Historic Meets Modern in Steamboat Springs
A couple finds “the place” for their family home with world-class skiing for him, a real town for her
Photos by David Patterson
He is an avid skier. She would rather sit in front of the fireplace with a good book. So, finding the ideal place to build their vision of a perfect mountain home was not easy.
Susan and Tom Jones, who live in Kansas City, imagined their new home in a setting with great snow, not-crowded slopes and a dynamic local community. “We wanted a place with warmth, personality and heart,” says Susan, “but, most importantly, we wanted a real town … a place where people live.” Tom remembered skiing in Steamboat Springs years before. Perhaps this turn-of-the-century western ranching town that also boasts some of the world’s best powder could be “the place.”
He suggested a trip.
“I fell in love with Steamboat the very first time I saw it,” says Susan. Before heading back to Kansas City, they bought a lot—just a few blocks from the Lincoln Avenue main drag and right on Soda Creek.
The next step was finding a team to design and build a family home on a very wide and shallow lot. The couple enlisted Steamboat Springs-based Gerber Berend Design Build, Inc.
David Hoffman, the project architect, put the clients’ dreams on paper—a high-ceilinged home with a distinctly urban feel and a clean aesthetic, built with steel, wood and concrete and with a warm and welcoming interior.
The part-industrial, part-traditional home sits right on Soda Creek. “In summer, I love to sit outside by the creek…reading and listening to the gentle and soothing sounds of the water,” says homeowner Susan Jones.
The result: a 3,505-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom home (with great views of Steamboat’s iconic Howelsen Hill) that is a unique blend of historic and futuristic. Half of the home looks much like a New England saltbox; the other half is steel and glass with a dramatic roof trajectory. “We experimented with the shou sugi ban technique on the clapboard siding,” says Hans Berend, co-owner and principal of construction at Gerber Berend. He goes on to describe the ancient Japanese method for preserving wood by charring it with fire. The resulting burnt wood is dark, strikingly dramatic and resistant to insects, moisture and fire—increasingly important in wildfire-prone areas of the United States.
Susan worked closely with design guru and Gerber Berend co-owner Jeff Gerber on the interior structure and composition of the home. “My husband, Tom, just wanted to make sure our home had a hot tub and a ping-pong table,” she says with a smile. “He left the rest up to me.” She created a neutral palette of whites, blacks and charcoal grays into which she audaciously inserted colorful accents and playful furniture—like the candy-apple-red rolling cabinet from Snap-on Tools that provides storage in one of the bathrooms.
Early in the design process, architect David Hoffman gave Susan some invaluable advice. “He told me to spend money on the things that we will be touching all of the time,” says Susan. The heft of the door handles, for example, makes the home feel solid and secure. The radiant warmth from the smooth concrete floors on bare feet has the additional benefit of being silent “so you can hear the creek.” she says.
The largest and most important room in the home is the hearth room—anchored on one side by a large concrete-made-to-look-like-wood fireplace and on the other side by a bright yellow Italian Ilve stove and custom range hood.
On champagne powder days, for which Steamboat Springs is justifiably famous, Tom skis all day while Susan hikes down the street to the small bookstore (which also serves great coffee) for something good to read in front of the hearth room fireplace.
The red front door gives a pop of color accented by Neutra Modern house numbers.
In the entry, stools are Truecolors by Visser & Meijwaard; painting by Lance Whitner; sculpture by David Marshall.
A long antique table is the centerpiece of the dining room. The custom table is “electrified” with outlets and USB ports at each end so it can be a dining table or a work desk. Benches are 1960s Belgian schoolhouse finds.
The rec room includes a New Standard sofa, antique Kilim pillows and big views of downtown Steamboat.
The cowhide rug and vintage cowhide bench add a Western touch to the master bedroom.
Sculptural sinks in the master bath are Porcelanosa Kole Krio with Elan Vital Series faucets by Watermark. Medicine cabinets are Robern M Series; sleek sconces are Denton by LBL Lighting.
The tub in the master bath is Koan by Porcelanosa.
A red tool cabinet from Snap-On Tools provides storage in the second-floor bath.