Designer: Heather Chontos
Location: Way out in the middle of nowhere Montana, near Bozeman/Belgrade
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: Owned since the 1970s
We'd be lying if we said we didn't have a bit of a crush on artist and stylist Heather Chontos. It was sparked when we first saw her paintings, cemented when we featured her Brooklyn apartment last year, and has taken off again after seeing this recently renovated 1970s seasonal home for a hip couple that Heather has infused with special design touches and filled with her art.
As we saw in her Brooklyn home, Heather's style involves a soft touch, an eclectic array of influences, and a look that's equal parts comfy hipster cabin and cool artsy loft. She brought that style and more to her friends' Montana home.
Strong patterns create a sense of continuity between spaces, and earthy colors pull your eye through the house. No one style rules, and Heather's ability to mix 70s architecture with 80s fixtures and vintage and modern furniture is inspiring, to say the least. Lessons to take from this space? Don't be afraid to mix vintage farmhouse chic pieces with modern art and trendy patterns. Do create meaningful vignettes and lovely stacks of things. Do incorporate window coverings that are hand painted. Don't worry about "matching" and you'll end up with a unique, authentic space!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A good solid mix of new and old, eclectic. This house was challenging — when I first saw it, it was very outdated. It had wall-to-wall carpet and bright yellow wood paneling. The brick was not even nice brick, and the layout and structure is sprawling.
Inspiration: I wanted to take what this house was in the 70s and keep its obvious Montana influence while taking it to a new level with lots of color and organic influences. The surrounding landscape in all its mountainous glory was my inspiration here. I wanted to make it cozy and fun! I love Sawkille — Jonah Meyer is amazing and everything he makes is beautiful: artwork, furniture, everything! My old boss Min Hogg is the founder and previous editor of The World of Interiors magazine in London, and she was and is always my biggest inspiration as an artist and designer.
Favorite Element: I love the open floor plan and all the windows in this house.
Biggest Challenge: A lot of carpet. We got some great floors installed by Lumber Liquidators, a beautiful hardwood maple, and painted the sunken living room floor too, but there is still a lot of carpet. It gets pretty cold in Montana, so I had to keep some of the carpet. I loved the old-school design of some of it, and kept that part as homage to the house's original date of birth.
Biggest Embarrassment: Again the carpet—
Favorite DIY element: The flooring — it transformed the space!
Biggest Indulgence: Art. And I always try and find statement pieces to wow people, whether it be antique or new.
Best Advice: Don't over-think buying things that you love. Make them work and love them in your space.
Resources of Note:
• They are all old; we are replacing them with Maytag appliances.
• From everywhere, but have a new favorite company in Minneapolis: Loll Designs, really cool shapes, love the colors too.
• Good old fashioned 1980s lighting
• Sherwin Williams
• Made by Heather Chontos
• Serena and Lily
• Rugs from West Elm
• Heather Chontos
• All vintage
(Images: Heather Chontos)
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