Steamboat Springs home buyers, builders turning to more modern mountain design |

Steamboat Springs home buyers, builders turning to more modern mountain design

Teresa Ristow

This contemporary home, recently completed by Soda Mountain Construction, features a one-twelfth pitched shed roof to simplify the design, and exterior finishes include clear, vertical-grain siding, board-formed concrete and hot-rolled steel.

— It's no coincidence that many Steamboat Springs home builders are turning to more modern and contemporary designs as they begin new projects — it's where the demand is.

More homes are popping up with low pitched roofs, open floor plans with lots of windows and reclaimed wood and more "green" materials anchoring the interior design.

The more modern take on mountain architecture has risen in popularity as Steamboat has recovered from the recession and begun a new building boom, said Colorado Group Realty broker Marci Valicenti, who has watched closely as homes with more contemporary design are quickly snapped off the market once available.

"Often, it’s a fresh look, but it's still got the rustic component of what people want," Valicenti said. "I know it's popular, because I see what's happening with the ones under contract. This is not a brand new architectural style, but we have lagged behind in construction, and now that contractors are busy, a lot of what they're building has this implemented into their designs."

Valicenti pointed to a Sanctuary subdivision home that’s been on the market twice — once in 2008 and again in 2015 — with the home going under contract within four months each time.

Among the home's features are exposed finished beams and floor-to-ceiling windows in the great room, maximizing views of Mount Werner.

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Soda Mountain Construction owner Chris Rhodes isn't quick to label many of the homes his company builds as "mountain modern" or "mountain contemporary," but favors a simpler description.

"It's new design," Rhodes said. "It's cleaner lines, it's harder to build and it appeals to a broad range of clients, whether they're young or old. Everyone I meet as clientele, nobody wants traditional architecture. Most people want new."

Rhodes said prospective buyers are no longer fond of log homes that have proven hard to remodel and hard to resell, but instead favor homes with structural steel and exposed timbers.

"They like seeing tree-sized timber in the house, but they like it nice and smooth and to have square corners and be finished," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said buyers today will pay more for a home with more modern design elements versus a home with traditional architecture.

"People will pay a premium for sexy, new school architecture," Rhodes said.

Builder Hans Berend, of Gerber Berend Design Build, agreed that new construction is becoming more contemporary in Steamboat, with common design elements including more glass, steel and sheet metals.

"We never used to see the metals on the homes built in the early ’90s or 2000s," Berend said. "Now, there's a lot of interesting new shapes and materials and ideas, and I think people are finally open to it."

But, Berend said, many people are still hesitant to go too contemporary in their design.

"We frequently get people that say they like contemporary, but we find they like the idea of it, but it's not really for them," Berend said.

He said the company is finishing a new home on Ninth Street that uses many interesting new design elements the client proposed.

"We really enjoy new, interesting, fresh ideas, so we like when clients are interested in experimenting with new forms and materials," he said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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