Rustic Cabin

“Oh, give me land, lots of land
under starry skies above…”

Small Duct System Enhances “Rustic Chic” of Montana Cabin

The title of this piece is the first line of Don’t Fence
Me In, Cole Porter’s classic ode to the wide-open
freedom of the American West. The song is an
apt description for the Whitefish, Montana, setting of
Ted Valentiner and Linda Shannon-Valentiner’s cozy
cabin home. Montana is called “Big Sky Country” for
good reason, and this dream home, nestled in the
foothills of the Rockies, provides plenty of views of that
big, big sky.

Ted, a Coloradan, and Linda, a transplanted New Zealander,
both grew up in open spaces and dreamed of
one day building their perfect cabin in the mountains. In
2012, that shared dream came true when they began
construction on a log home. While the base design of

the structure was supplied by Kalispell Montana Log
Homes, Ted and Linda had very specific custom
finishes and a unique vision for their new home’s interior.
In fact, Linda designed the floor plan. Interior
appointments of hand-hewn flat logs, reclaimed barn
wood and corrugated metal meld to create a pioneer
vintage vibe that Linda dubs “rustic chic.” “Putting it all
together is my passion,” she explains.
The Valentiners occupy only the first floor, which is
1,080 square feet. The lower level is a guesthouse. This
relatively small living area forced the Valentiners to look
for ways to maximize the home’s interior space, which
presented a challenge when it came to choosing a
central heating and cooling system.

41 Clermont Lane
St. Louis, MO 63124


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The Unico System’s unobtrusive round outlets blend into the ceiling. Wood outlets are available and can be stained to match any wood type, the Valentiner’s decided that dark brown outlets would better contrast and highlight the reclaimed barn wood of the ceiling.


To use the limited space efficiently, the Valentiners – working with architect Eric Bachofner and builder Jim Blankenship – designed the main floor to include cupboards that reached the ceiling and storage spaces above closets and the laundry area. All the house wiring and mechanical system are on the lower level. After consulting with Shawn Intagliata from Cobalt Creed, and visiting a home that had a Unico System installed, Ted and Linda decided on Cobalt Creeds’ small duct heating and cooling solution.

The contractor installed a 2.5-ton Unico System air handler with a hot water coil for central heating and cooling to both levels of the structure. The Unico hot water coil and a radiant floor heating system on the lower level are paired with a geothermal heat pump.Geothermal heat pumps are common in the American West and are an energy efficient and ecologically friendly method of providing indoor heating and cooling.Typically, a series of coils are buried in the ground and, in winter, heat from the earth is transferred to the interior heating coil and radiant floor system. In the summer, the process is reversed with heat being transferred from the home to the earth.


Ted and Linda couldn’t be happier with the look and performance of their Cobalt Creed solution. Having once lived in the Middle East where air conditioning is delivered by noisy, bulky conventional ducted systems, they were surprised by the quietness of The Cobalt Creed system solution. “From my time abroad and my career in project management, I know how important air handlers are,” says Ted. “I’m so pleased that the Unico air handlers’ deliver our conditioned air quietly and comfortably.”

The couple is also pleased with the low heating and cooling expenses. Living in the mountains means they don’t need to use the A/C very often but when it is hot, Ted says it works great. When forest fires crop up from time to time, he says it’s too smoky outside to open the windows, so that’s another benefit to having air conditioning. The Valentiners’ home was originally meant to be a single-story structure, but a happy, unplanned realization occurred when they began excavation. Due to the way the cabin is situated on the hillside, Ted and Linda were able to double their living space with a lower level that includes a walkout. With this happenstance, they now operate the lower level as The Old Wagon Wheel guesthouse, with a separate entrance. Beautiful wide-open spaces, fresh mountain air, cozy cabin living and superior indoor comfort courtesy of The  Cobalt Creed solution. “Don’t fence me in,” indeed.


  • Ted Valentiner & Linda Shannon-Valentiner
  • The Old Wagon Wheel


• Even, draft-free temperatures
• Quiet operation
• Geothermal compatibility
• Discreet supply outlets
• Flexible design and installation



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We are the manufacturer. Shawn Intagliata and his family have been manufacturing the Unico System in St. Louis, MO since 1985. Our goal is to provide you with the Unico HVAC technology at the lowest possible cost with the highest level of service and support. The end result is the highest level of comfort at the lowest material and energy prices for you and your customer. Cobalt Creed engineers, designs, creates material lists, and delivers the Unico and integrated other HVAC technologies direct to the builder, developer, project manager or general contractor. This direct sale eliminates levels of mark up and inefficiency in the historic HVAC sales channel, saving the project money and making it easy to employ the Unico HVAC technology in all projects.