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Online Exclusive - The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

Jul 24, 2012

By Michael Webb; photography courtesy of the Ranch at Rock Creek

James Manley grew up in New Jersey watching television Westerns and held onto his dream of becoming a cowboy. A 20-year search yielded a ranch that met his exacting criteria—low altitude, lush fields, and a river; no bears, rattlesnakes, or paved highways—and he expanded it into a guest resort. There are 26 units in the Ranch at Rock Creek, located near the old Montana mining town of Philipsburg, and each offers comforts and amenities no cowboy ever imagined.

Jet Zarkadas, principal of Los Griegos Studio in Santa Fe, directed the transformation. “Jet had worked on the main lodge with the previous owner and understood the authentic yet luxurious Old West look we wanted to achieve,” says Manley. She was inspired by period photographs, and still more by Mary Colter, architect and interior designer of park lodges and the Fred Harvey Hotels that brought civility to railroad towns a century ago. “Colter established an eclectic look, incorporating Native American arts, and disseminated that look throughout the West,” says Zarkadas.

Designer and owner worked closely together over three years, as the Granite Lodge (the hub of the working ranch) was tripled in size to accommodate seven more guestrooms, a dining room and expansive kitchen, spa and dance hall. Each room in the lodge, neighboring cottages, and eight tented cabins on the riverbank has a distinct identity that evokes the colorful past of Montana. Zarkadas traveled through the state, sourcing artifacts and furniture from pickers and finding artisans to make up pieces she designed. Old oak and stone from barns and homesteads were recycled to give every room a patina, and rawhide shades were employed to impart a soft glow to contemporary light fittings.

“I approach design organically and believe that it should be rooted in place and landscape,” says Zarkadas. “If you ignore that, it is design without substance. Here, we took liberties—with the bowling alley and saddle-topped bar stools—but otherwise tried to be faithful to the look of the past. Everything is very casual but high-end, with fine linens, soft leathers, and down cushions on the sofas. Nobody has to rough it.”

hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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