3 times the amount as new (at least in my area), because of labor involved in dismantling and denailing etc. the product.
However if a person has this kind of gumption, he can often get some of these materials himself.

By Chuck on Dec 21, 2010
If you go to the bigforkbuilders web site you can see alot of really good photos of this home (paradise cabin...also check out the paradise barn which was in timberhome living).
Interesting saddle notch corners.

By Chuck on Dec 21, 2010
I love reclaiming stuff (been doing it my whole life).
I get offers to dismantle or assist, unfortunately I am only one person.
I am presently going to help with an older building with the wood parts (beams and floor decking).

The amount of older houses and buildings that are just being torn down and crunched by an excavator and sent to the dump are so large in my area.
Many are older homesteads that family members cannot afford to maintain and pay taxes on, so they just tear them down.
They sometimes just let the barns fall down, and some older homes are used for fire department training.

Its very sad, so if a person can use some reclaimed materials in their project somewhere (even if not the whole thing) you are really preserving a piece of history, some of which was hewn by hand, or cut in a local sawmill.
Even old hardware items, that can be used again or re-purposed into something else (lighting).
I once got two old panel doors that a friend was throwing out to the dump.
We spent hours stripping the old doors, and sanding them, to discover they were hand made/ hand pegged....sometime in the early to mid 1800's I suspect (that was the age of his timber home).
They are still in my home.

By Chuck on Jan 11, 2011
Hey Whitney,
How about doing a story and photos on George Gibsons Rustic River Cabin?
I would love to see this one too!

By Danielle Taylor on Jan 14, 2011
If you know of a standout home that might work well in our magazines, visit to learn how to submit a home for consideration.

By Chuck on Jan 20, 2011
Unfortunately I live in Maine, and George Gibson's "Rustic River" is in MT someplace.
Its on his / gibsonarchitecture web site.
Its another nice reclaimed cabin on the Swan River.
I wish I was closer so I could get some photos for you.

By Susan on Feb 28, 2011
I absolutely LOVE the front door with the wreath on it. Do you know where I can find one like it?

By Whitney Richardson on Mar 01, 2011
Chuck--In addition to this feature, we also showcased one of George's homes in last year's issue of Cozy Cabins. The cabin was the model for the Saddlehorn Development. You can grab a back issue at (It's listed under Country's Best Cabins.)

By Whitney Richardson on Mar 01, 2011
Susan--The doors were made by Swan River Door Co., Bigfork, MT (406-837-3766; You can check out more resources for this home at Hope that helps!

By Katie on May 24, 2011
Can anyone tell me the name of the artist who painted the buffalo in the great room? It's stunning!

By Danielle Taylor on May 26, 2011
For information about the interior decorating, contact Hunter & Co. in Whitefish, MT (406-862-1402; A full list of companies involved in the creation of this home can be found by clicking the "Read the Story: A Montana Reclaimed Log Cabin" link, found in blue above this comments section.

By Paul Griffin on Dec 24, 2011
I love the paintings! Who's the artist?

By Danielle Taylor on Dec 29, 2011
Hi Paul,
Greg Osterhaus ( did the paintings in the great room and kitchen. Contact Bill McMann with McMann Fine Arts (; 540-815-5025) for more information.

For all other interior decorating questions, contact Hunter & Co. (406-862-1402;

You can also see a full list of resources for this home by clicking on either of the "Read the Story" links at the top and bottom of the gallery and scrolling to the bottom of the article on the page that appears.

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