The Butterfly Effect

A unique Steamboat Springs property is transformed into a multigenerational sanctuary
Gerber Berend Williams Exterior One Point Entry 09 15 21 Web

Photography by David Patterson

A midcentury design by a Beverly Hills-based architect is not a typical find for homebuyers in Steamboat Springs. For a Dallas-based couple with a keen eye for design, this rare dwelling with direct views to the ski area was an unexpected outcome to a multi-year search for a second home.

Gerber Berend Williams 12 03 20 Living Wide Web

A custom fireplace serves as a focal point in the open-plan living space. A multicolored hand-knotted Nepalese rug from the Scarab in Minturn complements the white-stained engineered oak wood flooring used throughout the home. A sculptural sofa, gray leather accent chairs by Lee Industries and a side table with a petrified wood top and polished chrome base frame the sitting area.

The property, which once centered on a tree-filled atrium, was surprisingly dark inside, and the jaw-dropping panorama was shielded by low rooflines and obtrusive slump-block columns. While the layout didn’t quite work, the home’s unrivaled setting on a secluded lane perched above a creek cemented its appeal. “We went to look at it really to scratch it off the list, but it was unlike anything we’d seen in Steamboat and we instantly knew it was something special,” remember the homeowners. They returned with Hans Berend and Jeff Gerber, principals at Gerber Berend Design Build, who were already familiar with the home and shared a similar vision.

“It was unlike anything we had seen in Steamboat.” —The homeowner

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The reimagined entryway maximizes the spectacular view corridor. A steep enclosed staircase to the lower floor was replaced with a wider opening, flanked by a custom two-story glass wall to bring light into a previously cavernous space.

The residence needed to serve a multigenerational family, including two home-schooled children, a daughter in her twenties and grandparents. “We wanted to be able to give one another space while keeping a sense of connection between the areas of the home,” the homeowners explain.

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For the first year, the family spent months at a time living in the house to establish what worked and what didn’t.

“We had fun picking and choosing what to celebrate about the house and what could be transformed,” says Gerber, the design lead.

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Ron Clow of Ullr Design used quarter-sawn white oak veneer for the custom kitchen cabinetry and played with a variety of finishes to create a sleek contemporary feel. Into the West Designs sourced the 72-inch solid wood console table in reclaimed pine with a bluestone top.

An extensive overhaul began with the center of the property, which housed the entryway and the once-upon-a-time atrium. The midpoint was taken down to the foundation and rebuilt with a butterfly roof to embrace view corridors of the ski area and an aged pine forest in the foreground.

Gerber Berend Williams Exterior Wide Entry 09 15 21 Web

Signs of the original midcentury architectural style are evident with the slump-block columns and corner window placements. The original roofline was redone and raised, to maximize the views of the Steamboat Ski Area and surrounding pine forest.

Sliding Ecoresin doors by 3form double as a decorative feature and a partition between the entryway and open-plan living space. Delicate strips of torn paper, reminiscent of ancient manuscripts handmade by Tibetan monks, are layered within the resin. “The owners have a very sophisticated palette, and touches like these are evident throughout the house,” Gerber says.

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A chaise in Oliver Toast fabric balances the earthy feel exuded by the wood-burning Focus fireplace and a teak wood coffee table sourced by Into the West Design in the family den.

The design team kept any corner window placements and choreographed in some of the slump-block wall finishes. David Hoffman, the project architect, designed the built-in cabinetry and artistic shelving throughout the home and enlisted Ron Clow of Ullr Designs to custom craft his designs.

Gerber Berend Williams 12 03 20 Shower Web

The River Marble line by Daltile in smoky river and river rapids wraps the steam shower. A Victoria and Albert, Barcelona bathtub and freestanding Kohler faucet add to the spa feel.

A floor-to-ceiling steel façade surrounds the rectangular fireplace in the sitting area, where an elongated mantel was installed and painted in the same acrylic high-gloss finish as the upper kitchen cabinets.

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A giclee print from Leftbank Art is flanked by Kolbe windows above the built-in headboard. An iron footer bench with Italian leather in caramel marries seamlessly with the chocolate-hued bedding and custom Euro pillows in plush umber velvet.

Corridors span from the hub of the house in three directions. Down one corridor are a guest bedroom with an accessible bathroom and a den, where a Focus fireplace is a magnet for bookworms and family guitar jams. In the other direction, an office and home-school room look out to timeworn trees and a sweeping yard, which is being rejuvenated by local green-thumb visionaries Gecko Landscaping. The last stop on that hallway is the owner’s private sanctuary. An existing interior peekaboo window honors many of the home’s original features, while a bathroom received a dramatic new design.

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Gray leather lounge chairs, on hand-hammered, double tapered steel legs and a solid wood back and seat frame, complement the custom-built shelving wall created by Ron Clow of Ullr Designs.

On the lower level, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a family living room were transported from darkness. “The original staircase was one steep run that blocked any natural light and made the downstairs feel cave-like,” Gerber says. Hoffman widened the opening to incorporate a landing, and step lighting illuminates the soft oak treads. A two-story glass wall flanks the new stairway and encases the kitchen, combining artistic drama with functionality.

The overall transformation was not limited to the indoors. Decks on both levels underwent a metamorphosis, with built-in fireplaces, benches and bar tops of varying heights, making these exterior spaces the ultimate spot for multigenerational fun


ARCHITECTURE Gerber Berend Design Build  Jeff Gerber: Design Lead, David Hoffman: Project Architect, Adam Hartstein: Build Project Manager CUSTOM CABINETRY Ullr Designs Ltd Ron Clow SOFT FURNISHINGS Into The West Design Kim Ladehoff LANDSCAPE Gecko Landscape & Design Dave Ince

Categories: Mountain Homes