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Slamming screen doors music to the ears

Residents go all out in remodel of Brooklyn home

The front of the Bear residence on River Road displays a love of the Craftsman style of architecture and design.
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Rick Bear lets his front screen door slam with a satisfying “bang!” and gives a visitor a sly grin.

“This is what I’ve always wanted,” he said, striding onto a covered front porch at his home on River Road in Steamboat Springs.

The sound of the screen door isn’t grating to Bear’s ears. It reminds him of summer childhoods in Fort Wayne, Ind. His grandparents, Les and Myrtle Haynes, had a screen door that slammed as he came out of the front door in search of playmates during sweltering Midwestern summers.



“I built it to slam,” Bear said proudly about his new screen door. “I actually had to put it up twice before I got it right.”

The home has much more to offer, but Bear is in love with that screen door.



The house that Bear remodeled with his wife, Suz, is in the Brooklyn neighborhood. They spent the past two years stripping an older home down to the farming lumber before transforming it into Rick’s dream home. They knew all along that the plan was to sell it to purchase a catamaran and escape to the Caribbean.

Rick found the screen door at a market in Denver that specializes in architectural salvage. He completed it with a crackle finish to enhance its historical look.

Most of the woodwork in the Bears’ home is far more refined than the screen door. The home includes cherry floors in the living room and Craftsman style quarter-sawn oak cabinets with ebony pegs in the kitchen.

Rick is a master furniture maker, and his attention to detail in the remodel was nothing short of obsessive.

The 2,200-square-foot home is listed at $769,000 by Michelle Avery of Coldwell Banker Silver Oak.

The Bears purchased the former home of Pat and Caroline Robson in Brooklyn.

“We lived next door, and we looked at the house often, and it never clicked,” Rick said. “It finally dawned on us – there’s six lots over there!”

The purchase included six small building lots in the Woolery Subdivision. In the early 1900s, lots 25 feet wide were platted in Brooklyn. Today, city codes require a minimum lot width of 50 feet.

The only problem was the home, which originally sat in an area with rural character and straddled a lot line, effectively ruling out the development of a third modern lot.

The Bears’ remodel began by moving the home 30 feet to the south to get it off the lot line.

The remodeled home has new electrical wiring and plumbing, a new roof and new exterior, including stucco and warm wood trim.

Rick said he and his wife enjoy the easy access to Howelsen Hill. They don’t even have to drive to the ski lodge to go skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.

“We can go out the door and climb the hill and be snowshoeing in 10 minutes,” Bear said.

The remodel provided amenities one doesn’t typically find in a neighborhood of older homes. Each of the two downstairs guest bedrooms has its own private bath. The master suite occupies the entire second story of the home.

There also is an oversized, detached two-car garage at the rear of the lot. The flat roof has been covered in Trex decking that accommodates an eight-person hot tub on a large surface that is ideal for hosting parties. It offers surprising views of Thunderhead summit on the ski area.

The Bears spared no expense with high-end kitchen appliances. There is a Viking cooktop, double Thermador convection wall ovens, a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher. Two kitchen sinks and granite countertops offer ample space for dueling chefs.

Rick moved to Steamboat in 1971, left in the 1980s when the national economy went flat and returned in 1993.

“I’ve been pursing cabinet making and furniture building ever since,” Rick said.

He studied with two masters – Bill Martin of William Martin Custom Kitchen Design and Hayden cabinetmaker Randy Sahli. Martin consulted with Rick on the design of the new kitchen, and his expertise shows in the clever way the corners of the kitchen are used to maximize space.

When the Bears decided to undertake the remodel, Rick resolved to go all out.

“I wanted it to resemble an older home that would make people very comfortable,” Rick said. “I pulled out all the stops. It’s totally Craftsman style. We had fun doing it – it was a labor of love.”

Suz owns Maids of Steamboat and has borrowed details from many of the finest homes in the Yampa Valley to incorporate into their home. For example, a handy faucet above the range is a pot filler – allowing cooks to fill a large pasta pot with water without the need to lug it from the sink to the cooktop.


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