Best of Both Worlds
Spectacular mountain views, floor-to-ceiling windows, multiple levels, generous square footage, privacy and outdoor living space: these perks aren’t unusual when it comes to Vail Valley mountain properties. So what makes this home special? Finding all those desirable qualities on a small lot in town just steps away from the buzz of a bus route, ski lifts and shopping.
“This isn’t a second home tucked away—it’s where we live year round in the heart of West Vail,” says homeowner Craig Yarde, whose goal was to get the most privacy out of his lot, which is just shy of a half acre, faces a busy road and backs up to open space. He presented this challenge to architects Kyle Webb and Heather Barrie of K.H. Webb Architects in Vail.
“Privacy was the prime driver of the siting,” says Webb, who conceptualized a C-shaped home with three wings surrounding a courtyard. “We designed around its relationship to the outside and the courtyard,” he says. The living and dining areas and bedrooms open to the secluded courtyard and mountain views. The wing that fronts the road is reserved for Yarde’s home office, guest suite and a storage garage.
The courtyard concept and major landscaping additions help enhance privacy; another challenge was the site itself, which rises steeply from the street. To accommodate the change in elevation, Webb and Barrie designed a series of gradual split levels with half staircases. “There are three stories in each section as the house cascades down the hill,” Webb says. “For the amount of grade change, you don’t feel it or see it. The house comes together fluidly.”
The angular nature of the architecture helps make this possible. “From the start, I wanted a very
contemporary home. A major objective was to square everything off,” Yarde explains. The architects
complied by designing a variety of roof lines—a shed roof to provide vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and living room; more contemporary, flat roofs elsewhere. The beauty of the exterior lies in both the forms and the materials, which define the various elevations and sections.
For the interior, the homeowner enlisted the aid of kitchen designer Rys Olsen of Arclinea Colorado, who introduced a sleek Italian-concept kitchen crafted of teak wood and stainless steel. Interior designer April Bevins of Laureen Hopkins Interior Design selected tile, stone, lighting and furniture for the home, custom designing several pieces to add to the mix. “We were going for a bold, masculine look and clean, square lines to complement the angular lines of the architecture,” she says.
Yarde, who owns a steel and aluminum import business, worked with the architects and builder Brian Gillette to incorporate metal into the design of the house, from the steel industrial support beams and staircases to the exterior’s zinc panels. The sleek material is juxtaposed with limestone blocks and clear cedar siding on the exterior, punctuating the contemporary lines. Some of the materials transition to the clean-lined interior of the home as well.
The 6,500 square-foot, five-bedroom home flows through an open floor plan, with well-proportioned spaces that are connected to the outdoors. “Because this is a full-time residence, we have a different way of looking at things,” Webb says. “Two giant sliding glass panels in the living room open to the courtyard and embrace the outdoors.” Protected from the wind and open to the sun, the courtyard is enjoyed most of the year by Yarde and his two young sons.
“Whether you are in the courtyard or the house, it doesn’t feel like there are neighbors around,” Webb says. “It feels private—that was our ultimate goal and greatest success.”