Harry Hoving said he’s never seen anything quite like the set of plans that dominate his desk on the fourth floor of the city planning office.

Hoving is a plan reviewer with the Billings Department of Planning and Community Development’s Building Division. In the coming days, he said he plans to wrap up his review of what will be one of Billings’ largest residences.

“What was my reaction when I first saw (the plans)? I thought, this will keep me busy for more than a day,” he said with a laugh. “It’s out of the ordinary, but out of the ordinary is good. It’s unique, and it’s not something you see every day.”

According to plans submitted to city officials by architect Frank Nienaber of Studio 4 Architects, the “172 Residence” to be constructed over the next two years in Ironwood at 5650 Canyonwoods Drive, will be 26,326 square feet.

It’ll be such a large house that the builder, Kisling Quality Builders’ Jim Kisling, took the unusual step of securing a permit just for the foundation, valued at $1.5 million.

Foundational work is underway; Kisling said Wednesday he expects it be complete in about 2½ weeks.

At that point — once the building permit has been issued — construction will begin, with the plan being to construct enough to close in the house “before it gets to be 20 below,” Kisling said. That way work can proceed during the winter months.

The family building the house wishes to remain anonymous. Both Nienaber and Kisling said the family’s been “great to work with.”

“They’re very laid back, very understanding,” Kisling said. “There’s no pressure, and that’s an owner-driven luxury for me. They trust their designer and they like working with Frank.”

Both men declined to discuss the value of the house, but they did talk about what it will look like. Essentially, the three-story home will resemble a castle and will be constructed of hard sandstone quarried locally. A masonry sample of the rock sits upright in Nienaber’s office.

The rock “blends in with the landscape, and is aesthetically pleasing,” Nienaber said, to which Kisling added, “And it’s pleasing to the owner.”

Ninety-five percent or more of the building materials will be purchased locally, Kisling said, and the subcontractors on the project are all locals.

According to the plans, the home will have a master bedroom and nine additional suites. The home includes an indoor shooting range alongside two bowling lanes, a home theater and an eight-car garage.

There’s 10,900 square feet in the basement level, 6,240 square feet on the first floor and 9,186 square feet on the second floor.

Kisling, who operates Kisling Quality Builders with his wife Timilynn, who’s also a real estate agent, and son Cody, said that the five lots on the property contain portions of mountain bike trails. He said that the family is open to keeping some of the trails open to mountain bikers. Himself a mountain bike enthusiast, Nienaber said it’ll “be up to people to obey the signage.”

A builder with 30 years experience, Kisling said he’s built comparably-sized homes in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, “but we don’t do many. This one by far will be our primary focus for now and will be for the next couple of years.”

While Nienaber said he’s pleased with the plan he compiled with input from the design team, he said the property owner plays a large role in any successful outcome.

“A lot of the success is the client,” he said.

“It is a work in progress all the time,” Kisling said. “We have the basic idea, but you have to make everything work within the basic idea. That is where the art comes into play. There are so many moving parts, electrical systems, plumbing. It all has to work together, and when it’s done, it all has to work properly.”

“It’s going to be a masterpiece when it’s done,” he added. “There’s really no other way to describe it.”


City reporter for The Billings Gazette.

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