WHITEFISH – Imagine getting a call asking you to build a luxury home high above Whitefish.
It’s not unusual if you’re a Northwest Montana builder — but then you find out your work is going to be the showcase of a national television promotion.
You could say every home has a story and that’s certainly the case for a luxury home on the slopes of Big Mountain — although its origin started as a mystery for Bear Barinowski and his colleagues.
HGTV’s 2019 “Dream Home” is high on the slopes of Big Mountain overlooking Whitefish, and it could be yours in this year’s sweepstakes.
“At the second or third meeting they kind of revealed, okay, this is HGTV’s Dream Home for 2019 and you can’t tell anybody about this. But we’ve got a budget we’ve got to hit. We’ve got a schedule we’ve got to hit. And we’ve got quality we’ve got to hit,” said Barinowski of Malmquist Construction.
“The expertise that we found in Timber Forge Design and Malmquist Construction, we just couldn’t ship that in if you will,” said Discovery Corporate Communications Senior Director Kriston Alm. “They know the local area, they know all about what it takes to build in this terrain. They’re just really the pros.”
The challenge started in February, during one of the snowiest winters in years on Big Mountain. But before long, the bold design with “dream ideas” was taking shape.
“Taller window wall than we’ve ever done. One single, slope roof over the top. And it transitioned into a space that not only allows a lot of glass to be done and a lot of light to come in but also looks unique from both the inside perspective and outside perspective,” said Kevin Richardson with Timber Forge Designs.
“It was different that we had two live cameras on the exterior. We had three live cameras on the interior and then we had a cameraman who was kind of in your grill here,” Barinowski said.
“And he moved to Whitefish and he was here everyday filming where we were. And he kind of became part of the building crew,” Barinowski added. He’d take lunch with the guys, and got to know their kids and their wives and their grandparents and so he was sort of an integrated part of the whole process.”
It’s not just the interior of the home that’s beautiful. Out on the deck, you get a full chance to enjoy the view of Whitefish Lake and the Montana outdoors.
“Everybody just wants indoor-outdoor space, especially in Montana. That’s kind of the key. Everybody lives outside and the beauty about this house is with the door systems that we have, the inside and the outside are so interactive that if you had a hundred people in here it wouldn’t feel full,” Richardson said.
“A nice little interaction between the inside and the outside, along with the living room window wall that is an accordion style wall that goes all the way back,” explained Tyler Frank with Malmquist Construction. “So you have a 16-foot wide opening, 10-feet tall, really capturing that inside, outside feel. So it’s really a functional space.”
The home is functional right down to the classic cedar hot tub.
“When you walk in, it kind of takes your breath away. Immediately when you’re inside you feel outside again. You’ve got Whitefish Lake in the background. All the woods, the forest, you feel like you’re purchased on top of the world,” Barinowski said.
“The idea behind the design of this home is to combine the feel of Western Montana and Big Mountain with the rest of the Pacific Northwest,” he added.
“It’s kind of a mashup of like New Western and also Pacific Northwest. Because we’re so close to Washington — which is known for its Pacific Northwest style — but we’re also in Montana,” said interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn.
“And I love both styles equally. So I thought by blending the two you kind of appeal to a wider audience and create something new and fresh,” he added.
And that’s what impresses — there are luxury touches but also a “homestyle” feel — from recycled wood from a historic building in Columbia Falls to the handrail formed of ski lift cable to the “pet nook” under the stairs to welcome fuzzy friends.
Throw in a new Honda, and $250,000 and you really do have “big dreams on Big Mountain”…
“It turned into another house, but it was a special house for us,” Barinowski said. “We’re really proud of it. How we pulled it off and how it happened for sure.”
Entries for the HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes start December 28, and you can enter twice a day until the house is awarded after February 18. Click here for more information.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News