Tour An Architecture Gem That Floats On The Edge Of A Ski Mountain


A tall walnut door with...

A monochromatic palette in rich textures sets an après-ski mood in the living area, where the owner herself chose a Borzalino sofa, metal-ring-based cocktail table by Sovet Italia, and tufted Lyocell rug by Minotti—all from Casa Italia Naples. The artworks are from Jace Romick Gallery in Steamboat Springs.

A marble, floor-to-ceiling fireplace delineates...

Delineating the living and dining areas is a fireplace made of black marble from Floor and Bath Solutions. Groupings of modern European furnishings, such as Natuzzi swivel chairs and a Cattelan Italia side table, provide a cozy spot to admire mountain views.

A rock-crystal chandelier hangs above...

In the entry, a rock-crystal chandelier offers a counterpoint to cool porcelain-tile flooring from Floor and Bath Solutions. Beneath the window is a Cattelan Italia sideboard from Casa Italia Naples.

A veined black-marble floor-to-ceiling fireplace...

In the living and dining spaces, sculptural furnishings in a natural, understated palette complement sweeping views of a ski mountain. Leather dining chairs are paired with a marble-and-steel dining table, all by Cattelan Italia. The chandelier is by Artemide.

A kitchen with a broad...

Clean lines continue in the kitchen, where a Sovet table, paired with a Lolas chair by Airnova, nods to custom Armony cabinetry. A George Nelson Bubble pendant from Herman Miller delicately hangs above.

A spa with black-stone walls,...

The lower level’s spa is a resort-worthy oasis, with RH Ski House chaises for lounging before the hot tub. Artemide’s steel-screen Cadmo sconces diffuse a soft glow.

A staircase with wood steps...

At the landing beneath the entry, a steel-and-Douglas-fir staircase sets off bright walls painted Benjamin Moore’s Super White. A luxurious RH Ski House armchair and stool atop a cowhide rug by Overland add softness to the scene.

A bedroom with a bed...

The primary bedroom’s verdant views are an arresting natural backdrop for a bed and ottomans by Ditre Italia and an Arketipo sectional, all from Casa Italia Naples. A desk and chair from RH Ski House make for a contemplative study.

The home’s boxy architectural volumes, or “pods,” as the owners call them, appear to be floating on the edge of the ski mountain. Some protrude, cantilevered, and others recede, the stacked, brown-and-white blocks not unlike the boulders and snow masses found in their natural surroundings. Construction was an architectural and engineering feat—double black-diamond level—but the clients had a specific vision for their vacation residence, where they planned to host family, entertain and, when they wouldn’t be skiing themselves, watch the slopes as up close as possible.

“I would make drawings to scale on graph paper and then photograph and send them over to Travis,” the wife recalls, speaking of Travis Mathey, the residential designer who worked on the project with the late Soda Mountain Construction + Design founder, Chris Rhodes. 

The wife even took the lead on the interiors. “I’m the type of person who just knows what I want,” she says. And what she wanted was a decidedly untraditional ski lodge. “Something very modern and totally different,” she explains—different, specifically, from the log cabin they’d previously owned in Alberta, Canada. “Very sleek, uncluttered, not with an antler chandelier,” she laughs. “The minute you walk in through the door, the only thing you focus on is that mountain, because the entire wall is floor-to-ceiling glass.” 

When the homeowners found the property, it contained an existing small cottage that needed to be torn down, and the restrictive site had a natural 30-degree slope. Some surprises at the foundation level—like a 16-foot-deep hole filled with concrete—necessitated revised excavation and a new civil and structural engineering plan for stabilization. The demolition turned out to be quite extensive. And then came the aesthetics. The owners didn’t want supports on the front of the house, so the team designed it to appear as though it was floating. This bridges a connection from the indoors, where much of the slope-facing south side is wrapped in glass, to the outdoors. 

The layout too reflects the residents’ wish for airy views. The main floor contains the common rooms to the west and center—the kitchen, dining and living areas—while the primary bedroom suite anchors the east. And “transition rooms,” such as an office and gym with expanses of glass to the south and north, connect the spaces. Downstairs, accessed by a sculptural central stair, is the primary guest suite, three more bedrooms, a movie theater and luxurious spa and sauna, with a hot tub nestled in the cantilevered, glass-boxed eastern corner. “When you’re sitting in the hot tub,” the wife says, “you’re hanging on the edge of the mountain.” 

Keeping with the sleek exteriors, she devised a plan for the interiors in a monochromatic palette, with consistent trims and plumbing fixtures throughout. Walnut is a prominent accent, as seen on the kitchen cabinetry and ceiling paneling in the living and dining areas. Meanwhile, she sourced black porcelain tile with horizontal veining and basalt for the fireplace surround. Horizontal variations elsewhere, such as the grain of the walnut doors, feel like extended undulations of the landscape. Porcelain paves the living area and the bathrooms as well. 

Mathey notes that this home is a departure from current requests, not only for its modern spin on a ski lodge, but because of its closed-off kitchen—at the opposite of the “great-room paradigm,” he notes. “Instead of those spaces needing to communicate with each other, it’s more about prioritizing their views: Each room has a wide-angle lens for you to experience.” 

The sights were so central to the project that, while the homeowners and the firm collaborated from different parts of the country over Zoom (in addition to site visits), they were able to review rendered sight lines on 3D drawings Mathey realized with the help of a surveyor and tweak plans in live time.

Now that the vision is realized, the house is exactly what the clients hoped for, if not more. The couple often visits their skiing-enthusiast friends in Vail or Aspen and then returns the favor with a weekend at their place. Everybody loves it. “We spend hours just sitting in the living room, watching the skiers,” the wife shares. “They look like little matchsticks coming down.”