Steamboat Springs attracts visitors from across the world who fall in love with the area and decide to make it home. This was the case for the homeowners of Flat Top Residence, a 7,300-square-foot modern masterpiece. Upon visiting Steamboat and throughout several other travels, the homeowners decided they wanted to build their own dream vacation in the mountains – one that would feel like a spa-like mountain retreat with sophisticated, high-level design at every turn.

By: Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien

Beautiful Retreat Living Room
The elemental materials and warm furnishings make the modern design feel homey

When they embarked on their construction project, what was outside the walls of their modern second home was just as important as its interior. They wanted to stretch the house out toward the view and really connect with the land. Situating the spa-like retreat in a grassy meadow with 360-degree views, the homeowners wanted their builder and architect team to invite the beauty of the valley below, Steamboat Ski Resort, Emerald Mountain, and Rabbit Ears Pass.

To begin, they enlisted the help of Vertical Arts Architecture and Shively Construction. Throughout the process, they worked closely together, eventually finding a site amidst a prairie field on historic ranchlands to ensure they could capitalize on the expansive views of several notable landmarks. In addition to the views, seclusion was of utmost importance and open prairie land provided the perfect opportunity for the ultimate private getaway.

Beautiful Retreat Exterior
The cantilever roof is used to create multiple outdoor living spaces to enjoy the views

Flat Top Residence’s strategic site orientation melds the home into the mountainous backdrop, providing privacy and creating an inimitable exterior silhouette. The retreat offers panoramic sweeping mountain vistas, bold stone walls, juxtaposing floor-to-ceiling windows, a Weiland door that opens up to the back patio that is almost 30’ x 10’, and beautiful outdoor living spaces that rival the interiors.

Extensive use of steel and glass, coupled with the flat roof, large rooms, and high ceilings that mix with a lot of rock and glass are, according to the Shively Construction team, the elements that really bring the homeowners’ vision, and uniqueness of the home, to life.

By working closely with the homeowners through the land selection process, the Vertical Arts and Shively Construction team were together able to ensure the home sat upon property that would give them every view from every direction. From there, they went to work on all the pieces that needed to happen to ensure no view was left obstructed.

The team carefully crafted the entryway to allow for an eye-catching Bocci light fixture to encompass both levels of the home

The layout of the home was crafted to be almost entirely on one level – a bold concept in a mountain home – with a split-level floor plan that accommodates a private living space for the owners’ daughter upstairs. Stone wall portals serve as thoughtful transitions between quarters while expansive windows and flush patios offer a seamless transition to outdoor living spaces.

To achieve the desired resort-like feel, Vertical Arts’ interiors team layered cool, elemental materials like Kansas Limestone, floor-to-ceiling glass, blackened steel, stained wood siding and hickory floors with abundant natural light, sleek finishes, textured wall coverings and streamlined furnishings to bring warmth to the space.

The main gathering spots are located in the center of the home. The great room offers numerous openings to the outdoors and strikes a balance between beauty and comfort. A lobby-inspired, three-sided Minotti sofa anchors the home’s focal living space with perfectly placed windows and open site lines that frame the valley view.

“It’s the extensive use of steel and large glass to capture the spectacular 360 degree views that makes this home bold,” says John Shively, owner of Shively Construction.

Floor to ceiling windows make any view even more spectacular, especially with the privacy of an open prairie surrounding.

“This project was unique in that it had windows that were flush with the ceiling and gave the appearance of glass all the way from the floor up to the ceiling,” says Brad Wright of Alan-Bradley Windows and Doors, who called the project ‘bold & beautiful’.

This great room is oriented to both the views and the kitchen, making it easy to converse with people preparing meals. The home also offers a lighting scheme – the owners of this home referred to lighting as the ‘jewelry’ of the home –  that strategically illuminates all areas of the home with minimal aesthetic impact alongside prominent, decorative pieces to brighten up the space.

Much of the primary furniture pieces are done in neutral tones, which establish an elegant, resort-like feel. The team also layered in fun touches like the blue sofa in the recreation room and the colorful pillows throughout to bring life to the space.

The glass-lined dwelling capitalizes on Colorado’s abundant natural light while featuring sleek, eye-catching fixtures that bring warmth, such as the framing of the entryway hanging light fixture so that it can cascade right down the middle of the stairwell.

Inspired by their world travels, the couple wanted their home to be a place where they could host family gatherings and make guests feel as though they were at an oasis in the mountains. Each of the four guest suites were designed with hospitality in mind and feature individual color palettes, luxurious, yet minimal furnishings, a coffee bar area, elegant baths and integrated lighting.


Unique touches include a historic photo from Tread of the Pioneers museum which hangs in the powder room; it  showcases the original family “binding grain” on the property circa 1915. he use of the color red is a fun accent in the bunk room, as the homeowners are from Nebraska.


Fireplaces tend to be the focal point of any room and this home has many of them, with the living room fireplace representing a bold undertaking. Shively Construction fabricated the fire box to make sure the clearances from combustibles were observed at all times, that venting was completed properly, and that the fireplace opening and all the stonework above were properly supported.

Steamboat-based Hot Stuff Hearth and Home worked with Shively Construction on all the fireplaces. “The main living room fireplace unit is probably the boldest fireplace we have worked on, definitely the most difficult to install and make operational,” say Jeff Harper, owner of Hot Stuff Hearth and Home.

On the exterior, the house complements its surroundings: the flat, cantilevered-roofed structure is strategically placed to provide privacy; the clean silhouette is elegant and awe-inspiring; inside, glass meets stone and wood-paneled walls throughout; priceless views draw the attention in every room, highlighting the rustic exterior, while glamorous and thoughtful interior details make this home entirely modern.

This pristine, timeless home on the prairie of Steamboat Springs is the result of smart design and years of hard work by a fully integrated team. With the house positioning on-site, driveway design, architectural character, landscape design, interior fixed finishes and furnishings all designed by one integrated Vertical Arts team, and an exceptional builder team to realize the vision, the results provided a cohesive, beautifully designed end-product. Though it may seem like a somewhat minimalist design, there is a lot of work that goes into creating that contemporary look. The result is so compelling that the homeowners make the long drive to their Colorado dream house frequently throughout the year.

Photography: David Patterson Photography



Architect & Design: Vertical Arts
Landscape Design: Vertical Arts
Builder: Shively Construction
Windows and Doors: Alan-Bradley Windows and Doors
Spa: Aqua Vita Spas
Decorative Light Fixtures: Vertical Arts / Stel House + Home
Insulation: Accurate Insulation