A Colorful Life
● By Alesha Damerville
Interior designer Susan Windsor Jones has always hankered to live above, or by, a bookstore. The Kansas City-based bookworm finally made her dream reality when she and husband, Tom, built a second home in downtown Steamboat Springs, a stone’s throw from Off the Beaten Path bookstore.
“He came for the skiing and outdoor pursuits and I came for the bookstore, but the bottom line is, we came for the wonderful community,” Susan says.
An elongated lot on Ninth Street, sandwiched between Soda Creek and a row of Victorian-style housing, became the footprint for a 3,505 square-foot home, designed and built by Gerber Berend. The eye-catching structure blends the Old Town vernacular impeccably with a stylish modern outline.
“Contemporary forms, materials and openings have become a welcomed part of the Old Town fabric, which in this home also reflects the true nature of the Jones’s living patterns,” says Jeff Gerber, the design lead at Gerber Berend.
An over-sized bright orange front door makes a statement entryway to a home where playful pops of color liven the black and white canvas of the walls, ceilings and stained cabinetry. Natural and mood lighting bounces off the whitewash Venetian plaster walls to generate a constant glow. “In Colorado there is always so much beautiful light, which Gerber Berend has enabled us to capture throughout the house,” Susan says.
The hub of the home is the ground-level kitchen/dining room where Susan, Tom, homeschooled son, Henry, and New York City-based daughter, Ellie, spend most of their time. A custom dining table fitted with electrical outlets fills the center of the convivial space, and is flanked by a canary yellow stove on one wall, a bold striped banquette and an atypical board-formed concrete fireplace filled with a hammered steel sculpture by Von Wilson, on the others. “I like beat-up old rugs with a lot of wear,” Susan says. “I use them as a neutral, then ignore them as I decorate the rest of the room. Somehow it always seems to work.”
A two-story wall of glass and clusters of translucent sphere lighting illuminate the airy hallway and perforated metal and industrial steel staircase, which leads to a mezzanine second level. Views of Howelsen Hill dominate an informal sitting room with pool table and abundant seating for a resident bookworm. Glass doors lead onto a covered deck, which is partitioned from the street view by Shou Sugi Ban cedar slats stacked to match the siding courses.
The five bedrooms, housed over three floors, ooze tranquility with minimalist furnishings and sheer mechanical shades, which disappear from view into discreet channels in the ceiling. Whimsical hardware and colorful cabinetry compliment intricate black and white tile work in each of the five bathrooms.
Strategic window placements maximize the view and sounds of Soda Creek, which affords a sense of connection to the natural elements of the home’s setting. “After two hours on the site with Tom and Susan, I knew right away this was going to be a special house,” Gerber says.
Architect – Gerber Berend
Construction – Gerber Berend
Interior Design – David Hoffman, Gerber Berend and Susan Windsor Jones