The Jenkins Home: Merging the past with the present
Some Steamboat’s most prominent past residents — including town founder James Crawford, F.M. Light and Charlotte Perry, co-director of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp — are likely sleeping well knowing their former home is in good hands.
One step through the antique oak and frosted glass gate doors leading to the courtyard of the Jenkins home at 701 Princeton Ave. and you feel like you’ve stepped into a new world.
The natural enclave — whose previous owners make up a big part of Steamboat’s history — is a haven, in the middle of downtown no less, of restored historic structures surrounded by playful gardens, intimate patios and views of Soda Creek in the foreground and Mt. Werner beyond.
To the left: a restored garage, with reclaimed timbers and posts harboring a caretaker’s unit and guestroom overlooking a horse meadow. To the right: a restored cabin, now another rustic guest room. In front, bookending a garden that would make Gatsby proud: the restored main house, a blend of rustic-meets new with wrap-around deck and tented outdoor bar.
When Gerber Berend Design Build was tasked to renovated the property for Carolyn and Rick Jenkins, who purchased it from Jane and Kevin Bennett, they had a lot to work with — including the expertise of Carolyn, a home renovator from Houston. The south-facing property overlooks a majestic meadow surrounded by Soda Creek, and they inherited iconic antiques that came with the house.
“I loved everything about it,” says Carolyn. “Most of what they left was really fun stuff, from chests and distressed doors to an antique map bureau and bureau from Bogg’s Hardware.”
While the Bennetts had already added functionality and flavor to the home, including cottage-like, white wood siding inside, missing were main living spaces and a master suite in line with the scale of the property.
“From the onset, we had a very clear collaborative vision with our clients for the addition of these critical spaces,” says Gerber Berend principal Jeff Gerber. “Respecting the property’s historic nature and existing structure, we wanted to keep the old and flow it into the new. And the addition blends in with the fabric of the entry courtyard.”
Adds Carolyn: “They allowed me to work closely with them on every detail. We wanted to keep the charm and whimsicalness of what was here — we didn’t want it to look like a new house on the mountain.”
In all, they added a 1,298-square-foot lower level to the home, with office and master bedroom/bath; and another 1,000 square feet to the main floor, bringing the home to its current total of 4,458 square feet. Add 1,821 square feet of uncovered patio and 580 of covered, and the result is spacious-yet-cozy, old-yet-new.
Using reclaimed materials throughout, from timbers and timber skins to floors, barnwood siding and more, the blend is elegant and seamless, giving it a contemporary feel with crisp lines.
On the outside, subtly carved log and traditional shed and gable details augment chinked log and sage-stained clapboard siding. On the deck overlooking Soda Creek, rusted steel siding blends with reclaimed log walls, while massive sliding glass doors pull the outside in.
The theme is carried inside as well, from white, wood-planked entry walls expanding the cottage feel to iron pulleys in the laundry room, railroad spike coat hangers, metal railings, and aspen tree paintings commissioned by local artist Lance Whitner. All this complements reclaimed barnwood and timbers, hand-hewn log slabs, and such touches as a casement window re-purposed in the wall leading downstairs.
In the log-walled living room, two black steel beams straddle a hand-blown glass and steel chandelier over the dining room table, marrying contemporary with quaint. The kitchen carries custom-detailed steel kitchen shelving and range hood, antique painted cabinets and reclaimed rafter beams/ceiling boards. Downstairs, the interplay of rustic and regal continues with finely crafted warm wood and subtle steel details. Interior designer Kim Romick of Into the West helped match it all with furnishings and rugs.
In all, it’s a home the owners and builders are rightly proud of — a project keeping Steamboat’s unique heritage alive while embracing the future, all in the heart of downtown. “It was great to work with such passionate clients to bring this historic cabin forward into the present on a very unique property in Old Town,” says Gerber.
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