Ski Into Artistic Mecca - W03/04
Ski Into Artistic Mecca - W03/04Being an investment banker for a major firm or the president of a NeJersey school board doesn’t keep Bob and Mary Litterman away from Steamboat Springs. In fact, it’s why they bought land and built a stunning 11,000-square-foot home in the Yampa Valley. As a couple with two doctorates in economics and two adult children off at Princeton, they have very little time to spend away from their home in Short Hills, N.J. However, the beauty of the valley lures them West every chance they get. Soon after their mountain home was completed in 1998, Bob and Mary jumped into local artistic endeavors by hosting a Strings in the Mountains chamber music event. Mary says they love throwing parties for the community and friends. The Littermans frequently attend musical events in Steamboat when they are here. Along with the local music scene, Mary also appreciates the work of Steamboat artists, whose work hangs throughout the Litterman home. For instance, a contemporary tapestry by Eileen Braziel hangs in the stairwell; Susan Schiesser painted a landscape on a folding screen for a shelf unit. This residence is a western, artistic haven. To accomplish this, the Littermans hired Nancy Jeffrey, whom they met 10 years ago, just as Nancy was starting up a small tile business on the East Coast. In the intervening years, Nancy and Mary have grown close, and Nancy has been the project manager for numerous Litterman homes. “I really love watching Nancy evolve. She uses her talents in so many ways,” Mary says. Nancy nocalls Steamboat home. Her innovative design work for the Littermans boosted her resume as an eclectic artist. “I was involved from the building part up. The house is very sculptural. A lot of artists were involved,” Nancy says. “This house was the most detailed tile schedule I’ve ever done.” Each bathroom features colorful tiles that form a beautiful picture or archway, or create linear symmetry in the room. Nancy walks into her favorite bathroom, where there are no shower doors, just a large space covered with ceramic tiles. “This was Carrie Grant’s bathtub. It’s from his Park Avenue apartment,” she says, pointing to an old, crackled porcelain tub that complements the antique motif of the room. “I had never done a bathroom before and suddenly I had 10 bathrooms to do. This was totally baptism by fire.” Walk into this six-bedroom, 9 1/2-bath home with 24-foot ceilings, and you immediately notice the attention to detail. It features an indoor swimming pool with a mural on the bottom, mural ceilings in the master suite and an observation deck. Every room in the house offers views of the wooded setting. “When you walk in the door, you look at the tops of the trees,” says the home’s designer, architect Bill Rangitsch of Steamboat Architectural Associates. “You feel like you’re a part of the land.” Because the house is on an incline, views from the downstairs rooms look out through the trees to the ski runs. “We tried to use as much of the natural landscape as possible,” Nancy says. Mary’s favorite room is the master bedroom, where she can sink into oversized bed pillows and watch out her windows as skiers descend the slopes. She says her only complaint about the home is that she nowishes she had more bedrooms to accommodate the large groups of skiers who come to visit. “Bob loves it out there. He’s a big skier. He brings a huge group (out every year), about 50 people who work with him,” Mary says. “Bob tries to get as much use of the house as possible.” A home existed on the property before the Littermans bought it and the 0.72-acre lot in 1997. Bill says he attempted to renovate or create additions to the existing house, but it was simply too old and outdated. Instead, he, Nancy and the Littermans have turned what was once a seemingly ordinary Steamboat property into an art mecca and an exceedingly comfortable living space. d Kelly Silva graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. After moving to Steamboat Springs in 2001, Kelly has found interests in writing, hiking, camping and skiing – without losing her desire to travel the world.