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Home combines contrasting decor

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RONAN — The marriage of two contrasting styles is never an easy feat. In fact, it’s hard to imagine country and urban decor in a fluid combination at all. But in the home of Lee and Carlee Schnase the two styles blend perfectly – illuminating a unique style of loft and ranch that is truly and utterly their very own.

“It’s just simple and relaxing,” Lee explains. “There is nothing that’s very complicated about this house.” 

The house reflects the pair’s personality — easy going and welcoming with hues of creativity and innovation. But it also represents a compromise of their styles. 

“I’m more urban and he’s more country,” Carlee said, noting that Lee cringed when she wanted to paint one wall the color of the lake. But the two-toned blue wall is a focal point in the rectangular house and with the light reflecting from the windows, the color creates a very inviting, if not dreamy ambiance. 

The newlyweds bought the living space and the 20 acres it sits on two years ago.  Since then, the couple has made some enormous changes to the building that was originally built to be a workshop. 

The structure houses two different areas — a living space and a huge shop that previously consisted of half the building. 

The living space contains a bedroom and a bathroom, a kitchen and a large open space that served as a dining and living rooms. 

Carlee took one look at the situation and had other plans. 

“Everything was half finished or not at all,” Carlee said of the living area. 

After fixing the first bathroom, she set to work on her second project — to transform half the shop into a master suite. 

At first glance, the master suite radiates an urban theme. The open floor plan leaves nothing to the imagination. The bathroom leads into the bedroom, doorless and exposed. As to not compete with the living and dining areas’ bold colors, the suite is painted in natural neutrals. The open hallway that leads from the bathroom into the bedroom is decorated with abstract, vibrant art from a local artist. 

And the lights shine just so to illuminate the clay and canvas combinations that jazz up the area. 

It’s only in the master bedroom that a western theme reappears in the home decor. A log bed and a wood stove remind the house that it still resides in Montana and not in a big city’s loft district. 

But the remarkable aspect of the home is the fact that Lee and Carlee did most of the labor themselves and found used fixtures to help mitigate the cost. 

With the help of friends, the couple installed the whirlpool, bathroom tiles, sheet rock, flooring and the vanity. 

They hired an electrician and a plumber to attend to what the pair couldn’t figure out from Home and Garden Television. 

But like anything, the labor of love was by no means smooth and the road was filled with life’s bumps along the way. 

Lee injured his back in the process of installing flooring and sheet rock. And one day a few months ago, the couple came home to find their house flooded from a pipe bursting in the ceiling.

The mishap gave the couple an opportunity to rip out the old carpet and install Pergo wood laminate flooring throughout the house.

It’s obvious that the two are creating a home through inspiration and compromise. They are still in the midst of transforming a habitable shed into a home.

“I stew over it for a bit and change my mind (still,)” Carlee said, comparing her home to an empty box, waiting to be filled with creative ideas. 

Lee and Carlee plan to enlarge their greenhouse, build on to the two-bedroom home and maybe add a swimming pool.

With a touch of ranch, and a lot of urban attitude, the house remains a definite milestone in the couple’s lives — telling the story of where they have been and adding some hopes and dreams for the future. 

“I always thought that I would be a city girl,” Carlee, the midwestern native explained. “I didn’t think I would like it (here,) but it grows on you … It’s a whole different community out here.”

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