When this active, ski loving, Colorado family decided to create their dream home; a home that would be handed down from generation to generation; a home that captured the art and elegance that is the Colorado Rockies—that home simply had to have its roots in Mountain Star.
The terrain is rugged and lush; the sense of privacy and serenity boundless; and then there are the views—those Mountain Star views are simply priceless. All of this was what captured their imaginations and prompted this family to purchase a very special two acre site in this community. The sweeping southwestern views that take in the runs at Beaver Creek, the aspen groves and only the sound of nature to touch the soul, inspired the search to find an architect to bring this dream to life.
The owners knew what they wanted and a priority was an emphasis on capturing inside the home the inimitable panoramas displayed outside the home.He wanted a library/office; she wanted a chef-friendly kitchen; and they both wanted a design that reflected their love of art in the structure of the house.
The architectural talent of their choice was Jack Snow of RKD Architects and that collaboration resulted in a home that was to become nothing less than a stunning work of art.
“What is so amazing about Jack is that he listens—he really listens—so he understood what we had in mind. We originally had a picture of what we wanted and what it should look like—and it ended up looking nothing like that,” laughs the homeowner.
A contemporary home with “lots of glass—because it’s all about the views” was a must, as was a design that was artistic and could accommodate a growing family’s changing needs throughout generations. The result was a home that made the short list for the International Design and Architectural Award and, the owners insist, was beyond any expectations they could have imagined.“We all wanted something interesting that no one had seen before,” says Snow. With but a quick glance at this extraordinary home it is safe to say ‘mission accomplished!’
There is nothing conventional about this contemporary masterpiece. The look appears as organic as the environment in which it rests, and as welcoming as a forest cottage with a white picket fence. And though the height of sophistication has been achieved this is a house that echoes the warm ambiance of ‘home’.
The house took one year in the planning and two years in construction, which is a common time range; Shaeffer Hyde Construction adeptly executed the difficult construction while the fixed finishes were under the direction of Slifer Designs, with the furnishings, accessories and art selected by the owner and Studio 80. The home has since been aptly named Puestadel Sol (Spanish for sunset). “We have a bird’s-eye view seeing the weather move in, or the spectacular sunsets — watching nature as it evolves and this is an experience that continues to fascinate us and something of which we never tire,” says the owner.
The control of space and scale is extraordinary as seen in the towering ceilings, reaching heights of 20 feet, and is managed by designs formed of blackened steel beams and columns. The horizontal lines, breaking those of the vertical, are at the perfect height tocreate an astonishing sense of scale and intimacy while maintaining an omnipresent feeling of grandeur. Also, skillfully using a juxtaposition of natural elements and textures—for instance stone, steel, finished concrete and wood — there is a subtle sense of balance and harmony prevailing throughout the home. Snow engaged an interesting concept that he comically refers to as “no touching,” a beautifully aesthetic form where the mediums used do not touch each other but rather are suspended or attached by way of a different but complementing form. For instance, the five structural timbers at the entryway are not only each curving beyond the other to imitate movement, but also are attached to the concrete deck with steel joints, assimilating a sense of floating.
The metal panels on various walls are raised from their base and from each other so rather than a flat wall there is a multidimensionalfactor. Overhead beams are not in direct contact to the ceiling and are not directly attached to each other, giving rise to a feeling of airiness. Even the prominent limestone is dry-stacked offering subtle space between each stone, which elicits a lightness. This sense of weightlessness and grace is all a result of the “no touching” concept. Even the inset fireplaces throughout the home, looking like individual pieces of art themselves, suggest a “no-touching” element as the cool geometric lines that run floor to ceiling are broken up with the horizontal lapping of the hot flames swirling in contrast. Due to the ubiquitous use of glass it is impossible to be in this home and not feel at one with nature. But the glass does not just serve to invite the outdoors inside. In the evenings with the beautifully hidden overhead lighting, and the custom chandelier and sconces aglow, the well chosen pieces of art are reflected in the paneled glass to present a gallery of displays seen in many areas of the home.
“We love our art, so to see an Anthony Lister that hangs in our dining room reflected in each of the side by side window panels in theliving room is art in and of itself,” says the homeowner. “What organized this house, at the time, were the covenants in Mountain Star that demanded certain things,” says Snow. “We had to have a gabled house with a target of a 150 foot circle for the main mass of the house.” But that didn’t mean adhering to common design. “The house is organized around three gabled spines with each of the endsculminating in windows that cant outward to fully embrace the wide-ranging views that surround this home.” The first gable encompasses the east-west expanse of thehome including the entry and master bedroom. The second gable contains the horizontal structure of the home with an awe- inspired finish in the heart of the kitchen. And the third gable covers the guest and children’s areas. Each area is integrated for common gathering while also creating privacy for everyone. This is architectural art at its finest but first and foremost this is a home.
“No matter how long I’m away from home—whether it’s two days or weeks or months—I’m always breathless to return and I wonder how I could have left,” sharesthe homeowner. “We knew the basics of what we wanted but never believed those needs would result in the vision that Jack helped us form. Not only do we have a home that is a true work of art but is also comfortable and homey. The entire family continues to love to gather here. It was our goal to build a house that suited the two of us and our children when they were little; and a home that would grow with us as our children became adults and established their own families. We think the design of this house will stand the test of time and will be considered equally as extraordinary and relevant decades from now. This home wasdesigned as a place to embrace nature, and most importantly, to embrace family.”