Endless Summer

A Florida family escapes the sweltering summer heat at their new abode on a century-old Colorado dude ranch

Photography by Kimberly Gavin

For outdoorsy types, heaven might look a lot like C Lazy U Ranch, a 100-year-old establishment outside of Granby, Colorado, that offers fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking, skiing and numerous other activities. Floridians Jeff and Kim Nelson spent a week there with their three children in 2015 and purchased a 35-acre lot before they left.

“The kids roam this place all summer long,” Kim says, noting they often leave in the morning and don’t return until dinnertime. “It’s freedom for them, and I don’t feel like I have to helicopter parent.”

An area rug from Artisan Rug Gallery, plush upholstered furnishings and a tripod floor lamp from Circa Lighting balance the rustic reclaimed wood elements in the great room. The suspended metal cabinet is by Jason McConathy, of New Mountain Design.

Responsible for many homes on the ranch, architect Wendy Lind and her husband and business partner, Kevin Lind, of Axial Arts worked closely with the Nelsons to design their new abode, which is built into a steep hillside with spacious wooden decks and stone patios that overlook the pasture, the Willow Creek reservoir and the Indian Peaks mountains in the distance.

A unique barn-style door conceals a coat closet in the front foyer—one of many reclaimed wood elements throughout the home.

The bathroom features bespoke lighting and a custom vanity with a sinuous metal sink apron.

“It’s tucked in there, and the views are great,” Lind says, recalling the time that she and her clients climbed up on ladders to ensure that the house would take full advantage of its lofty perch, modifying the plans before construction. “When we design a house, the first thing we focus on is the site—the topography, primary view angles and solar orientation.”

Accented with blue hues, the elegant dining area is perfectly placed to take advantage of the magnificent view.

The interior design feels fresh and contemporary despite the large antler chandelier and other traditional touches.

While the dwelling’s stacked stone foundation, reclaimed wood siding and exposed structural steel detailing blend in well with the neighboring structures, the interior leans in a more modern direction. In the great room, for example, a soaring floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace creates a dramatic focal point for modern, clean-lined furnishings around a cocktail table made of stacked slices from a willow tree that grounds the space. Overhead, a large antler chandelier draws attention to the Douglas fir timber trusses on the high wooden tongue-in-groove ceiling.

“Jeff wanted a mountain home, and I wanted something a little more updated and modern with industrial touches,” Kim says. “We were trying to combine those styles together.”

In the master bathroom, the luxurious soaker tub is recessed into a cozy stone-walled niche.

Metal plays an important role in that endeavor. For example, a hand-patinated steel range backsplash, and a suspended metal cabinet supported by cross-tension rods, play off of the stone  walls and rustic reclaimed wooden cabinetry in the open kitchen. And over the island, a trio of metal pendant-like sconces speaks the same language as the industrial light fixtures mixed with rustic chandeliers placed throughout. “Metallic tones give you that sharp accent,” interior designer Rebecca Kaufman says, crediting Granby-based Jason McConathy for his design, woodworking and metal fabrication skills.

His-and-hers vanities made by New Mountain Design flank the doorway to the master bedroom.

The blend of rustic and modern elements flows into the lower-level family room—a posh entertainment space with concrete flooring, painted shiplap walls and wood ceilings. In the adjacent bedroom, six built-in bunks, each outfitted with device ports, articulated reading lights and linen privacy draperies, create tons of space for the family’s many overnight guests. “We incorporated rustic materials but kept the lines very clean, taking a more modern approach,” Kaufman says.

An ultra-thick sheepskin rug from Overland Sheepskin and soft bedding from Pierre Frey create an enveloping, romantic feeling in the master suite.

That mix is just what Jeff and Kim envisioned, and the design team is equally thrilled with the result. The house is not just beautiful but also durable and easy to clean—ideal for a family of outdoor enthusiasts who commonly trail dirt indoors. “This is a legacy house that will be passed down through the generations,” Lind says.

Reclaimed wood highlights the vaulted ceilings in the tailored guest suite.

Indeed, just as hikers still follow paths carved out of the land by Native Americans, future Nelson descendants will likely one day appreciate the link that Jeff recently completed between their property and a trail system in the mountains behind the home. “The kids go down to the ranch, and we go out for a hike,” Kim says. “This place creates memories every year.”

During construction, the remote job site was frequently visited by deer, elk and other wildlife. “I included pictures of bears in the weekly report to the owners,” say Robyn Boylan, of Beck Building Company.

“The clients wanted a soft, inviting mountain chalet look with textures and tones versus bold pops of color,” says interior designer Rebecca Kaufman, who offers the following tips for creating interesting interiors sans color. 

MIX MATERIALS Custom steel cabinetry with seeded glass panels, a hand-patinated metal range backsplash and industrial light fixtures are some of the metallic elements that juxtapose the home’s many reclaimed wood and stacked stone elements. ADD TEXTURE Soft, tactile touches such as small sheepskin rugs and fur-covered stools pop against concrete flooring in the bunk room; a thick sheepskin rug does the same in the master bedroom. CREATE CONTRAST Painted pale gray (Benjamin Moore Gray Owl) walls balance the reclaimed wood in the great room, and shiplap walls likewise complement the concrete flooring and custom craft nook built in the lower-level rec room. KNOW WHEN TO BEND THE RULES Upholstered in a deep blue linen fabric, the dining room chairs are one of the only color accents in the otherwise subdued yet multidimensional space. “It needed a hint of color,” Kaufman says, pointing to the blues and greens in the wide-scope mountain vistas in the distance. “It helps to carry your eye through the space.”

ARCHITECTURE Axial Arts Architecture INTERIOR DESIGN Rebal Design CONSTRUCTION Beck Building Company

As seen in the September/October 2019 issue

Categories: Rustic Homes