With the help of savvy design pros, a vibrant East Coast couple creates a mountain-contemporary retreat with an eye to the future
Ellen and Rob Race know that when the time comes they want to retire in Steamboat Springs. After a few years of owning a condo in the iconic ski town, the couple, who have lived in the same traditional Massachusetts home for decades, purchased a lot adjacent to the Steamboat Ski Resort. They were finally ready to build a place to suit their second-home dreams and future considerations.
“Ellen and Rob are outgoing people. They love the active lifestyle that the mountains have to offer—they hike and golf in the summer and ski in the winter,” explains interior designer Susse Budde, half of the team at Dimension Fine Homes. “They wanted to look at this project as their forever home, even though they won’t live here full-time for a few more years,” she says. “And they wanted a place where their grown daughters and sons-in-law would want to come and stay.”
Budde, along with Corey Larsen, a talented builder and craftsman and the other half of Dimension Fine Homes, worked with Keith Kelly of Kelly and Stone Architects, the project architect of the home. The team designed with the Races’ lifestyle in mind, and they welcomed input from the couple. “It was important for the Races to have a space that would be perfect for entertaining and hosting a houseful, as well as being cozy and inviting for when it was just the two of them,” Budde says. The resulting structure embraces the lot’s enviable location and breathtaking views, and offers an open floor plan for entertaining, plus a lower level with both public and private guest spaces. The design also takes into consideration what the long-term future could hold, including wide doorways and a curbless master suite shower.
The expansive living room views capture the Steamboat ski area, the gondola, and the slopes. Inside, an attention-grabbing fireplace wall balances out the mountain vistas; local artist Susan Schiesser’s One Hundred Blooms adds a vibrant splash of color. Interior Designer Susse Budde’s favorite item in the house, a Jean de Merry chandelier, has a place of honor. “I am passionate about lighting and believe the right fixture really makes a room pop,” she explains. “It reminds me of a porcupine—something we see a lot of in Steamboat. It is custom made and anything but traditional!”
The dining room doorway is framed in reclaimed oak beams. “They have notches where they were mortised from their previous constructions. They have tons of character,” builder Corey Larsen says. Reclaimed oak floors echo the beams’ patina. The dining room’s windows capture the Flattops and Emerald Mountain. “They have the perfect view of the fireworks during Steamboat’s historic Winter Carnival and 4th of July,” Budde says.
While the kitchen’s open layout is perfectly suited for gatherings, the room’s ability to work well was paramount—Ellen loves to cook. Custom drawers and cabinets with specialty storage components—spice shelves on cabinet doors, peg systems for dinnerware—give the chef easy access to all her culinary necessities. “You can grab everything and see it all,” Budde says. “The big door to the right of the range has my favorite contraption, the LeMans by Häfele—it’s the Mercedes of Lazy Susans.”
In the master suite, Budde turned to a dependable old friend—Cole & Son’s “Woods” wallpaper—to outfit the room’s focal wall. “It is ideal for Steamboat because we have so many aspen trees and this paper captures them perfectly,” she says. The Cheryl Rogers intaglio print etching is from Walker Fine Art.
The master bath features a large curbless shower dressed in Gascogne Blue limestone and recycled glass tiles, both from Walker Zanger. The custom-made floating vanity features vertical grain walnut with a concrete counter. Modern pendant lights illuminate the his-and-hers vanity. “Their sinks are separated by a large casement window that allows the Races lots of natural light as well as stunning views of the ski mountain and the aspen-loaded forest,” Budde says.
An antique bed frame chosen by the homeowner reflects her love of American antiques and sets the tone for this space with a more rustic cottage air. “We wanted a feature wall and tried to be resourceful,” Budde says of the repurposed barn wood. “It’s much grayer here than the other installations because we were picking out the white painted pieces for everything else, leaving the darker ones. They worked perfectly for this.”
A second guest room has a more modern feel. “I love this wallpaper!” Budde says. “The little mirrored side tables bring a touch of vintage glam.” Bedside rugs soften the heated concrete floors throughout the lower level. Each bedroom has a bank of windows and doors leading to an open-air patio.
Interior Designer: Susse Budde
Builder: Corey Larsen
Dimension Fine Homes, Inc
Architect: Keith Kelly
Kelly and Stone Architects