The Lorenz home: A showcase of industrial mountain contemporary |

The Lorenz home: A showcase of industrial mountain contemporary

Call it "steampunk."

That sums up the interior of Jim and Lisa Lorenz's new 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath house in upper Fairview, which blends an array of modern finishes with a more rustic, industrial-style feel.

"We love the idea of a contemporary design, but we wanted it to still feel like Steamboat," says Jim, a longtime builder who recently focused his skills on his own home. "So we incorporated rustic mountain finishes like reclaimed hardwood floors and industrial styling."

This teaming up of design elements echoes the couple's synergies. "We have a lot of fun as a design-and-build team," Lisa says. "Many couples dread building or remodel projects and worry it will wreck their relationship, but we've always loved it. Our skill sets and creativity complement each other."

The modern-rustic-industrial look can be seen in everything from the living room's exposed steel beams to sliding, flat-panel wood doors hung on rollers with stainless-steel hardware.

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"We like their look over standard hinged doors," Jim says. "They're cleaner, work with the design-scheme, and take up a smaller footprint."

The theme shows itself as soon as you walk through the oversized, steel-banded Douglas fir front door into a split-level entryway, which leads downstairs to two bedrooms, laundry room, great room and garage, and up to the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Your eyes are immediately drawn to reclaimed oak floors sourced from Midwest barns, a gas-pipe shelving system for Steamboat's mandatory outdoor gear, and a steel cable railing-lined stairway. Industrial-style Edison bulb lighting complements the industrial-contemporary feel.

The motif carries to the European Bosch Benchmark appliances in the kitchen, from a convection oven and warming drawer to steam oven (yes, it cooks with steam). These augment a drawer-style microwave and induction cooktop mounted flush with the white, recycled quartz countertop on the main island.

"It has such a sleek, easy-to-clean look," Jim says, adding that for its conductivity to work your cookware has to be magnetic steel or cast iron. Induction cooking is more efficient, faster and precise than gas or electric cooktops.

A brushed, stainless-steel apron sink sits below windows offering a 180-degree view including Storm Peak to the east, augmented by an articulated faucet by Brizo — the only model like it on the market.

Offset light cloud platforms, suspended by gas piping and housing lights recessed into reclaimed barn wood, break up the kitchen from the living room.

"It lights up the cooking area and helps define the cooking space," Lisa says. "It also helps with sound dampening, with the gas pipe adding another cool industrial detail."

European, flush-set pantry cabinets slide out of the wall next to a flush-panel SubZero refrigerator, behind which lies a walk-in aisle pantry of two facing sets of six-foot-square, sliding glass door shelving systems and 10-foot-high, vertical-grain cherry cabinets, the highest of which are reached via a brushed-aluminum library ladder.

"It's a cool-looking, efficient use of the space, with a tall European cabinet wall appeal," Lisa says.

A subtle detail also plays into their aesthetics. "We used dark brown, cherry vertical grain on the wall cabinets to oppose the grey, horizontal grain of the kitchen island cabinets," Jim says.

Beyond the kitchen space is the living room, where the twisted wood of a teak, jet-propeller-shaped, Minka-aire Artemis fan directs your eyes skyward toward massive exposed steel beams. A modern-looking, low-voltage LBL Bling chandelier hangs over the oak dining room table, and the far wall is commanded by a giant, flatscreen TV adjacent to a Napoleon gas linear fireplace positioned four feet up the wall for visibility.

The slate-floored bathrooms expand upon the open feel, all featuring vessel sinks and walk-in glass showers with no-channel drains and linear-veined marble tile. The master bath adds a white, free-standing, resin tub with a standing tub-filler, as well as a spa-style vanity with tall, floating vertical cabinets.

A new age, recessed-in-wood Cumulus fan by Fanimation continues the atmosphere in the master bedroom, as does six-inch-high, cold-rolled steel baseboard trim. "Not too many people have ever used it as trim," Jim says. "It's a nice complement."

Manifold controls for the floor's heating system, allowing you to program temperatures to different zones, hide behind a row of clothes in the master closet.

The home's efficient space use is also illustrated in the lower stairway, which raises to access the utility room via two vintage, cast-iron, counter-weighted pulley systems. Simply lift the bottom step and the entire split-level stairway rises on a hinge, exposing stairs to the room below.

"It's a hidden access to the mechanical room," Lisa says of a space that's also big enough to accommodate Jim's office. "Otherwise we would have had to put in an entire additional set of stairs."

With its 250-pound counterweight set on tracks to keep it from swinging, the pulleys are exposed through the interior walls of the stairs and into the guest bathroom, lending it an industrial feel.

The mechanical room harbors a high-efficiency, low-cycle, 75,000-BTU German Viessmann boiler, as well as a Fantech heat recovery and air-exchange system that brings in and heats outside air before mixing it with inside air. "The goal is to create as efficient and air-tight a house as possible," Jim says. "An air-exchange system keeps it fresh."

An in-slab, radiant floor downstairs enhances the home's efficiency, thanks to 2-inch foam insulation topping a vapor barrier and radon piping system to direct heat upward. Add foiled-back insulation wrapping the exterior walls, taped joists and interior insulation, and Jim says his coldest winter heating bills average just $45 per month, including hot water.

"It all works together to stop thermal transmission," he says, adding the air inside retains a comfortable humidity in the high 30-percent range.

Outside, four types of siding round out the look, including horizontal, thin-line Douglas fir, black corrugated metal, shiplap grey barn wood, and, on the south, rectangular pieces of hot-rolled steel over a rain screen, allowing air flow to dissipate heat and eliminate expansion. "It breathes in the summer and absorbs in the winter," Jim says. "It also adds to the mix of look and material."

The landscaping, once completed, will take advantage of a seasonal creek draining Emerald Mountain, as well as an old foundation-lined spring rumored to serve as a cooling room for the old dairy farm once stationed nearby.

About the only thing that didn't go right with the house, and came as an afterthought, is the mix of two-foot-square carpet tile downstairs.

"We stained the concrete floor a beautiful light brown/gray, but the second coat turned it nearly black," Lisa says. "It showed every footprint and speck of dust, and I found myself mopping it every day. So, we found a source that had leftover, random carpet tiles for 90 cents each."

Like everything else in the home that has come together so well, even that turned into a positive. "It actually looks interesting and has much better sound dampening," Jim says. Adds Lisa: "And it's great for pet clean-up. If our two dogs, Frodo and Luna, have an accident, I just pull up the square, wash it in the sink, and put it back down."

Who helped

General Contractor: LorCon Construction, LLC

Architect: Joe Robbins/Rob Hawkins, Joe Patrick Robbins & Associates

Cabinets: Al Rosenthal, Alpine Kitchen Designs

Lighting: The Light Center

Steel Detailing: All Forms Fabrication

Beamwork: Bruce Heath LTD

Tile: Dave Heist Tile

Framing: Cal Martindale Framers

Heating: Jeffrey Campbell, Simply Radiant

Plumbing: Bill Eck

Doors and windows: Northwest Supplies

Electrical: Chris Campanelli, C&C Electric

Exterior Finishes: Brian Beck, Beck Construction