Colorado is a state with a diverse array of awe-inspiring views from snow-capped mountain peaks to rusty-red plateaus. So, when a Midwestern couple came upon a site in Steamboat Springs with grassy meadows that flow into a spectacular mountain range topped by a cerulean sky, they knew they had found the perfect spot for a home dedicated to family gatherings. “We wanted to build a place similar to many of the houses we’ve stayed in around the world, where guests would feel like they are visiting a retreat,” the wife says.
To create a getaway that would capture the beauty of the setting, the couple hired general contractor John Shively and the team at Vertical Arts Architecture, who designed a glass-lined dwelling with a cantilevered roof that makes for sheltered patios where one can relax and appreciate the scenery while enjoying the mountain air. “They wanted to stretch the house out toward the view and really connect with the land,” says architect Brandt Vanderbosch.
While the striking, flat-roofed structure is characteristically modern, the design team went to great lengths to make it comfortable and cozy. “They knew they wanted something streamlined, but they also wanted it to be simple and homey,” says designer and architect Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien. The main gathering spots are located in the center of the home, and the great room—with its large openings to the outdoors—is perhaps the most popular. Per the wife’s request, Tiedeken O’Brien selected a large, welcoming multi-sided Minotti sofa for the space with seating oriented to both the views and the kitchen, making it easy to converse with people preparing meals. “Essentially, we’re creating micro-environments in one room,” Tiedeken O’Brien explains. “If you have 20 people here, there can easily be separate conversations going on in the same area.”
A naturalistic feeling was created using materials like Kansas limestone, dark hickory floors and a larch-wood ceiling. These elements are juxtaposed with modern features like the bold black-framed windows. A similar contrast exists in the furnishings. As Tiedeken O’Brien explains, “Most of the primary pieces are done in neutral tones to create an elegant vibe, but we also layered in fun touches like the blue sofa in the recreation room and the colorful pillows throughout.”
With a prime outlook to the mountains, the spacious, glass-encased entry offers visitors a welcoming and memorable passage into the home. “It’s completely transparent to the view,” Vanderbosch says. “We’ve been there for parties, and it’s a great space to both welcome and say goodbye to visitors.”
Glass meets stone and wood-paneled walls throughout, and the glamorous details shine even brighter against a more rustic backdrop. That’s quite literally the case for an elegant, dangling Bocci fixture in the stairway. “We provided extra width between the stair runs to make sure that the lighting could cascade right down the middle,” Tiedeken O’Brien says. The floating staircase is located just off the entry, and it’s designed with beauty and function in mind. “We wanted it to be light and open,” she says. “But we also ended up installing glass risers between the treads because the owners have little dogs and they didn’t want them to fall through.” It’s just one example of the close collaboration between the clients and the design team, which often pushed the project to new levels. “We could play off each other and challenge each other, and it maximized the design,” the wife says.
One of those ideas was paying homage to the site’s history. You can still find the ruins of an old stagecoach stop on the land, and there’s newly installed evidence of the pioneer family who lived here in 1915. “We obtained a historic image taken on the property from the Tread of Pioneers Museum here in Steamboat Springs,” Tiedeken O’Brien says. “It’s a photo of the ranching family who used to live here, taken in front of their cabin. For a fun detail, we printed that image as a huge mural, installed it on the powder room wall, and paired it with a sleek floating countertop.” The couple’s new home represents the next chapter in the land’s history, and they’ve named it Sidney Butte Ranch, a nod to both the little town of Sidney that once existed here and to the place where the wife’s parents were born.
When they discovered the land, the couple hoped for a home that would live up to it. The result is so compelling, the homeowners make the long drive to their Colorado dream house frequently throughout the year. “We love to be here, especially given everything that happened recently with the pandemic,” says the wife. “Every time we walk in, we fall in love with the view all over again.”