This Steamboat Springs, Colorado Home Bestows Southern-Inspired Warmth
Overlooking the South Valley, this abode marries modern architecture and traditional interior accents
“I have been coming with my family to Steamboat Springs for 40 years for winter ski trips and summer hiking and biking, staying at my parents’ home here until it was recently sold. My husband and I are emotionally attached to this place. It has lots of family memories,” says a homeowner who recently built a dream vacation home perched over South Valley.
The couple’s two design goals seemed diametrically opposed: capture the expansive views of the valley and Steamboat Ski Resort while blocking views of a hotel and condos below to maintain a sense of privacy. They hired Jeremy MacGray of JSM Builders to help them choose which one of five available lots in a new neighborhood at the top of a hill was the most suitable. With his guidance, they handpicked the only south-facing lot with 270-degree views of South Valley and Emerald Mountain.
After interviewing architectural firms, the homeowners chose Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien and Brandt Vanderbosch of Vertical Arts Architecture to design a home that would work well on the extremely steep lot that abruptly drops off to the valley below. “We thought if we could hover the house in space and perch out over the precipice, we could capture prime views,” O’Brien says. “To overcome the steep lot, we stacked the design vertically and added big flying decks on two levels to capture views from 30 feet in the air.”
Says MacGray, “The deck railings, especially those on the uniquely angled upper deck, were designed to block views of the hotel and the base of the ski resort while protecting the valley views above it and providing privacy by blocking lights from below.” The result: “It feels like you’re standing on the bow of a boat, hanging out over the valley.”
Enjoying the indoor-outdoor flow of the deck off the main living area, the homeowner notes, “I see the V-shaped upper deck as Sarah’s handwriting on our house; it’s Vertical Arts’ signature.” MacGray adds, “The large picture windows and transoms open up a pretty fantastic view when you’re standing in the living room, looking out.” Designing the living room windows several feet off the floor affords an extra layer of privacy.
Although the homeowner asked for the clean, crisp look of a Mountain Modern approach, she also sought to keep the interiors warm and inviting. “I wanted something totally different from our primary home in Louisiana,” she says. O’Brien achieved the warmed-up modern look by incorporating Craftsman detailing and Southern-inspired traditional features in homage to the homeowners’ roots. Molding on contemporary cherry cabinets by Showplace Cabinetry in the kitchen and wet bar and a limestone mantel over the Southern-style fireplace enhance a friendly vibe through traditional elements. In the great room, window muntins and double wooden ceiling beams mitigate the perceived coldness of structural steel beams to create a layered look reminiscent of cozy Craftsman style. “We were able to nod back and forth between modern and traditional styles through authentic accents, making the final design very unique,” says O’Brien.
The 3,500-square-foot home lives large with its smartly functional layout. The homeowners particularly love that they can live on the main floor, while the lower floor provides extra space for guests. With a modest budget and a focus on keeping a small footprint, the homeowner couldn’t be happier with the final result. “It was a wonderful experience building a home,” she says. “The design-and-building team heard what we wanted and in turn gave us a first-class, solid and good-quality home with spectacular views. You wouldn’t believe the scenes we have seen—beautiful sunrises, sunsets and holiday fireworks.”
Modern homes feature a sleek, clean-lined aesthetic that can lean toward stark and sterile if not properly balanced with furniture, finishes and accessories that add intimacy and comfort. This home is all about adding warmth to Mountain Modern design. Here’s how architect and designer Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien of Vertical Arts Architecture achieved the look.
ADD COLOR ON THE CEILINGS AND WALLS This home marries several different types of wood, including reclaimed barnwood, maple and cherry, which are enhanced by stains. Hits of creamy paint mixed with tones of brown provide warmth. PLAY WITH TEXTURE Whether on fabrics, wallcoverings or architectural elements, adding texture to finishes is a way to control the mood. In this home, the kitchen’s modern riveted range hood, for example, is warmed by a finishing process that creates a rusted, rustic patina. CHOOSE GOLD Brass kitchen and wet bar faucets and cabinetry pulls add a dose of sunny cheer. BRING IN NATURE Organic features automatically inject a sense of comfort into interior spaces. This home’s focus on creating an indoor-outdoor atmosphere through large decks and extra-large picture windows captures views and feels inviting. “We layered all elements to create a holistic home that speaks to the homeowners,” says O’Brien.