Spotlight on Vail Valley

Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
Frontis Kasiakarska

Photo courtesy of Kasia Karska Design

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Vail Valley is an alpine retreat that feels a world away from the hustle of city life—yet is only a two hour drive from Denver International Airport.

As one of the world’s premier mountain resorts, Vail attracts over one million visitors each year. With legendary ski terrain in the winter and unrivaled outdoor adventures and cultural events during the summer, this mountainside gem is truly a year-round destination.

As such, it may not surprise you that Vail is home to just as many permanent residents as part-time vacation residents. Here, we will introduce you to several of the top home builders, architects, designers and showrooms serving the Vail Valley.

Inspired by four seasons of picturesque mountain landscapes and international aesthetics, these industry leaders are focused on sustainability and designs that seamlessly connect interior spaces to outdoor living.

Mountain architecture is about the lifestyle, and creating a personal sanctuary through unexpected and imaginative design. Get to know these talented professionals, and you will discover that Vail Valley is not only a premier destination for outdoor recreation and relaxation—but also for cutting-edge mountain home design.

Inspired Spaces


Sipes Architects specializes in custom crafted new homes and reimagining existing homes, as well as hospitality and restaurant design.

How does curiosity and a sense of wonder inform your architectural designs?

We are always seeking new and innovative sources to inspire our designs. Whether from our travels, time in nature or a great meal, inspiration is everywhere—and we relish the organic growth of creative ideas.

How do you approach sustainability in your projects?

Sustainability is a core value that we consider with each decision during the design process. We feel it is our duty to reduce our impact on natural resources without sacrificing any of the other project criteria. A beautiful building is one that exceeds our client’s goals and embraces and enhances our natural environment.

What has been your most rewarding project so far?

All of our projects are tremendously rewarding because we help our clients achieve their dreams. We strive for design with depth and layers of meaning that turns a home into a personal sanctuary. There is no better feeling than bringing ideas to the table and seeing the excitement that comes with unexpected solutions.

Brian Sipes, Founding Principal
Todd Biekkola, Partner
970-236-1519 |
Minturn, Colorado

Durable Floor Design

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Meet Ruggs Benedict, the flooring store that’s built a reputation for expert design advice and installation, and an extensive inventory that puts the world of flooring at your feet.

How do you help clients choose or design the right new floor?

You will be working with experts from start to finish. Our staff of professional designers is skilled at combining the aesthetic goals of your project with the practical needs of your lifestyle and can guide you to the best selections for your home.

What flooring options can we expect to find in your showroom, and what makes your offerings unique?

When you are looking for a new floor, whether it is wall-to-wall carpeting, hardwood, luxury vinyl planks, tile or area rugs, you will be sure to find it among our incredible selection. We don’t use freelance installers—and you shouldn’t either. Our full- time staff of professionals will install your new floor right away and to the highest quality standards, which are backed by our lifetime installation guarantee.

You are known for your impressive selection of area rugs. Describe the range of sizes and styles you offer.

Over the past 40 years we have built relationships with the world’s leading rug-makers, and our vast collection of area rugs includes all the latest trends, along with traditional classics. Hundreds of our full-size area rugs are available to check out like library books, so you can see each piece in your home before making a selection. We will deliver your favorites to try out for free. Our in-house fabrication department can make any custom size or shape that your room demands.

Tell us about your relationship with Carpet One and how customers benefit from the partnership.

We have been a member of Carpet One, the country’s largest flooring cooperative, for 30 years. The combined buying power of hundreds of Carpet One stores allows us to always offer nationally competitive prices.

Mandy Benedict, Sales Manager and Partner
970-949-5390 |
Avon, Colorado

Comfort and Creativity

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Michael Suman, owner and design lead of Suman Architects, shares how each one of his contemporary mountain home designs is inextricably linked to its site—and its owners.

What characteristics of contemporary design resonate with you?

I admire the sensibilities and thoughtfulness of contemporary design, particularly large areas of glass and smart floorplans that connect to exterior spaces. Combining this with the incredible beauty of mountain settings makes a great match. I embrace the challenge of providing comfortable places of refuge in natural-light-filled rooms with expansive views.

Your designs respond to each client and site in imaginative ways. What sparks your creativity?

Careful listening. First, I listen to my client’s needs and goals, which inevitably provide the initial spark. Next, I listen to the property’s context—to the site’s unique attributes, opportunities and environmental influences. An intimate understanding of these factors provides the framework for imaginative solutions.

What do you enjoy most about creating residential architecture?

I really enjoy a project’s beginning stages, when a home design can wander through the possibilities while staying true to the client’s goals. I enjoy how the finer details enhance the whole. And finally, I enjoy how the personal process of residential design inevitably transforms clients into friends.

Michael Suman, AIA, Owner and Design Lead
970-471-6122 |
Vail, Colorado

Design-Build Dreams

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Meet the owner and lead designer of Kasia Karska Design, a boutique design-build firm that specializes in creating custom homes from the ground up.

What does it mean to be a “design-build” firm, and what is your design process?

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 is the most rewarding aspect of a project?

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 from each new client. Fostering these relationships – and building our clients their dream homes along the way – is incredibly rewarding.

Kasia Karska, Owner & Lead Designer
970-688-5748 |
Vail, Colorado

Building a Lifestyle

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Custom home builder Meadow Mountain Homes knows how to overcome the challenges of alpine construction to build distinctive mountain retreats for their clients.

How does your work bring the “mountain lifestyle” to your clients?

We like to say we are building mountain homes for mountain people. The homes we build are more than wood and concrete, bricks and mortar, windows and floors—they are about the homeowners. Whatever
it is that reflects our clients’ unique mountain lifestyles, our homes meet them there. They are a sanctuary to reboot and go back into the elements to recreate another day.

Ingrid McGinley, Vice President
970-926-2824 |
Edwards, Colorado

As seen in the August 2020 issue

Categories: Spotlight on Design