Encircled by gorgeous mountain ranges in the west and prairie terrain in the east, Montana, one of the largest states in the U.S., is also one of the least populated states in the country. But that doesn’t mean Montana isn’t a suitable place for homeowners: Bozeman and Missoula have consistently been part of Livability.com’s yearly “Top 100 Best Places to Live In” lists. The state is still very affordable, with a median home price at around $229K according to Zillow—and prices aren’t expected to rise more than 3% in the coming year.
Given Montana’s mountainous terrain, log homes and cabins are common in the area. The cold temperature also inspired the cozy ranch style homes, typically found in every neighborhood. There are also many vacation homes in the area, as tourists flock to the state’s beautiful outdoor parks such as Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, and the Big Sky Resort.
Many cabin homes found in the area are smaller than the average single residential homes, so many families who decide to move into the state have their homes remodeled to accommodate a modern lifestyle. This list contains the 15 best general contractors in Montana, which are all capable of both remodeling services and new home construction.
15) Black Mountain Company
222 W. Central Ave. Missoula, MT 59801
Chris Walen is one of Missoula’s most distinguished carpenters. He has been in the industry since 1974, and his carpentry has been featured in the Parade of Homes since the early ‘90s. It should come as no surprise that his firm, Black Mountain Company, is a known remodeler specializing in finish carpentry, millwork, and cabinetry. The firm has won many awards from Parade of Homes throughout the years. Its most memorable distinctions were “Best Craftsmanship” and the Rising Star award.
The firm is known for its excellent craftsmanship. Fine Homebuilding magazine featured it in an article about basement windows; Walen shared tips on how a homeowner could fix windows without the help of a carpenter. Black Mountain Company’s designs showcase a lot of woodwork, giving a rustic touch to projects. Many of the firm’s projects are traditional, but the excellent carpentry and execution make these remodels stand out.
14) Saddle Mountain Construction
P.O. Box 16795, Missoula, MT 59808
Ryan Frey has dedicated over 20 years of his life to building. After spending high school summers as an apprentice carpenter, he put himself through school by working at the university maintenance plant. Frey received his first professional job as a builder when he joined the Peace Corps in 1997; he designed and built small water systems for remote villages in South America for two years. His extensive experience in the building industry led him to establish Saddle Mountain Construction. The firm has established itself as Missoula’s go-to builder since it can provide any kind of residential construction service.
Frey also made a name for himself in Missoula after appearing in Missoula Real Estate Today; he’s a Missoula Building Industry Association (MBIA) Board Member. Saddle Mountain Construction received the 2017 MBIA Builder of the Year award because its simple remodels are memorable and dependable.
13) Clearwater Builders
3972 Hwy 93 S Ste. F, Stevensville, MT
Clearwater Builders is one of Western Montana’s most flexible builders. From log homes to urban dwellings, the firm can build or remodel any kind of home found in Missoula, Bitterroot Valley, and Western Montana. Tony Solorzano and Tucker Harrington founded the firm in 2012 to provide a modern twist to the traditional ranch style homes found in the area. Clearwater Builders aims to preserve the traditional feel of Western Montana, but provide a modern, more updated twist to it.
Recently, Clearwater Builders received the “Most Livable Floor Plan” award from the 2017 MBIA Parade of Homes for its Ranch Club Home. The home has a traditional ranch exterior, with bohemian yet modern interiors. Its walls are painted with nude tones, and it has simple hardwood floors, but the colorful furnishing gives a modern vibe to the home. The exposed wood beams give a nice rustic accent.
12) Ascent Home Builders, Inc.
P.O. Box 874 – Bozeman, MT 59771
Jeff Galyen moved his family to Montana to call the mountains home. Upon arrival, his family was surrounded by a nurturing community that inspired him to establish Ascent Home Builders in 2005. In addition to custom remodeling and new home construction, the firm also specializes in building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). An ADU is a smaller, separate unit built on the property of an existing house. As Energy Star Partners, the firm aims to create energy-efficient ADUs. The firm’s sustainable designs have gained recognition throughout Montana, leading to features in Mountain Living magazine, At Home magazine, and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
All of the firm’s designs are cozy and warm. Most clients own log homes and are looking for a rustic modern remodel. In the At Home magazine article, the featured Bozeman couple was so impressed by the builders’ ability to use the original woodwork of the home. The firm complimented the existing layout with colorful modern furnishing.
11) Yellowstone Basin Construction
3970 Ave. D Ste. B, Billings, MT 59102
Yellowstone Basin Construction, one of Billings’s top contractors, was established by Jake Brosovich in 2007. The firm aims to bring its unique flair to every project it undertakes. Its style ties together elegance and southwestern style; the 2013 Parade of Homes showcased Yellowstone Basin Construction’s talent for balancing modern and traditional elements. The home looked like any typical traditional craftsman home from the outside, but its interiors were both classy and contemporary. The master bath had its own built-in fireplace overlooking the tub.
The firm’s memorable designs can be found in its yearly Parade of Homes entries. The 2015 Parade of Homes entry won the “People’s Choice” award; it was a modern ranch home that had industrial interiors. Unlike most of the firm’s projects, this home was not rustic, but instead sophisticated. It had very modern accents like floating stairs, graphic furnishing, and industrial light fixtures, showcasing Yellowstone Basin Construction’s wide and varied set of skills.
10) Straightedge Construction
2823 Felton Ln Missoula, Montana
Jim Schaffer got his start in the industry while working as part of a framing crew. He decided to work through the ranks so that he could experience all positions in the industry. His experience and background in management urged him to establish Straightedge Construction in 2007. The firm is a family-run company, with Jim handling project management and marketing, and his wife, Cori, in charge of the day-to-day operations. The couple knows how inconvenient builders can be to families, which is why they assure every customer that they’ll work around their lifestyle.
Throughout its tenure, Straightedge Construction has made a reputation in Missoula. The firm has been featured in the yearly Parade of Homes and regularly in Missoulian Magazine. In addition, Straightedge Construction has won a 2010 and 2015 MBIA Builder of the Year, and it was also the 2016 Missoula’s Choice Builder.
9) Ty Nelson Design and Remodel
1041 Broadwater Avenue, Billings, MT
Billings native Tyler Nelson established Ty Nelson Design and Remodel to give back to his hometown. In his 18 years of building experience, Nelson found that most builders would sacrifice quality for an earlier finish date on a project. This frustration inspired him to instill the philosophy of craftsmanship in his firm; he invested in a team that shared his passion and high standards, which has resulted in the best products without challenges that other companies have faced. Nelson’s drive earned him a spot in the 2015 Billings Gazette magazine 40 Under Forty list.
The firm sets itself apart by consistently producing a classic, elegant style, seamlessly incorporating modern furnishings. Its bathroom remodels are perfect examples, with classic marble floor tiling and clean white walls. The geometric bathtub and floating cabinetry give this classic remodel its edge.
8) RMR Builders
101 E. Broadway STE 413 Missoula, MT 59802-4510
RMR Builders is a Missoula-based remodel contractor and custom home builder, aiming to incorporate the rustic vibe of Montana through the use of wood and log materials. Its founders, Michael Kane and Jason Olenick, have been together for 40 yrs combined in the construction field, and have concluded that wood products always bring the forgotten charm of old Missoula homes. The firm advocates for green building and practices job site recycling; it also advocates for repurposing materials for its remodels. The firm believes that these reclaimed materials add a more rustic feel to its projects. RMR Builders’ ranch-style homes are different because the interiors have an industrial feel. Incorporating industrial elements provide a nice texture to the traditional themes common to Montana.
The firm’s award-winning entry for the 2014 Parade of Homes was a remodeled 1948 home, expanded by tying the original detached garage to the home. The home’s stand-out features were its timber-framed porches and sliding barn style doors.
7) J. Martin Builders
3576 Hwy 93 S, Ste A, Kalispell, MT 59901
J. Martin Builders was founded in 2003, building some of the Flathead Valley’s most beautiful homes and becoming one of the leading general contractors in the area. Its founder, Jason Gerbozy is not a Montana native, but instantly fell in love with the state’s rustic charm upon visiting. The firm offers personal attention to each design. Take, for example, the Larson’s Big Sky Mountain Cabin. Gerbozy maximized the cabin’s efficient floor plan, making it appear bigger through thoughtful use of doors and windows, so the small cabin wouldn’t feel cramped. This stunning cabin was featured in Cabin Living. In addition, the firm has been featured in Big Sky Journal and Flathead Living magazine. The firm is also a yearly participant in the Parade of Homes and it has won the “Best Architectural Appeal” award.
In almost all of its projects, the firm focuses on maximizing space. Their Flathead Lake Home featured an all-glass entry wall that overlooked the beautiful lakefront. Not only did the glass entry make the home more picturesque— but it also opened up the space to blend indoor and outdoor living.
6) Archer Construction
PO Box 1167, Bozeman, MT 59771
Archer Construction is one of the few remodelers in the area with certifications from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the United States Green Building Council. The firm services residential and commercial clients in Southwest Montana as well as historical renovations which have won awards from the Bozeman Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board since 2004. Although entrusted to work on renovations, about 75% of their work is actually new construction.
The homes that the firm has designed stand out from the typical Montana designs. Many firms put a modern twist to ranch style homes, but Archer Construction gives contemporary designs rustic accents. The firm’s Spring Creek home is a contemporary home with wide windows, but it is furnished with vintage Victorian style chairs and stone wall accents.
5) Edgell Building Incorporated
316 Expressway, Missoula, MT 59808
Edgell Building Incorporated is one of the oldest firms in Montana. David Edgell founded a small remodeling firm in 1979; today, his firm is one of the biggest companies in the state. The firm’s goal is not just to make beautiful homes, but to build a community with a seamless flow of design and welcoming atmosphere. An example of this is the firm’s home in Hellgate Meadows, Missoula’s first neighborhood, which has a predominantly traditional design.
This design philosophy can be seen in the firm’s remodels, because its projects are traditional homes that have a balance with modern furnishing. The firm’s 2018 Parade of Homes entry, The Magnolia, is a simple white ranch home with rustic interiors. The firm retains the straightforward floorplan of a ranch home, but its interiors are decorated with industrial light fixtures and colorful furnishing. The Magnolia won the “Most Livable Floor Plan” award from the 2018 Parade of Homes. In addition, the firm has been winning awards from the Parade of Homes since 1992.
4) Teton Heritage Builders
76225 Gallatin Rd., Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730
With over 30 publication features, it’s safe to say that Teton Heritage Builders is one of Big Sky’s most prestigious firms. The firm’s goal is to integrate Montana’s regional elements into every project; this means that its designs feature natural materials such as stone, timber, log, glass, and steel. One of the firm’s founders, Peter Lee, also advocates for a greener approach in home building. Lee fell in love with Bozeman, because he thought it was the perfect place to raise his daughters, bringing them closer to nature and encouraging a more natural lifestyle. Ever since then, lowering America’s carbon footprint has been part of his mission. Lee also runs THB Energy Solutions, Teton Heritage’s sister company, which installs renewable energy systems in homes across Southwest Montana.
Mountain Living magazine called the firm’s Jackson Hole project a “Fairy Tale Finish,” because the home was tarped mid-construction in 2009, but was restored to a grand rustic home by Teton Heritage this year. Initially, it was a modern home misplaced in a park setting. The firm gave the European modern home a barn wood style remodel, which compliments the scenic ridgeline.
3) Dovetail Construction
PO BOX 3083, Bozeman, MT 59772
Tim Rote and Jim Sullivan were childhood friends who shared the same dream; they wanted to live in the mountains and build homes. Since 2005, Dovetail Construction has been the product of Tim and Jim’s childhood dreams. The firm takes pride in its team-based approach; this approach is a collaborative effort between craftsmen, architect and the homeowner, wherein the “constructability” of the firm is analyzed by everyone. This also includes a value engineering project design, which assesses the process and material cost for an accurate estimation.
Dovetail Construction has a wide array of services, including remodeling of tiny homes, and barn designs. The firm has been featured in many publications including Rustic Country magazine, Timber Home Living magazine, Big Sky Journal Home, and Cowboys & Indians magazine thanks to its unique custom designs. One of them is a custom pet food station, which had built-in dog bowls concealed inside shelves and cubbies, hiding the dog toys.
2) Mostad Construction
729 Central Ave., Missoula, Montana
Gene Mostad founded Mostad Construction 40 years ago as a one-man company. Today, the firm is one of Missoula’s most in-demand custom home and remodeling contractor. Despite his firm’s success, Gene is still involved with the company’s sales and land development. Mostad has also been a proud member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Builder 20 Club since 1996. The Builder 20 Club is an exclusive club of builders from around the country. Twice a year, these builders meet to discuss up-and-coming industry trends in their respective states; Mostad Construction affirms that joining the club is the single best business decision it has made. The various trends that the firm has learned have helped it become more diverse in its design and management.
The firm has been winning awards since 1993, most recently from the 2018 MBIA Trade Show. Mostad Construction’s designs are updated interpretations of old Midwestern charm, incorporating Victorian designs in traditional ranch designs. This Victorian design gives a more luxurious aesthetic to the rustic homes usually found in Montana.
1) Big Sky Builders
1229 Meridian RD., Victor, MT 59875
Ray and Kathy Tipton founded Big Sky Builders in 1982, they mainly service Beautiful Bitterroot Valley, south of Missoula. Known as The Home of the Beautiful Building experience which they have achieved through their custom systems designed to prevent surprises, their excellent communication, and outstanding service. The firm takes its time explaining every step of the process before signing a contract. Once construction starts, the firm uploads weekly progress pictures of all of its projects. It also has a unique system enabling clients to conduct any kind of business online. Ray Tipton is a member of the exclusive NAHB Builder 20 Club, meaning that the firm is always on top of industry trends.
Big Sky Builders is one of Montana’s leading firms, executing the traditional ranch style with ease and sophistication. The firm brings unique innovations to the state’s home building industry; its game room resembles a greenhouse because the walls were replaced with overlooking windows.
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