Scott and Christina Schroeder have been coming to Steamboat for years on family ski vacations. They’ve always dreamed of having their own place in the Yampa Valley, so in 2016 they decided to make that dream a reality. The Schroeder’s came with a clear vision of what they wanted: a mountain home that is both modern and timeless, with rustic elements juxtaposed with steel and concrete. They envisioned a well thought out layout with an efficient use of space, including indoor and outdoor spaces that flow into each other, finishes that are sophisticated but not too modern, and a warm and inviting interior.
They searched for a home in the existing housing stock but couldn’t quite find what they were looking for and knew they didn’t want a major remodel. What they did find, though, was a pristine one-acre lot about a mile above town with fabulous ski area and down valley views, an architect whose work they admired, and a top-notch builder to help make their mountain home dreams come to life. The owners immediately fell in love with the Fish Creek Falls Road site, and the surrounding 35 acres of preserved wetlands and abundant wildlife.
One of the most impressive features of this home is the way it seamlessly weaves itself into its surroundings. Architect Cameron Stuart of Stuart Arc was excited to work on a lot with ideal solar orientation. Part of his design philosophy is to embrace and replicate a home’s natural environment, and from this comes the balance of form and function, beauty and practicality.
After a two-year design/build process, the home is now complete. Walking through the front door, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. The custom-made pivot hinge door is beautiful and massive. Its horizontal wood is finished with a charred shou sugi ban look and contrasts with a long, sleek, vertical stainless-steel handle. To the right is a mudroom with an artful terra cotta star and cross tile from clé. The hand-mixed blackened clay tile, one of the owner’s favorite elements in the home, brings an organic element to the modern eclectic interior design style.
Upstairs from the main entrance is the dining area surrounded by nine-foot-tall glass windows and sliding doors that not only invite you into the home but also through it to the outside deck. The dining room features a special design element the owners knew they wanted to incorporate: a large custom-made walnut wood table from the boardroom of the company they owned. Cameron designed the space around the surfboard-shaped table and Christina completed the look with walnut chairs from Organic Modernism and a unique reclaimed wood sideboard from Noir.
To the left of the dining area is a spacious great room and open kitchen. For the Schroeders, the kitchen was a labor of love. They love to cook and with two dishwashers, a wine fridge, and a pantry off the kitchen, they have plenty of space to indulge. Christina chose the black and brass Rejuvenation Hardware island pendant lights for their scale and playfulness. A 12-foot quartzite slab island top fabricated by Steamboat Stone Works easily seats five. The kitchen cabinets feature custom fronts boldly painted in Rainstorm blue.
Flowing off to the right of the dining area is the master suite offering down valley views via walls of glass. The owners love waking up in this peaceful bedroom surrounded by aspens and meadows. As with all the large windows in the home, automatic window blinds allow the owners to control the privacy and temperature.
The bedroom’s calm neutral palette is juxtaposed by pops of vivid reds and blues. The master bathroom, also featuring a black, gray, and white palette, features cement tile sourced by Interiors with Altitude. A resin freestanding tub adds a modern sculptural element and rests under a southwest window and beneath an elegant yet playful custom bubble light from Etsy.
Outside, the 740 square foot deck is vast and offers several seating and dining areas. The deck floor is Ipe, a long-lasting hardwood that’s a durable alternative to treated lumber. The deck is supported by steel beams and encased by a steel and cable railing.
The home’s lower level was built to accommodate their three adult children with three bedrooms featuring a clean and simple modern look and feel. There is an additional bonus room, a guest laundry room, a main living area with a gas fireplace, plus a kitchen area with a wet bar, fridge, dishwasher, and table. It was important to the owners that their guests feel like they have their own space during their visit. They can have coffee on their own in the morning, sitting outside on the patio or staying comfy on couches near the fire. More options are available as the day goes on with a hot tub on the patio and a fire pit at the end of a short meandering path to the right.
The lower level, built into the ground, is just one way the site provides its own super insulation. Cameron used closed cell foam insulation throughout the house, but he credits the site’s orientation for a good portion of what makes this home so energy efficient. “The passive solar design is the most significant feature and what sets this home apart from others,” Cameron explains. “The orientation of the home on the site combined with large roof overhangs maximize solar heat gain in order to heat the home in the winter. Due to the higher trajectory of the sun in the summer months, the same design features shade the home and keep it cool in warmer weather.” In addition, concrete slab floors with radiant heat help the downstairs space stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
On this lot, the freedom to use windows that work with the views and the sun meant using a lot of windows (thousands of pounds worth). The highly energy efficient fiberglass windows allow very little thermal transfer from the interior to exterior. The home’s orientation on the lot, the use of windows, and the large shed roofs are three ways Cameron uses the environment to inspire his design for a functional, sustainable, and beautiful home.
The Schroeders chose Colorado Home Solutions (CHS) to build the home. They were impressed by the CHS team of Rob Van Deren and KJ Ottoman, particularly their commitment to quality and their ability to value engineer in the right places. Rob has been building in Steamboat for 15 years. “Custom home building became fun because we got involved in a lot of the interior design aspects,” Rob says. “As a rule, builders take something from 2D to 3D. But there are always challenges and opportunities that come up. Not everything that works as a concept works in real life and we like to help people through the process.” That is something that the homeowners especially appreciated about working with Rob’s team. “Rob and KJ were indispensable when it came to recommending and sourcing many of the premium finishes. They gave us great advice and guidance on key elements that really took the design to the next level,” said Christina.
Another area where Rob’s building expertise and interest in design came into play was the driveway. Because the site is below the road, he wanted to make sure there were absolutely no drainage issues. And because the site offers tranquil isolation, he shaped the driveway to ensure privacy from passers-by. “We used the topography and the natural landscape to buffer the home from the road as much as possible.”
The open stone and steel gas fireplace that partially separates the dining area from the great room required additional onsite problem solving. Not only are there stringent codes to adhere to with an open fireplace, there are also structural support issues. The 1,300-pound welded steel hood required a cantilever for reinforcement. Rob used concrete to support the fireplace and hide its intricate ventilation system. A custom rolled steel design was also installed to make Christina’s vision of a natural looking one-of-a-kind divider between the two rooms a reality.
In this house, there’s a lot of heart and soul, a lot of personalized style, and a lot of teamwork. In its 3,500 square feet, there’s a lot of space, but it doesn’t feel too big. The home blends together the indoors and the outdoors, the modern and the organic as well as unique spaces and continuity. The house perfectly integrates what Steamboat is known to offer: the allure of our natural environment; understanding and respect for resources; and the coming together of different minds and styles.
Architecture: Cameron Stuart, Stuart Arc
Interior Architecture: Marisha Cowles, Moss Design Co.
Interior Design: Christina Schroeder
General Contractor: Rob Van Deren, Colorado Home Solutions
Framing,Trim, Site Supervision: KJ Ottoman, Colorado Home Solutions
Landscape: Dan Story, Inc8
Indoor Fireplaces: Mountain Home Stove and Fireplace
Exterior Firepit: Hot Stuff Hearth and Home