Spotlight on Vail Valley
Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
There is a special kind of magic found in Colorado’s high country and for many, the Vail Valley is the place to be. Known for its vibrant cultural scene, upscale amenities, unparalleled outdoor opportunities and a friendly small-town feel, Vail is arguably one of the finest resort destinations in the world.
Founded as a ski resort in 1962 and incorporated as a town in 1966, Vail welcomes over a million visitors each year and is comprised of a 50/50 split between permanent and part time residents. With many homeowners rethinking what their vision of home looks like thanks to COVID, Vail is experiencing an influx of buyers looking to call the Vail Valley home, with over $3.5B in real estate sales last year alone.
Standing at 8,150 feet and surrounded by 350,000 acres of national forest, Vail is an adventurer’s paradise offering four-season fun. From skiing, snowboarding and tubing in winter and hiking to biking and golfing during the warm weather season to family-friendly festivals filled with music, food and fun year- round, there’s something for everyone.
Here we introduce you to several of the top homebuilders, architects, designers, showrooms and real estate professionals that serve the Vail Valley. Get to know them. Passionately committed to sharing their expertise and innovations, they are uniquely qualified to make your alpine living dreams come true.
Get to know Arrigoni Woods, the Colorado company known nationwide for its gorgeous selection of engineered and reclaimed woods sourced directly from Western Europe.
People seem innately drawn to using natural wood products in their designs, especially in mountain homes. Why do you think that is?
Wood is a material like no other; a material that speaks to us through all our senses. It provides a connection to the environment and brings the beauty of the great outdoors inside. Homeowners, especially mountain homeowners, want to live on a floor without chemicals, as closely as possible to Mother Nature.
How do the European and engineered wood products you offer enhance a home’s design?
The European woods we offer have a distinctive graining pattern and over-dimensional width and length. They can be custom finished in a wide variety of natural colors and tones to contribute to the visual impact of any room. As we say, a custom home is customization to its last detail and we offer each of our clients exactly what they are looking for.
What are the advantages of using engineered wood planks vs. solid wood planks?
Our quality engineered floors excel in challenging climates. The layered construction is more stable, with no warping or cupping, and unlike other engineered products can be refinished. In addition, the superb engineering enables us to offer planks up to 18” wide in lengths up to 20’, even over in-floor radiant heat.
What is trending in your showroom right now?
Very wide planks with natural finishes created with zero chemicals and planks with special “worn” textures. Also, reclaimed wood and wood flooring that create a modern mix with more finished surfaces like appliances and furniture. Our showroom offers complete interior solutions, which helps our clients visualize what our products might look like in their home.
What measures does Arrigoni Woods take to ensure sustainability?
We only purchase products from certified (FSC AND PEFC) companies. Exclusively. We treat wood with respect and do not waste it. In addition, we are heavily invested in solar panels to offset conventional energy use.
Balz Arrigoni, President
970-479-1800 | arrigoniwoods.com
The team at Berglund Architects strives to create unique, beautiful, timeless architecture which is harmonious with its surroundings and positively affects their clients’ lives.
What is unique about the Berglund creative process?
Once we have discussed our client’s goals and budget and spent a significant amount of time on the project site to understand the opportunities and constraints, we hold a series of short, collaborative work sessions, what we call a charette, with our clients on-site. We bring tables and chairs and camp out with our clients to take inspiration from the land, document views and sun patterns, pace out potential house layouts, review architectural and interior imagery, and discuss potential building materials and systems.
Over the course of this highly interactive, several-day process, we hand sketch several different house concepts and make live adjustments to the design with our clients’ input. In between meetings, we develop accurate freehand site plans, floor plans and elevation concepts which serve as the basis of the design process.
Tell us about your fully integrated process.
We artfully integrate the architectural and interior design on all of our projects to create seamless continuity between indoor and outdoor living. On a majority of our projects, we provide all of the interior design and interior fixed finishes in-house. As a result, the interior design is highly coordinated with the architectural, structural and mechanical design.
We also work with independent interior designers, documenting their selections in order to carefully coordinate them with the architectural design and to create realistic interior 3D renderings of the spaces. This helps clients envision the design and also gives the contractor one set of integrated coordinated documents to work with.
What serves as your biggest source of inspiration?
The physical and psychological environment of the project’s broader surrounding, the immediate project site’s landscape characteristics, and the site’s context are all inspirations for our designs. Our goal is to create homes that are “of the landscape” instead of being “on the landscape”, whether they are in the mountains of Colorado, overlooking the ocean in the Caribbean, a lake in Canada, a forested hillside in North Carolina, or a cornfield in Illinois.
BERGLUND ARCHITECTS, LLC
Hans Berglund, AIA, Principal
Adam Gilmer, AIA, Principal
Stephanie Lord Johnson, AIA, Principal
970-926-4301 | berglundarchitects.com
Altus Vail redefines mountain home living with a brand new 15-unit luxury residence development right in the heart of Vail Village.
How rare is it for a new property to become available in this prime location?
Like just about every luxury vacation destination, the real estate market in Vail is incredibly strong, but extremely undersupplied right now. Altus is the first major project to break ground in Vail Village in ten years and is a completely new, fresh and different model for Vail.
What was the inspiration for Altus Vail?
The pandemic has inspired people to reevaluate how and where they live and spend their time. People want to spend more time in their vacation homes, not just the odd week or two. Altus is designed to support this trend, offering an intimate approach to condominium living and accessibility to all that Vail has to offer without the headaches and maintenance of a single-family home.
What are some of the standout features?
Our residences feel like single family homes, with the spaciousness, attention to detail, and privacy that mountain homeowners are looking for. With features like massive windows facing unobstructed views of Golden Peak and beyond, large balconies, semi-private elevators and integrated living spaces, Altus provides striking, timeless design in spaces that feel unique, individual and authentic.
What are some of the benefits that come from living right in the Village?
Living in the Village is the epitome of the Vail experience. Everything you need–from restaurants and shops to four season mountain access–is walkable. But more importantly, our proximity offers the opportunity to become intrinsically connected to the local Vail community. There are many stunning properties in and around Vail, but nothing that combines the intimacy and connection of Altus.
Stan Kniss, Director of Sales
970-239-1116 | altusvail.com
Meet Shannon Elicker, owner of full-service flooring boutique Creative Floors, and learn why she is so passionate about helping people refresh their spaces.
What trends are you seeing in flooring right now?
We are seeing old-world charm and lived-in styled floors setting the stage with warmer tones. And of course, the mountain modern light floors are also a consistent trend here in the Valley that we love working with.
Shopping for flooring can sometimes be overwhelming. How do you help clients through the process?
When you enter our store, you are met with the positive energy of our team of flooring experts. We love what we do and are passionate about providing you with the best possible experience. We spend time getting to know your needs, style and budget. Once we understand what you’re looking for, we can help you select luxury flooring solutions at the right price for your needs. This can be a completely virtual experience or we can meet in our Edwards Showroom putting hands on actual samples.
Flooring is typically a large purchase and one that you only may do a few times or once in your lifetime. Product knowledge is key. We meet with our Artisans regularly to stay on top of the latest trends, products and technology. In addition, we are a full-service company and have our own in-house professional installation teams who are highly skilled at the craft of installing flooring. We take care of our clients from start to beautiful finish.
Do you offer any specialty lines?
We are a curated boutique showroom and carry primarily specialty lines. We pride ourselves on finding new and family-owned lines from around the world to offer our clients. In addition, we’re probably the Valley’s best-kept secret for one-of-a-kind, hand woven area rugs. We have a large collection of samples showcasing the work of weavers from around the world that are not only beautiful; they’re like having a piece of gorgeous artwork on your amazing floors.
Shannon Elicker, Owner
Edwards, Colorado (next door to the post office)
The experienced team at Collective Design Group offers full service interior design and architecture services and a curated furniture showroom in Frisco, Colorado to make it easy and enjoyable for homeowners to create inspirational spaces.
What is your favorite thing about working in the Vail Valley?
From the diverse architectural styles to the stunning natural surroundings, our designers draw inspiration from all their favorite parts of living and working in the Vail Valley. As the designers help to bring their Vail Valley client’s spaces to life–while incorporating each client’s individual taste and lifestyle–they have the pleasure of building genuine relationships with their neighbors.
Tell our readers about the unique trifecta of services you offer.
Collective Design Group is a holistic design firm, with fully integrated interior design and architecture services. Our full service model enables our clients to get everything they need—soup to nuts—from one source. Collective also offers a high-end, designer-curated showroom, to fulfill a variety of needs for the community and beyond. Whether customers would like to select furnishings from the showroom themselves, consult with our team to get recommendations for their spaces, or work with our full-service team, it serves as an integral complement to our design services.
How does the team at Collective Design Group stand out from the competition?
We are progressive and personal. The ‘progressive’ refers to our approach to design, always expanding our knowledge and pushing ourselves. The ‘personal’ refers to client relationships. The more we dig deep and get to know our clients, the better we can create the home of their dreams.
COLLECTIVE DESIGN GROUP
Adrienne Rynes, VP Design
970-410-3901 | collectivedg.com
DESIGN WITH DEPTH
Sipes Architects is an award-winning Vail Valley architecture firm specializing in authentic, sustainable, and modern custom designs.
Sustainability is one of your core values at Sipes Architects. How do you implement sustainable principles into your practice?
As architects and designers, we are responsible to be stewards of the amazing environments we work in. We strive to create beautiful places that are in harmony with existing natural systems locally, regionally, and globally.
How do you find inspiration within/for each project?
We approach each project with an open mind and seek out the magical places and opportunities present in the site or existing home. We nurture these unique elements to inform and inspire the design solutions.
Your team has a combined 70 years of experience in residential and commercial architecture. With all the years of experience in the field, what do you believe constitutes great architecture?
Bad architecture stands out like a sore thumb; we all know what it looks like. Good architecture blends in and complements its surroundings. Great architecture is sublime and finds harmony in the competing requirements of the project. It inherently feels right yet the work and thought required is not obvious. It takes great effort to make something look effortless.
SIPES ARCHITECTS, LLC
Brian Sipes, Founding Principal
Todd Biekkola, Partner
970-236-1519 | sipesarchitects.com
Meet Kasia Karska, owner and creative lead of Kasia Karska Design, who brings a unique and multifaceted approach to creating stunning custom homes from the ground up.
What does it mean to be a “design-build” firm, and how does your approach benefit potential clients?
As a design-build firm, we are involved in absolutely every aspect of the project, from start to finish. We start with the conceptual designs of a home and get to know our clients—their lifestyle, vision and passions. From there, we move onto the architectural plans and design both the inside and outside of the home. I am also the general contractor during the construction portion of the project. We wrap up with the final design aspects of the home, including fixed finishes and often landscape design and furnishings.
What inspires you to create the results you achieve?
I am very passionate about the entire process of creating a home for my clients that reflects their lifestyle and truly transforms their home into their own personal sanctuary. Our client relationships mean so much to us, and every project is an opportunity to grow and learn. Fostering these relationships – and building our clients’ dream homes along the way–is incredibly rewarding.
KASIA KARSKA DESIGN
Kasia Karska, Owner, Lead Designer and General Contractor
970-688-5748 | KasiaKarskaDesign.com
KNOWLEDGE + EXPERIENCE
We talked with Doug Landin, award-winning 27 year residential real estate broker with Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, about what makes the Vail Valley market so special and how to find the perfect property.
What are buyers looking for right now?
Buyers coming to the Vail Valley are looking for a “bit of heaven on earth”. They often come from very hectic lives and Vail/Beaver Creek is the perfect getaway for world class recreation, skiing, golf, restaurants, shopping, cultural events and more.
Has the pandemic had an effect on the real estate market in Vail?
At first, in early March 2020, the pandemic shut everything down, right at the height of ski season. But by mid-June 2020, Vail’s real estate market, like other resort markets, was on fire unlike any market I’ve seen in my 27 years, and the market remains incredibly strong, with over 2 billion in sales as of September 1st. Even with low inventory, there are great options available for people who want to be part of our amazing community.
What is the key to finding the perfect property? Is timing a factor?
I believe the key is to be patient but start the search as soon as possible. We have state-of-the-art technology that allows me to notify my customers the moment properties come on the market. It’s important to be ready to jump when an opportunity arises–at many price points, the great properties don’t last.