Don and Marilyn's new house

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Mike's parents, Don and Marilyn DonTigny, started clearing land to build their new house in fall, 2002. (They are building down the road from where they currently live on Swan Lake near Bigfork, MT.) By the end of November, they had dug the hole for the basement and were ready to begin construction. They send photos all along to share their progress.

July, 2003

They were all moved in by the May 24, but had a lot of unpacking and arranging to do, a yard to landscape, a dock to put in, a trail to build, a boat to launch.... Things were just starting to settle down when the visitors arrived. First came Joan's family and friends from Louisville, then Bill's family, then us, and then Don's siblings and cousin. (Photos are posted on Recent events.) By the end of this month, Don and Marilyn might get a couple of days all alone to relax!

Click on a photo to see a larger version.

The front yard is in and the sprinklers run constantly

The family sign hangs on the front porch

The back of the house includes a covered porch and deck for enjoying the lake breezes

Sierra enjoys some of those breezes

This section of the back deck opens into the upstairs guest suite (Joan's room)

The view from the living room toward the kitchen and dining room (including Bill taking a break from clearing the beach)

The opposite view, which shows the fireplace, the door to Joan's room, the door to the computer room, and the banister for the staircase. Joan arranged the artwork and books on the new shelves

The stone fireplace incorporates stones that resemble 3-D mountains, the state of Montana or "Big Sky", and the sun

The dining room. The open layout on the main floor facilitates visiting and minimizes bottlenecks

Marilyn enjoys her new kitchen and granite countertops. Notice how clear the "glass" is in the cabinet doors!!! Don will make stained glass inserts when things settle down. In the meantime, they are becoming too accustomed to reaching through the doors instead of opening them

Jerry Gaiser recently installed the cabinets for the computer room (where Kathi spent many enjoyable hours trying to access her email on Montana-speed phone lines)

This stairway leads to the bottom floor of the house

Behind the stairway is the game room, where Don keeps his Father's Day/birthday gift from the kids

The downstairs family room features a snack bar, sink, and fridge for hungry kids and guests

The downstairs fireplace has an interesting stucco finsh and beautiful rockwork

According to the girls, who thoroughly researched the theory, the hall leading to the guest rooms is large enough to play soccer....

Here's the view from the pontoon boat looking up toward the house

And here's the view from the lake after Bill chopped trees and cleared brush. There's a lot more work to do, but this is already much larger and nicer than their previous beach

The house sits nestled at the base of the Swan Range with magnificent views

May, 2003

This is the big month! Beautiful lighting fixtures are in, massive rock walls have been constructed on each side of the house, and the builders are finishing up the details. A lot will be happening this week (May 12-16), as final preparations are made before the big move. Carpet is being installed in the basement, as soon as the fireplace is finished, and the granite countertop in the kitchen will be put in. Outside, the cement sidewalk and driveway will be poured right after gutters are installed, plus the exterior will be painted. Bill is driving out from Seattle on Friday to help Don and Marilyn start moving in on May 17. (That's one way for him to upgrade his room!) The family "pet" has already moved in!

With a suitable bribe, you can probably book your reservation for a guest suite. You might want to specify a bat-free suite.

The difference between men and boys is the size of their toys!

Kids apparently think the new rock wall is fun to climb

The entry features lots of natural light

The kitchen is easily accessible from the living room or dining room

The "pass me a beverage" window between the kitchen and living room could be very convenient

The dining room has a nice view of Swan Lake

The dining room table (photographed in the showroom) has plenty of room for family banquets or a competitive round of Apples to Apples

The computer room windows look out on the woods in the front yard

Don gets this smaller closet (and Marilyn gets a walk-in closet)

The tile is in and ready for the jetted tub in the master bath

They could have paid a LOT more for the arts-and-craft style light in the half bath if they hadn't shopped at Home Depot

The rock for the fireplace on the main floor is laid out and ready to install

That's a lot of rock!

Back to the entry--the railing is installed on the staircase

Next on our virtual tour, let's head down those stairs and into the basement

The downstairs fireplace has a stucco finish

The downstairs family room includes this bar area for snacks

Here's the counter in the downstairs bathroom

Surprise! The (first) family bat has already made itself at home!

April, 2003

In April the fireplaces, hardwood flooring, and cabinets were installed. Looks like we can start thinking about housewarming gifts!

Unfortunately, the photo CD was defective so we were not able to post April photos.

March, 2003

By the end of March, sheetrock and siding were installed and interior painting had begun. Jerry Gaiser was working on kitchen cabinets, the roof was partially finished, and the deck was in place.

View from the south (before the siding was installed)

Front of house with siding (and icicles)

Garage with siding

Basement hallway

Basement stairs (you can see the game room on the other side of the stairs)

Bay windows in the downstairs bedroom--what a change from the old "Joan's room"!

Two furnaces: one for the main floor and one for the basement!

Master bath window--over the whirlpool tub

Here's what the kitchen area looked like at the beginning of the month

Here's the kitchen later in the month

Another view of the kitchen area (showing the windows over the front entry)

Back view with deck framing

A view from the south with siding installed

The garage is already starting to fill up!

Work is underway on the roof

Winter view from their current back deck

Notice that the lake hadn't frozen over

February, 2003

In February, plywood was added to the roof and then covered by a bladder to protect the house from snow and rain. (A metal roof will be installed in the spring.) The crew completed interior framing, and installed the fireplace, plumbing, electrical wiring, propane pipes, and insulation. They caught up to and passed the progress on Mike and Kathi's house!

Front view of house--the bay is the future computer room

The living room fireplace will have river rock around it. (We all realized we had chosen the same fireplace brand and model--great minds think alike!)

View from the living room toward Swan Lake, with the fireplace on the right

View from the dining room

Here's the basement hallway

This fireplace is in the basement

Steps leading into the basement

Looking from the living room toward the front door

View from the master bedroom. (It looks like every room will have a great view--maybe even Joan's room!)

The front porch is framed in

Don stands in the kitchen--he can probably already smell that holiday turkey cooking

Covered deck along the lake side of the house

There's lots of covered deck

View of the lake side (back) of the house

The upstairs guest bath now has plumbing and a bathtub

Electrician Chris works on the kitchen lights

Rod and Don discuss sinks in the master bath

View of the house from Swan Lake Highway

January, 2003

In January, the trusses for the roof were set in place. Notice that in contrast to December, there isn't any snow to speak of. Out of consideration for our construction projects, the snow diverted itself to the southeast (and we sincerely hope cold weather did not destroy Gayle's key lime trees).

Marilyn consults with general contractor Rod Danz

Framing for the roof over the garage begins

Framing for the north end of the house begins

Aerial view of front of house

Aerial view of southeast corner

Cranes lift trusses to the roof

Don inspects scaffolding along the back of the house with Bill and Gwen Brown

December, 2002

In December, the floor and walls for the basement were built, the slab for the garage was poured, and the house was framed.

South and west walls are begun (garage in foreground)

West wall along back of house grows northward

South wall is up

Main floor is framed along back of house

Front walls are up


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