Mountain High Style in Montana

Interior designers Gary McBournie and Bill Richards bring studied colorful style to a new retreat on the slopes of Big Sky.
A mix of brick and wood make up the outside of a house sitting in snow-covered mountains.
The exterior of the home speaks to the setting in Montana’s Yellowstone Club with architecture by Locati. The stone and wood detailing continues into the entry for a welcome connection between indoors and out.
Green pine trees are seen through a large window from an office.
The office brings nature’s hues indoors with greens, browns, and coppers. All of the window shades in the home are custom and motorized to easily control the light flow in each room.

Classic Swiss chalet sensibilities and 1960s David Hicks panache may not seem like ideal bedfellows, but in the capable hands of interior designers Gary McBournie and Bill Richards, these disparate inspirations seamlessly came together. The result is a one-of-a-kind retreat for longtime clients in Montana’s Yellowstone Club. “The homeowner did not want the predictable Western look with too much stone and wood, an antler chandelier, and a palette of creams, browns, and grays,” says Gary. “She said to think more along the lines of Gstaad in the Swiss Alps, so that’s where the old-world European influences came into play.” The partners also channeled design touchstones from more recent decades to keep things interesting and a bit unpredictable. And while the interiors are not typical in most respects, they still speak to the glorious setting halfway up a ski-in-ski-out mountain. There is stone and wood, but it’s treated in a more subtle fashion. “Our client seems to have an allergic reaction to too much dark wood,” laughs Bill. The reclaimed ceiling beams were lightened with a white-wash stain, while hand-troweled plaster separates and softens the ceiling in the primary bedroom. The design team also included a limestone fireplace surround with a more ’70s ambiance instead of the expected wood treatment.

A copper couch with a fur in an entryway.
The designers wanted the interiors to feel like an old log cabin but with sophisticated pieces in the mix. For example, a custom settee encrusted with pennies and welded together with stainless steel by sculptor Johnny Swing plays a starring role in the foyer.
“Scale is important in every project, but in this house, it was essential to get it right or the design could fall flat.” —Gary McBournie
Grey patterned wallpaper and wood make up a mudroom.
The mudroom features wooden cabinetry and wainscotting topped with a Peter Fasano wallpaper in a custom slate-green colorway. The glass globe light fixture in an oil-rubbed bronze finish from Remains Lighting adds a striking note.
A dramatic green and striped bed canopy hangs over a cream colored bed.
Each guest bedroom has a distinctive design scheme and palette. This one leans into the European ski resort inspiration with a floral Lee Jofa headboard and an elegant canopy in a striped fabric lined in green silk. Walls are covered in a Phillip Jeffries metallic spice paper.

When it came to making selections for the interiors, the designers had to contend with 20-foot-plus ceilings and oversized rooms in some areas of the house. “Scale is important in every project, but in this home, it was essential to get it right or the design could fall flat,” says Gary. The pair scoured international auctions and Paris flea markets to find large antique and vintage light fixtures with a compelling presence. They also chose furniture pieces and accessories that have a sense of gravitas—there is nothing fragile in the mix. “In a home like this, you need to give the impression that you can walk through in your ski boots and not worry about anything,” says Bill. “It has to have a look that’s gutsy and solid.”

Floral furniture and bed curtains in a brightly lit windowed bedroom.
While spacious, the primary bedroom has a cosseting feel with the tall bed hangings, luxurious cashmere layers for the bed, and heavily pleated window panels in a Jane Shelton blue-and-green windowpane check.
A bright hallway has a fur rug, an antique side table, a floral painting, and a green chair.
The bedroom’s vestibule has organic elements like the petrified wood lamp base juxtaposed with more formal pieces such as a French walnut two-drawer commode circa 1790 to 1810.

While the house shows off a novel palette for a mountain property—ruby red, emerald green, tangerine orange, and vivid yellow—along with a mix of pretty blues, the choices proved to be a little more complicated, as Gary and Bill explain. “We are always doing a little dance with these clients. The wife prefers a softer, lighter palette while the husband likes brighter hues. While both have become more open to change during all the years we’ve been working together, we still had to strike a balance.” For example, one side of the extra long living room speaks to the wife’s quieter aesthetic with blue tones, hand-blocked linen fabric, and a multicolored muted strié silk velvet, while the other side of the space expresses the husband’s bolder preferences with a red sofa, more intense blues, and contemporary art. A seagrass carpet layered with a Suzani-inspired print wool-and-silk rug furthers the dialogue.

A high ceiling with wooden beams hangs over a living room looking out on rolling hills.
To bring a sense of warmth to the living room with its soaring ceilings, the designers included a mixture of fabrics in floral prints, stripes, and velvets. A Suzani-inspired rug ties everything together.

When it came to decorative touches, the partners sprinkled pieces throughout that speak to the setting. Over the living room fireplace mantel hangs a Bavarian carved wooden deer head. Another fireplace wall features an overscaled circular Western industrial blade. In the primary bedroom, a straw steer head and a white-washed, tree trunk-inspired lamp base decorate the space. “You definitely know where you are without being too heavy-handed in the décor,” say the designers. “With floor-to-ceiling glass-paned walls, the natural beauty of the Montana landscape is the ever-present scene stealer.”

A cozy hanging seat on the deck looking over a snow covered mountain.
The family room connects to the outdoors by a slate terrace. The designers created a cozy moment with a Dedon hanging swing layered with a cashmere throw and fur pillow. A side table also by Dedon makes it easy to cozy up with a warm drink or a cocktail.

By Alice Welsh Doyle

Photography by Annie Schlechter

Styling by David Murphy


Interior Design: Gary McBournie & Bill Richards, Gary McBournie Inc.,; Architect: Locati Architects,; Contractor: Schlauch Bottcher Construction Inc.,

EXTERIOR: Windows: Montana Sash & Door,

ENTRY: Penny-encrusted settee by sculptor Johnny Swing, from R & Company,; Custom wool and silk ‘Snow Flake’ rug: Stark Carpet,; Linen console tables: John Boone,; Antique table lamp: Timothy Langston,

GREAT ROOM: Drapery and motorized shades: John Tate Workroom,; ‘Madagascar’ area rug: (large sisal rug) Merida Studio,, and Stark Carpet,; Floral area rug: (smaller colorful patterned rug),; Grand piano: Steinway & Sons,; Unlacquered brass ceiling fixture: Bernd Goeckler Antiques,; Fire screen: Wm. H. Jackson Co.,; Antique carved wood stag head: 1stDibs,; Wall color: ‘Tallow’ by Benjamin Moore,; Pair of split-back chairs in a Lee Jofa fabric, Kravet Inc.,; Ottoman: Classic Cloth ‘Bergerac’ in cranberry, Wells Textiles,; Late 16th/early 17th century trestle leg walnut table: 1st Dibs,

GUEST BEDROOM: Headboard in Lee Jofa fabric, Kravet Inc.,; Wallcovering: ‘Japanese Silk’ in metallic spice, Phillip Jeffries,; Bed drapery: by John Tate Workroom in Clarence House fabric (outside),, and Kravet dupioni silk (inside),; Bedding: Pioneer Linens,

OFFICE: Drapery: by John Tate Workroom in a Cowtan & Tout fabric,; Motorized grass shades: John Tate Workroom,; Copper lantern: BK Antiques,; Bronze and black metal and glass side table: Balsamo Antiques, balsamoantiques. com; Circular table with splayed legs and reverse painted gold glass top: BK Antiques,

MUDROOM: ‘Sorenson’ lantern in an oil-rubbed bronze finish: Remains Lighting,; Wallcovering: ‘Persia’ in a custom slate green colorway, Peter Fasano,

TERRACE: ‘Nestrest’ hanging lounger swing and ‘Satellite’ side table, Dedon,

PRIMARY BEDROOM VESTIBULE: Petrified wood lamp and French walnut two-drawer commode circa 1790-1810: BK Antiques,

PRIMARY BEDROOM: ‘Winslett’ rug in sand with a custom border: Stark Carpet,; Drapery by John Tate Workroom in Jane Shelton ‘Counterpane’ in blue/green,; Motorized grass shades: John Tate Workroom,; ‘Oppede’ bed: Rose Tarlow,; Bed drapery by John Tate Workroom in Lee Jofa ‘Hollyhock’ in multi-colorway (outside) and blue Clarence House fabric (interior),, and Kravet Inc.,; Chandelier with rock and lead crystals: ‘Vecchio’ by Dennis & Leen,; Hammered gold gilt metal foot stool: 1950s Italian Luigi Colli from Balsamo Antiques, balsamoantiques. com; Syrie Maugham-style sofa: upholstered in ‘Impeccable’ in ‘watery’ colorway, Kravet Inc.,; Pair of rolled arm chairs in Lee Jofa ‘Hollyhock’ in ‘multi’, Kravet Inc.,