These homeowners found their own slice of paradise. With sizable acreage, 270-degree views across the Yampa Valley, a bird’s eye glimpse at the Steamboat Ski Area and abundant southern sunlight, they waited over a decade to finally build a home on the site. They dreamed of creating a house with intimate human scale that would be practical for their current lifestyle, while being considerate of their future needs.
The contours of a southern facing hillside drove the home’s linear design. The home steps up the slope while making sure to preserve views and a connection with the land from each room. The split-level home has ample public and private spaces on the main level - perfectly scaled for when the homeowners are here alone. A lower level expands the home for extended family and guests.
The owners’ in-home office has easy access to the main living spaces, yet offers a private entrance across a vegetative roof. The office enjoys direct morning sun, while sunsets are reserved for the master suite with its private walkout patio and views to the west. Downstairs facilities for family and guests include a shared living area and private patios with unobstructed views of the ski area.
The home’s rustic exterior plays off the rural setting, drawing reference to the Yampa Valley’s rich agricultural history and allowing the house to sit comfortably in sight of working hay meadows. The traditional appearance is in sharp contrast to the cutting edge mechanical system, with solar thermal collectors that gather the sun’s energy and store it for use in pre-heating the radiant floor and the domestic hot water systems. The system can also be used to help melt snow over the office patio.
The money saved by staying within the existing building footprint resulted in their preferred period-detailing both inside and out. It also afforded them all new plumbing, electrical, in-floor radiant heating and a super-insulated thermal envelope. The end result was an efficient, low maintenance and very livable 1,600 s.f. house with delightful architectural detailing and street appeal for a family of four.
Steamboat’s architecture leans toward mountain-style homes with heavy wood framing and ski cottage or cabin-like structures. This home modernizes the traditional Steamboat-style house, giving the impression of openness, light and space, so different from the compact cabins that were first erected when ranchers occupied many of these meadows and valleys.