MONTANA ROCKWORKS’ EXTRAORDINARY SHOWROOM INSPIRES
Color. Texture. Shape. Much like the qualities one appreciates in fashion, stone varieties encompass their own variances, lending nearly unlimited opportunities to accessorize one’s home environment.
Earth is made of rock, from the tallest mountains to the floor of the deepest ocean, with thousands of different types gracing the planet. Most rocks at Earth’s surface are formed from only eight elements—oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. But what is unique is that all of these elements combine in a number of ways to create rocks that are all very different.
Montana Rockworks, located in Kalispell, Montana, just a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park, has had the good fortune of discovering and harvesting the Mountain West’s most coveted stone species. Specializing in architectural and landscape stone, Montana Rockworks is the largest supplier in the region, offering their clients the oldest and most beautiful stone in the industry—stone that is only found in Rockworks’ quarries.
Essentially a shrine to stone and all its possibilities, Montana Rockworks has designed and built a 6,000-square-foot showroom in Kalispell that is an exercise in inspiration, sharing with homeowners, architects, interior designers, and builders an abundance of opportunities to see stone used in a variety of applications.
Designed like a custom home, the showroom features a kitchen with wood-burning oven, a living area, fireplaces, a bathroom with showers and bathtub, a bar, an office, wall structures, architectural details, and accent pieces. The beauty and selection of stone within the showroom inspires ideas for using stone in applications previously thought not possible, and for how the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains can be brought into one’s own projects.
“TODAY, THE MARKET TREND IS A VERY LINEAR, STACKED LOOK AND THE BEAUTIFUL THING IS THAT’S HOW OUR ROCK COMES OUT OF THE GROUND.”
Discussing his thriving business, co-owner Bill Carter enthusiastically explains, “You know, we quarry all our stone right here in the Montana Rockies.” Carter’s passion for, and depth of knowledge of, every aspect of stone is fascinating.
“I never thought much about rock until I got into the rock business,” says Carter. “Now, I look at rock everywhere. When one sees it as an element to add to a home or landscape as an aesthetic component, maybe to add depth, or a certain feel or shape, one won’t look at rock the same way again. It leaves a lasting impression.”
Montana Rockworks was established in 1997 when Carter’s business partner Brad Mercord’s thriving specialty-stone landscaping firm one day outpaced production capabilities at the local quarry, right in the middle of an upscale project. So, Brad and Bill bought the local quarry, upgraded it, and finished the job.
Montana Rockworks continues to elevate their business by revolutionizing the natural stone Thin Veneer industry.
“ROCK CARRIES A BEAUTIFUL AESTHETIC WHERE IT’S ALL ABOUT COLORS, TEXTURES, AND SHAPES. IT’S ART.”
Because stone veneer is thin and light, it requires no structural engineering, allowing its use in nearly any application in every room, both inside and out. Veneer’s ability to accessorize the home, from accent walls to architectural detailing, is without compare. Natural stone is an extremely low-maintenance veneer—once the material is completely installed, little else is needed to maintain the stone through the years.
GREEN ASPECTS OF STONE VENEER
There are several green aspects, says Carter. “Because Thin Veneer stone weighs approximately 70 percent less than full-thickness stone, diesel fuel efficiency is sharply increased. Any truck and supporting equipment, which carries and delivers the stone, now carries several times more square footage than a truck hauling full-thickness stone.” Carter continues, “By reducing the weight and cutting the stone down, it will install easier just like artificial stone, but it’s absolutely the real deal and the footprint on the environment is less.”
MONTANA ROCKWORKS QUARRIES
From the heart of the Northern Rockies to their network of quarries nationwide, Rockworks is able to supply a large variety of stone for any type of architectural or landscape project. The benefit of all the rock they quarry is that it’s produced primarily in a linear/rectangular shape. This makes it a great option for building walls with structural integrity, both dry stack and masonry.
MONTANA ROCKWORKS’ CHIEF CLIFF SERIES
“Our Chief Cliff Series produces beautiful varieties from square to rectangle shapes of natural stone that have parallel tops and bottoms,” says Carter. “This gives you the ability to stack, and at the same time gives you structural integrity. Today, the market trend is a very linear, stacked look and the beautiful thing is that’s how our rock comes out of the ground.”
Perched high in the forests of northwest Montana, the McGregor Lake quarry overlooks its namesake and produces a prized variety of their very popular Chief Cliff argillite. “The versatile stone from this quarry is mined from a cliff and is visually stunning. It’s light grey in color with strong gold, bronze, and tan tones,” explains Carter. “What’s very prevalent is the dendrite pattern,” he continues. “A dendrite is a crystal growth that formed a molecular pattern when the water was very rich in manganese and iron, and as it dried out in the natural fracture of the rock, it formed a multi-branching “tree-like” shape. This pattern creates a snowflake formation and frost patterns on a windowfern pattern, creating the striking look of a natural, individual piece of art.”
Stone from Rockworks’ Moose Mountain quarry is from a formation, not a talus slope. Its rock is grounded in a dark, smoky grey, with dark chocolate brown and tans that blend together for a remarkable material.
Because the stone is quarried from a talus formation, a dark patina is prevalent. Stone from Moose Mountain marries the colors from the nearby Castle Rock and McGregor Lake quarries, which makes it an excellent choice to blend with their most popular Chief Cliff Series stones.
With bird’s-eye views of two different valleys, Castle Rock is a high-alpine quarry perched atop a ridgeline. The core of the stone is dark grey, its surface coloring ranging from light tan to a dark chocolate brown that displays the ruggedness of northwest Montana. Carter adds, “The Castle Rock is hand- and machine-picked from talus slopes and the dark patina is from centuries of exposure to the elements.”
Other choices include Montana Antique, a perfect pick for those wanting to achieve the look of the old West, or Autumn Gold, a stunning combination of golds, tans, and greys with splashes of copper throughout, or Echo Valley, a striated stone with long lineal lines, predominately grey with subtle brown and beige tones throughout.
Bill Carter and his team’s intent is to help clients achieve a lasting impression. “It’s not a necessity to build with rock,” says Carter, “but everyone can, and it’s affordable at every level. It carries a beautiful aesthetic where it’s all about colors, textures, and shapes. It’s art.”