Slow, Country Living in Montana’s Absaroka Mountains

by Sabrina Smelko

After living in the heart of Philadelphia, Kristi Reed and her husband Greg moved back out west in search of that good, slow country living. They were both lucky to find jobs in the charming town of Livingston, Montana, and after that, house-hunting was a breeze. This 1920s 1,700 square foot farm house nestled in the Paradise Calley allowed them the life they were searching for. Boasting four acres and plenty of rustic charm, Kristi says of their space, “Out here I am able to run my online business, grow a lovely garden and take care of plenty of animals.”

Kristi works at the town’s Food Pantry, and also runs the online vintage shop, , and Greg works at the local hospital. In their down-time, they enjoy frequenting local thrift shops and antique stores, and tending to their home, land, and their animals. Among their pet-posse is a corgi named Clyde, a corgi-heeler mix (AKA a cowboy corgi) named Judd, their cat, Crick, and 8 hens. On top of their farm-animal-family, they’re also pleased to be preparing for the arrival of their first baby!

Three years into living in their space, and Kristi and Greg’s home is still a work-in-progress. Since moving in, they have renovated and restored the original features of their entire upstairs, but until they’re able to balance the fine mix of time, patience and money to overhaul the main floor, they’re working with what they have and making temporary fixes and using decor to make it their own, regardless of its imperfections. Especially with a baby on the way, “we have learned to establish priorities in our home,” Kristi says, “It’s amazing how much a new coat of paint or a throw rug can brighten up a room.”

Despite their limitations, they’ve created a cozy, rustic, cabin feel, with just a hint of modern touches. “Mostly everything in our home is vintage, second hand, or handmade,” Kristi explains, “The theme is eclectic with a mid-century, [rustic] vibe.” With clean white walls and original wood floors, their open floor plan allows for maximum views of the Absaroka Mountains, and their backyard is not only a playground for many deer and antelope, but the perfect place to watch the sunset and star-gaze.

Photography by

Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
As you enter the front door and turn right, this is the view of the living room. Their wood stove is their main source of heat. Kristi and Greg chop wood throughout the year to prepare for the cold winter months. "There is no heat like that from a wood-burning stove," Kristi says, "It is so cozy and has made me appreciate winters on a much deeper level."
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Kristi, Greg and part of their pet-gang sitting on their mid-century couch, surrounded by pillows which were purchased from a thrift store. The vintage map of Yellowstone National Park was Greg's grandfather's, and the walls are crafted from reclaimed barn wood. Kristi says, "I am thankful to have a comfortable and loving home to raise our baby on the way."
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
"This piano used to live in our college house with all of our friends in Portland, OR," Kristi explains."It has made its way to our home where I think it will retire!" Most of the cacti on top are from Kristi's grandfather's house in Ojai, CA. The Charles M. Russel print was a lucky find at a thrift store in Livingston.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Across from the barn-wood wall is this leather sofa and nook. To the right is the kitchen. The framed USA map is an old map that Greg stumbled upon years past and the lamps are from various thrift stores across Montana.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Judd enjoying a bone on their living room rug. The bookshelf pictured in the back was made out of reclaimed lumber by Greg and his good friend, and the mid-century magazine holder was Greg's grandmother's.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
The view from the kitchen into the living room. The spice rack was purchased on Etsy and the wall art was found at a thrift store.
Their 2-story fam house floor plan.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Opposite the living room from the front door, you'll find Kristi and Greg's dining room. The dining table was handmade by Greg's father, and it is one of the most treasured items in their home. The assorted antique chairs were all found at various antique shops, thrift stores, and estate sales and the bar cart was purchased at Target.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Mostly everything in the kitchen has remained just as it was when they first bought the home. The couple hopes to undergo a kitchen renovation soon, but in the meanwhile, things like adding the rug and decorations, all purchased at a thrift store, make it feel more personalized.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Off the kitchen is their laundry room which I'm green with envy over.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Upstairs, their master bedroom was renovated to reveal the beauty of the original hardwood. The dresser was passed down to Kristi from her mother, their simple slate bed is from IKEA, and the blanket was found at a local thrift shop.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
The door was purchased at a local window/glass company in Livingston, MT, and it lets in plenty of natural light to make the white walls, painted in Valspar's Four Winds, really sing.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Closet space is limited in their home, so every square inch counts. This simple closet and shelf system from the Home Depot was an easy organization solution.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Their bathroom is a thrift-hunter's paradise! All of the appliances were found on Craigslist, the mirror was purchased at Out of the Blue antique shop in Livingston, and the tiles were found at Habitat for Humanity.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Turkish towels from the Etsy shop Cotton Cocoon hang next to the thrifted pedestal sink.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
This antique dresser sits on the wall across from their sink, which acts as a linen closet for their towels, linens and bathroom accessories.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
The nursery for the child they're expecting is oh-so-sweet and filled with pieces made or passed down by friends and family. The crib was found on Craigslist which Kristi and Greg refurbished, the Moses basket was hand woven by a dear friend of Kristi's, and the rocking chair was her grandfather's.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
When they moved in, one of the first things the couple did was purchase a chicken coop from a company called Frontier Rustic Designs which houses their eight beloved hens.
Slow, Country Living in Montana's Absaroka Mountains
Kristi is thankful for the open spaces their home and land offer, as well as the endless opportunities and happiness it provides (and will continue to provide) for their growing family.

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  • Windy Peak is the name of one of our wine labels here in Australia. The familiar name popped out at me. That said I love everything about this house. The reclaimed timber in the living area is beautiful and I also liked the large circular rug in the dining room juxtaposed against the rectangular table.

  • As a long-time Design Droits-Humains reader and Bozeman, Montana native, I absolutely love this tour. As much as I enjoy the Brooklyn and L.A. tours so prevalent in the online design world today, I love seeing my little corner of the world represented in such a homey way. We probably frequent the same thrift stores, Kristi and Greg! Thanks for sharing your home with us.

    • Hey neighbor!

      We are honored to have our home (with all of its quirks & projects) featured along side those beautiful urban homes.

      Thank you for the kind words!

  • Hello guys! Love your home!! Can you please share the source of your living room rug? LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!


  • I love this tour and the thought and care that went into the creation of their home. From the cherished family pieces to the dogs everywhere, I could completely relate (my own house didn’t feel like a home until my rescue dog moved into it). The photo of the henhouse and garden especially resonated with me. While my version of country living and farming is the view of trees out my condo and a beloved plot I tend in a community garden, it evoked the satisfaction and almost prehistoric peace I feel digging around in the dirt. I thought Kristi and Greg beautifully captured the joys of choosing to live a life centered on what one considers most important and meaningful, and I am pleased Design*Droits-Humains is featuring stories like theirs. I have canceled all my home decor magazine subscriptions because I am weary of seeing room after room full of overpriced furnishings that do not reflect the personality or taste of the owner, but I keep coming back to Design*Droits-Humains for the home tours that let us peek at these intimate sacred spaces created by the owners that are full of meaning and personal history for them. Thank you Kristi and Greg for sharing your lovely home and congratulations on your baby!

    • Thank you so much Sarah!

      I too found it refreshing that Design Droits-Humains wanted to feature our home with all of its quirks and unfinished projects. It is inspiring to see that we can create beautiful homes without having huge budgets.

      Thank you so much for your kind words.


  • What a great, warm, lovely family home! You guys have done wonders working with what you have, while making improvements as you can, like the bathroom tiles, etc. One thing I will mention, your chicken yard looks like it is open to the sky, am I seeing it right? As a country-raised person, I would recommend that your pen have a top of chicken wire over it, as hawks and other raptors can carry off chickens and/or chicks! Best of luck to you with all your chicks in your sweet nest!

  • I love your home, your story, and your online shop. Thanks for sharing it on D*S and congrats on the new baby!

  • What a beautiful, welcoming space. I love seeing snippets of your home via Instagram and this made me love it even more! And that view.. incredible!

  • Your Home is Beautiful! And the use of the re-Claimed Wood and Everything Else is impressive! My wife and I live about 60 Miles north of the “City of Brotherly love” in the Lehigh Valley,Maybe you’ve heard of it when living in Phila.?We have been through Montana,ND,SD,Wyoming ,and more,used up overdue Vacation time and more Time to do a 3 ½ month world-wind in the Northwest Area.It is Great Full of Memories Country, But yet I got that Slower Pace Time Standing Still Feeling Quite Often! It looks like most or All the posts were sent to you in 2015 so I would imagine you’re dotting Parents at this point?A belated Congrats, and Hope Everything was Perfect. Last you didn’t mention Grid ,Off or On so I assume your On as Working from home requires Internet and Satellite is still quite expensive.Maybe some Solar or HotWater off Grid?Well Thank You for the Tour and again Very Beautiful Job!
    Take Care and Love to Hear on Progress,Additions !
    Frank an Judy

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