A Modern Vacation Home in Grand Lake
This Colorado family’s waterfront home is the ultimate getaway—boasting sleek style while respecting its history
Photography by David Patterson and Kevin Dietrich
When it was time for one Denver-based couple to build their vacation home, only one location would do: Grand Lake.
They were looking for a getaway where they could introduce their three children—twin boys and an older sister—to sailing and summer fun in the mountains, as well as entertaining family and friends. “My wife grew up spending summers on Grand Lake, and her father owns the house four doors down from the one we found, so it was perfect,” says the homeowner.
The largest natural lake in Colorado, Grand Lake boasts the world’s highest registered yacht club, at 8,366 feet elevation. Incorporated in 1902, the club offers a sailing school in the summer and hosts an annual regatta week each August. The town has long been popular with summer tourists as it’s the closest gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
While the lot the Denver homeowners found was ideal—relatively flat with easy access to the water—the existing house needed to be redesigned. Vertical Arts Architecture was chosen to reimagine and enlarge the residence.
“The idea was to have a cleaner, more modern home but keep the history of the place,” says Brandt Vanderbosch, principal architect and founder of Vertical Arts, which has offices in Denver, Steamboat Springs and Edwards, Colorado. The rock foundation was maintained, and wood siding was given a reclaimed look. Steel elements were added that will get better with age. The roof was redesigned and heightened to expand the view planes.
Custom Loewen windows now look out from the main floor and second story to the surrounding lake and mountains. Trim on the windows was kept to a minimum, lending a light and airy feel.
In addition to the views through the living room window wall that elicit “wow” reactions when guests enter the home, architectural extensions from a bedroom suite and a deck from the master offer vistas of the lake and mountains. “We wanted to create better sight lines and connectivity to the water,” Vanderbosch says.
Materials were chosen for their practicality and to complement the environment. “There is a lot of modern cabinetry, but we used reclaimed oak for the floors. You have to think about how things are going to weather with all the wet suits and sandy feet, the dogs and the kids,” the architect says. “The floors are going to take a lot of abuse, and these thicker wood floors will get better as they get banged up.”
The rooms are furnished with comfortable but luxurious pieces, many of them from Denver-based Studio Como. “It’s a vacation home and speaks of summertime and being carefree,so you want soft fabrics that feel nice to the touch,” says Leah DiGennaro, design director of furnishings for Studio Como.
The bedrooms are equally inviting, with a spacious master bedroom and bathroom as well as roomy suites for the adult visitors. Bunk rooms for the kids and their friends can accommodate a crowd during sleepovers. “We’ve had 15 people here at a time,” the homeowner says.
Interior designer Bryan Pulte said the homeowners’ wish was for a place that gave them a sense of serenity, calm and peace, so natural materials and muted colors reflecting the surroundings were chosen. “The palette reflects the beige and taupe of the mountainside, with some blue of the lake and soft moss green, like the underbrush of the rocky forest,” he says.
“They wanted this to be a total escape, a place where you can chill and entertain at the same time.”
A patio with seating areas and a fire pit extends the length of the lakefront side of the house. A few stairs lead down to the lawn, where stepping stones wind through the yard to the dock. There are slips for two boats and easy access for lowering a kayak or paddle board into the water.
The homeowner says one of his favorite spots in the home is the sitting area just off the spacious kitchen, where lift-and-slide doors pull back to welcome the Rocky Mountain air. “You get nice warm days and a breeze flowing. It’s an extension of the outdoors,” he says. “We can look out to the water or the kids playing in the yard.”
The blackened steel Vertical Arts used on the fireplace surround echoes the metal on the kitchen hood and exterior siding. Reclaimed oak flooring throughout is from a North Carolina factory.
Vitra barstools complement the geometry of the Vibia Skan pendant lights.
Doors open to the wooded area off the dining room, where the cedar live-edge table can seat a crowd. Hammerton Studio fabricated the light fixture.
Views of Mount Baldy and Grand Lake through custom Loewen windows greet guests entering the home, which features a custom bridge and railing.
The muted palette for the walls and furnishings in the master bedroom speaks to the homeowners’ desire for a serene retreat says interior designer Bryan Pulte. Painting, “Nest Jacquimo,” by Elaine St. Louis.
The master bath features a free-standing tub and double-sided vanity.
Custom-designed bunk beds built by Ryan Schlaefer offer deluxe sleeping space for the home’s young residents and guests. The drawer handles pull out to make trundle beds.