Friday, September 6, 2019

Soothing surroundings of artists' home sets the tone for a creative day

The home of architect Wayne Gustafson and his artist wife Pamela is an oasis of calm and inspiration.


The Gustafsons hosted a recent Writer's Voice workshop for 12 writers
who used the grounds -- interior and exterior -- to sharpen their prose.
At far left is teacher Christene Meyers, next to Gustafson. Pamela
is at far right of the photo, surrounded by workshop participants. 



"A structure must be functional, but it must be inviting and inspiring, too." -- architect Wayne Gustafson
Lichen is integrated into the design.

DRIVING UP a discreet, tree-lined cul de sac, a picturesque scene comes into view.
The house and landscape seem as one.  Trees and flowers complement the lines of the home. Unique  artful touches abound.
Wayne Gustafson shares his architectural acumen
and the artful background of couple's home.
The home of Pamela and Wayne Gustafson is truly their castle, and a restful and rejuvenating playground for children of all ages.
Real stone is a crucial part of the 
Gustafsons' natural looking decor.

RECENTLY,  the artistic couple hosted a Writer's Voice gathering.  A dozen workshop participants spent the day writing, revising, sharing and creating in a half-dozen alcoves, patio spaces and welcoming niches.  The home and grounds were designed by architect Gustafson in the tradition of another great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose environmentally integrated precepts changed the way people build and inhabit space both business and personal.
Attention to detail marks every aspect of
life in this home. Here, a beautiful alcove 
includes a bedroom fireplace and plants.
 The home and its soothing surroundings -- in the style of "form follows function" -- are a perfect  muse for writers, including Pamela, whose elegant needle art is displayed throughout.
GUSTAFSON IS known by peers for his attention to detail and skillful use of organic materials. The master artisan's
architectural eye blends light, wood and natural products as he has done for decades.  For he was light years ahead of his time -- "building green" from his early professional
An expansive lawn the size of a football field was a chipping green in Gustafson's golfing days, later a playground for grandchildren. Now he and Pamela invoke the muse and share creative inspiration with friends.
Pamela Gustafson and Christene (Cookie)
review the day's efforts in the cheery living area.
THUS AN invitation was extended to Corby Skinner's Writer's Voice national project to spend a day in workshop. (Full disclosure:  I taught the session, at the request of previous writing seminar participants.)
Wayne's hand chosen stone
and Pamela's needle art.
We gathered in the living room, on the north side of a  sandstone fireplace that rises from the lower level, lit by subtle, natural light.
Gustafson gave a tour, noting a skylight above the main fireplace. It channels the sun through slats of wood salvaged from a building in a coal-mining camp in southern Park County.
Lichen on the wood and horizontal stones lends an earthy detail.
Gustafson believes a structure must be functional, but invite and inspire, too. "It must be kept in context, especially when the effort is historical preservation or renovation."
Bruce Keller, left, and Christene "Cookie" Meyers in a
quiet corner of the Gustafsons' welcoming home and grounds.
Recycled barn wood on the fire place, hand selected rocks and boards, and subtle filtered light enhance the beauty of the wood.
Pamela Gustafson's
elegant needle art is
inspiration as she writes.
Impeccable detail in the moldings and mitered glass  corners create a stunning panorama, connecting the indoors and outdoors in the time honored style of Wright whose homes accented nature's beauty with meticulous interior design.
PAMELA'S NEEDLE art provides the crowning touch. Her delicate, detailed designs -- all original -- provide sculptural accents, tapestries  and wall hangings.
Those who have lived in Billings a while know Gustafson's other works, including the Security Federal Savings Building at 24th Street West and Grand Avenue, built in 1974, and Faith Chapel at Broadwater Avenue and 24th Street West, built in 1993. He used his own home for inspiration on his other design projects, taking his notebook to one of the alcoves, meditating beneath the fir trees.

The Sydney Harbor Bridge at the famous Sydney Opera House at night are
probably among the world's most recognizable landmarks and harbors.  
UP NEXT: Harbors. Or is it harbours? Whichever way you spell it -- and both are correct --  you're near restful water giving shelter to ships, passengers and the citizenry. No matter which side of "the pond" you inhabit, or where in the world you love to travel, you're probably attracted to water, ports, rivers, harbors. We'll explore some of the planet's most beautiful "water linked" cities. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays at


  1. We know this wonderful couple and their contributions to art and architecture. Thanks for the lovely tribute.

  2. Love this home. It should be accorded special status. The two owners have infused it with love and artistry. So lovely and nice layout and writing.

  3. San Francisco SojournersSeptember 9, 2019 at 6:39 AM

    Fine story and photos....lovely that they share their beautiful creation with other artists. Everyone should do!

  4. Los Angeles AdmirersSeptember 9, 2019 at 6:49 AM

    What a serene, encouraging place. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So happy to see this. I know Wayne from his excellent designs through many years and changes in styles. Always bank on quality.