by Kelly Silva
Old sleighs, steamer trunks and Rattan chairs – outdoor living is easy Rope swings, old gondola cars, Grandma’s Shaker rocking chair: Steamboat Springs has such diversity in its residential architecture that when it comes to choosing a style of patio furniture, there are felimitations. Old sleighs and steamer trunks make excellent outdoor tables for Steamboat Springs homes, suggests Marty Lepper of Fiddle Fern. “Put trunks around a fire pit to store your blankets or marshmalloequipment,” Marty suggests. Save the plastic for rafting and start collecting cast aluminum, all-weather wicker or wood patio furniture, says interior designer Irene Nelson. The rustic and natural furniture better complements Steamboat’s aesthetics. “In Steamboat, patio furniture depends on the architecture of a house or should blend with the floof the garden landscaping,” Irene says. Fancy iron or vintage outdoor wicker complement a Victorian house; ancient teak or redwood enhance rugged log and stone homes; rugged cast aluminum embellishes gardens or decks, Irene suggests. “People like to do a mix-and-match. Every chair may not be the same color. And I wouldn’t be afraid to put fabric out,” Marty says. “I really like Adirondack chairs, the chairs with the big wood-slatted backs and angled seats.” The Yampa Valley’s natural landscape allows for an array of patio furniture options, due to its beauty and diversity.Views, a home's most valuable asset No matter where you hike, fish, or mountain bike in Steamboat, it seems there’s another mesmerizing viejust around the corner. Those views are the most valued attribute a Routt County home can offer. The scenic drives up Routt County Road 129 toward Steamboat Lake or descending from Rabbit Ears Pass into Steamboat are breathtaking, by any definition. In fact, Bryan and Suzanne King thought the viecoming into Steamboat was so spectacular they decided to build a home just up the pass. Nestled into the hillside, the house has 280-degree views. “We built the house (where we did) because it was impolite in Steamboat to be on a ridgeline,” Bryan says. “But we have views as though we were on a ridge.” Views at the King house include the Flattops Wilderness Area, the vast valley floor, sunsets to the west, all of downtown Steamboat and Mount Werner. Behind the house lie acres of aspen groves and towering pines. “We moved from Florida to one of the square states in the center of the U.S. because we wanted a view,” Bryan says. Jim and Vicki Holmes, part-time residents in Steamboat and Florida, decided on the best of both worlds. Vicki says they decided to buy the lot where they built a house six years ago because of the views. “The viehas a significant amount of value on a lot or home,” Jim says. At about 7,700 feet above sea level, the Holmes can see the Flattops and Mount Werner. On a clear day, they can see about 30 miles of his 180-degree views from the deck and large picture windows. “You can see all the way up to Mount Zirkel – and that’s pretty far.” Post-and-beam homes enhance mountain living Post-and-beam construction is not a nestructural phenomenon in the United States, but it is gaining popularity in the Rocky Mountain West. Local builders say they are constructing an increasing number of post-and-beam homes with a mountain flavor. “I would say the Rocky Mountain West is unique to log post-and-beam. It gives the feel of a log home without being all log,” says Mark Arnold of NeWest Builders in Steamboat Springs. Builders have recently reintroduced this early 1900s style of construction in western mountain towns as a nearchitectural movement of the century, says contractor Tom Fox. “Architectural styles change with the times. People are moving toward something that is out of the ordinary,” he says. Bruce and Judy Harms of Madison, Wisconsin, were searching for that ideal Steamboat residence when they saa post-and-beam home under construction. “We weren’t particularly looking for a log home, but we were looking for a home that looked like Steamboat – something unique to the mountains,” Judy says. Log or timber post-and-beam homes embody a rustic elegance that is highly energy efficient and architecturally appealing to many homeowners, says Mike Roberts of Habitat Construction. For example, a log post-and-beam home may look like a traditional log home from the exterior but inside, large posts and beams stand as the primary structure for the entire house. “People have that romantic vision of a log cabin in the woods,” Mike says. “This way you sort of get the best of both worlds – heavy timbers with a rustic elegance.” Post-and-beam construction is designed for the 21st century mountain homeowner who still wants the cabin-in-the-woods ambiance.