Scratchgravel Hills, Residential

Project overview

Sitting high in the Scratch Gravel Hills, this linear, east-west-oriented design ensures that nearly every room in the house takes full advantage of the stunning southeastern views. The single-story and low sloped roof help maintain a low profile in the landscape, but a small second-story deck space allows residents to get high above the surrounding houses. A single hallway along the northern edge of the house serves as the spine of the home with individual rooms connecting to the south.


  • The site and views played a big role in the design early on. Led to the east-west, south-facing orientation.
  • The clients wanted a separation between the guest spaces like the main entry, living room, guest bedroom, and bathroom and the more private spaces like the office and master bedroom and bathroom. This led to placing the guest spaces on the east side of the house and the private spaces on the west end of the house, with the kitchen and dining room separating them.
  • Conversations with the client about ease of navigation led to the mostly one-story design with just a small second-story deck space.


This contemporary, rural home is situated on a bench at the base of the Scratchgravel Hills with a breathtaking backdrop of the entire Helena valley. We don’t always get an amazing site to design with, so when we do, we need to take careful notice of that sense of place. The numerous south-facing windows and upper- deck allow the homeowners to take in some of the best views available of Mt. Helena and the cityscape from nearly every room in the home. The house is orientated along the path of the sun, which maximizes available sunlight throughout the year and allows for tracking of astrological waypoints across the sky in the evenings.