A Lakeside Whitefish Cabin with a Rustic Palette


Black Country Shingle Front Elevation

At dusk, the main house sits quietly amid the forest and emits a warm glow against the icy backdrop of the lake.

Country Guesthouse Sun Room

A guesthouse sun room boasts a sofa with cushions reupholstered by Modory in Missoula, Montana, using a Bergamo Fabrics print; wicker chairs don a Pierre Frey plaid. A Stark rug anchors these and a coffee table from Amy Perlin Antiques in New York. The two-tiered table is from Applewoods Studio and Gallery.

County Cream Entry Hallway

White wall paneling lends a country aesthetic to the entry hallway and feels appropriate to the area.

Eclectic Country Cream Main Living Area

The main living area features a sofa and chair in Lee Jofa fabrics and an ottoman in Pierre Frey and Dualoy Leather textiles, all covered by Anthony Lawrence-Belfair. A loveseat from Ralph Kylloe Rustic Design and a side table from Linda Horn join the scene atop a Stark rug. The sofa table is an antique from Ann-Morris.

Country Cream Dining Room with Window Seat

The dining room table features a custom claro walnut top by Norris Woodworking and a sculptural bronze base from Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles. Vintage Heywood Wakefield dining chairs from Liza Sherman in New York surround the table beneath an iron chandelier; a Stark rug adds color to the space.

Country Cream Kitchen

The great room was meant to be a comfortable place that serves multiple functions and accommodates large groups of people. In that vein, the kitchen area was designed to look and feel like a friendly bar; that goal was achieved with rustic cabinetry by Norris Woodworking and barstools from Ann-Morris.

Country Shingled Lakeside Exterior

There are several guest cabins on the property for the owners’ family and friends, each with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Guesthouse Wood Paneled Living Room

Quadrille textiles on the sofa and a Lee Jofa print on the armchairs enliven a guesthouse living room. The coffee table and pendant are from Ann-Morris, and the green-glass lamp is from Vidal’s Antiques in New York. A rug by Orley Shabahang grounds the setting.

Country Guesthouse Wood Paneled Dining Area

A guesthouse dining area includes a round table from Mecox in New York and the clients’ own chairs with cushions in Brunschwig & Fils fabric. The sideboard from Ralph Kylloe Rustic Design speaks to the surrounding nature, and a copper pot found at a New York Ann Sacks showroom furthers the rustic scheme.

Country Cream Guest Bedroom with Vaulted Ceiling

Ralph Lauren Home beds in a Dualoy Leather hide pop in the daughters’ room of the main house. The beds sit on a Stark rug and sport Casa Del Bianco linens designed by Juan Montoya. A pair of Vladimir Kagan chairs, flanking a Dessin Fournir table, wears Kravet fabric. The chandelier is from Liza Sherman.

Country Guesthouse Sun Room

A guesthouse sun room boasts a sofa with cushions reupholstered by Modory in Missoula, Montana, using a Bergamo Fabrics print; wicker chairs don a Pierre Frey plaid. A Stark rug anchors these and a coffee table from Amy Perlin Antiques in New York. The two-tiered table is from Applewoods Studio and Gallery.

Country Master Bedroom with Leather Upholstered Wall

The master suite features a custom-built bed by CQ Design Studio in New York and panels behind it by Anthony Lawrence-Belfair. A curved Wendell Castle Collection bench from Barry Friedman in New York lends a sculptural touch. Draperies were fashioned using Lee Jofa fabric; a woolen Stark carpet adds interest.

Country Wood Paneled Master Bathroom

Warm wood panels the walls and ceiling in the master bath. A copper tub pairs with Robert Kuo’s bench from Ann Sacks and Native American artwork from Galerie Flak in Paris. The ceiling light fixture is by Urban Archaeology.

“I call myself a tailor to the client,” expresses New York-based designer Juan Montoya about his approach to fashioning distinctive interiors around the world. “No two projects have been the same throughout my long career. Each time, I create a different look.”

For a remote compound in Whitefish, Montana, that included a main house and multiple guesthouses, some of which date back to the 1890s, Montoya took his cues from the owners’ intent for the property as well as its natural surroundings. “They wanted to use it to go fishing and to socialize with their children and lots and lots of friends,” he explains. “When I saw the neighboring pines and that the property overlooked an expansive lake, the setting was telling me, ‘You have to do things in this manner, take this approach.’ I started putting things together in my head, then projected it later onto paper.”

For continuity, Montoya considered the project—all four buildings—as a whole. “When I do a project like this, I have to think of how everything connects,” he says. “You don’t want to have one look for one house and have another that looks like something else. You don’t have the same furniture or lamps, but you have continuity of character and style.” Using the main structure as a barometer—it’s the core living space for the family and a gathering place for guests—the designer focused on selecting materials that would give the interiors a warm, cozy feel.

Woodwork is a prime example. The removal of a Sheetrock ceiling exposed the original beams, and new, more-modern ceiling beam treatments were patterned after them. White wall paneling added to various rooms lends a country aesthetic and feels appropriate to the area. Wood-framed French windows and doors provide an immediate connection to the outside.

Beyond that, creating inviting spaces was a matter of experience. “I had worked with the owners before, in Paris and England and all over the United States,” Montoya shares. “They had some characteristics in mind for how things should look, and I knew what they liked. We already had chemistry.” To that end, the designer chose each item of furniture, every piece of art and all of the accessories with care. Some custom-designed pieces were imported from New York City, but others were sourced or made locally. “One thing I like to do when I design a residence is to really explore where I am,” he says. “You can get beautiful things locally and find wonderful craftsmen.”

In the main living room, Montoya organized a textured, colorfully patterned sofa, chair and rug around an original stone fireplace, and he integrated locally crafted canoes into the décor by suspending them from ceiling beams (they can easily be taken down for paddling on the lake in the summer). He then set a dining table that he considers a piece of art in the adjoining dining area, and designed the open kitchen, with its anchored stools and custom wood cabinetry, to look and feel more like a bar. “You can walk through the space and see how all of these elements play very nicely together,” he says.

Sleeping rooms are dramatic yet comforting. The master suite, for instance, features a custom leather headboard, a boldly patterned carpet and oversize beams that allowed space for soundproofing material. A stunning ebonized-wood vanity, designed by Montoya, pairs with a copper soaking tub in the master bath. Steeply angled beams exposed during the renovation and red leather sleigh beds help cozy up the daughters’ room.

Though the location often presented challenges during the process, including storms that dropped chest-high snow, they were overcome and outshone by the end result. “It’s warm and inviting inside,” says Montoya. “When I think about it, I want to be there.”