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Although this property does not have architectural significance within the community, aside from the F.M. Light Cabin that was relocated here and sits on the Routt County registry of historic places, it does have historical significance. The original cabin was built as a home for Charlotte Perry, one of the two directors of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, the longest continually running performing arts camp in the country. Charlotte Perry and her co-director, Portia Mansfield spent their first summers at camp living in a canvas tent, then living in Cabeen, a cabin on the property, before finally building their own homes in Steamboat. Charlotte built overlooking Soda Creek with a huge meadow behind her home, while Portia build a space that was halfway between camp and town. After Charlotte Perry passed, Ingrid Wekerle inherited the property before selling the home to the Bennetts some years later.
You know when you arrive there is going to be something different about the house from the gate itself. The Bennetts were great collectors of artifacts, which can be found throughout the property. Tall, oak French doors with glass are set into the gate and this is how you enter the compound. The compound has multiple structures which all started with Charlotte’s original cabin. The cabin was built onto again and again, evolving over time. Inside the gates, a great covered front porch is held with Mediterranean columns that feature carved capitals and bases. While you would expect columns here, the style chosen feels out of place but delightful at the same time. Enormous pine trees shade the interior courtyard.
In the garage is a caretakers unit with a huge, contemporary window that looks out over the meadow. Eclectic details mark this property. Each space has a few surprises that make you pause for a moment. These surprises are what have informed how the project will move forward and that eclectic feel will translate into each step of the expansion. Today, on a property of this size, there are certain modern expectations that are lacking, such as gathering spaces for extended family as well as capturing and capitalizing on the views that surround the home. In Charlotte Perry’s time, from the early 1900’s through the early 1970’s a home didn’t demand wide open gathering spaces, private offices and the like. Our goal is to add on a lower level master suite with a private office and private outside space away from the extensive entertaining spaces that already exist. We will also be expanding the kitchen space and adding a great room and dining room. This will provide an opportunity to capture the amazing views and sunrises that come from the east.
As we begin work, we realize that we are creating an addition to history that will allow this house to continue to be a gathering space where stories can be told and new memories created.