Edgar, Montana


Trenay Hart


2,170 square feet



Project Highlights

High performance, residential remodel; Premiered a crane lifting technique to extract original cabin structure


In the beginning, a simple log cabin was set on a basement foundation on the property. The cabin consisted of a kitchen/dining space, closet and powder room upstairs, with two bedrooms and a bathroom in the basement. A number of years later, in want of more space, the owners added an addition on each side of the house, adding a garage and larger living room. However, they still felt cramped for space, and the “hodge-podge” design didn't come close to matching the great location and breathtaking views.


In 2009, the owner set out to expand and remodel the existing “cabin." After an initial design phase, during a summertime site visit in 2009, it was determined that the design would need some major revamping. An infestation of insects in the wood siding and cabin logs made it apparent that the siding on the addition would have to be covered or removed.  Yet, the question remained: what to do with the beautiful log cabin attached in the middle? The solution: Cut it from the two attached additions and concrete foundation, lift it straight up, move it adjacent to the remodeled home with a huge crane.  Really? Yup, check it out:


The cabin was refinished with a new floor, attached ¾ bath, and wood stove, in order to function as the guest sleeping quarters. With the cabin gone, the existing dramatic floor level changes between the cabin (40” above grade) and the additions (at grade) could also be leveled. In the "hole" left by the relocated cabin, new SIP walls and roof matching the form of the cabin were installed for the new dining room and bathroom. Three additions on the east side of the structure created a studio, kitchen, and new attached garage.

The garage and studio additions are the most dramatic changes to the form. Galvanized, corrugated metal siding and a tall slender form mimic the grain silos of surrounding farmland.  The other parts to the building are clad in corrugated, rusted metal to provide a contrast and remember the dark brown wood siding and log cabin.  The paint colors inside were picked to match the blue sky, barley, and sage of the Clarks Fork River valley.  Overall, the project is meant to complement the surrounding landscape and vernacular while simultaneously creating and maintaining its own unique character.


High Plains worked very closely with the owner and contractor to maintain a sharp focus on energy efficiency and sustainable materiality to achieve a high level of green building performance.  The project utilizes a number of sustainable building strategies, including:
  • Super-insulated walls, windows, and roof
  • Natural, stack ventilation through operable windows, clerestories, and skylights
  • In-floor radiant heating
  • Daylighting
  • Green materials - 
    • Wheatboard cabinets (rapidly renewable) 
    • Recycled glass tile 
    • Low emitting paints, coatings, sealants, adhesives
    • Locally quarried and cut limestone flooring
  • Reused doors, windows, cabinets, concrete porch pieces (as new patio "urbanite")
  • Passive solar design
  • Photovoltaic rooftop panels
  • Rainwater collection for landscaping
  • Sustainable landscaping -
    • Native grasses
    • Landscaping river rocks from riverbank on property
    • Drought tolerant gardens
    • Bird habitat preservation with bird sanctuary areas
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