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Steamboat Magazine

Cowgirl Chic

03/17/2016 01:16PM ● By Dan Greeson

By Suzi Mitchell

Splitting their time between Florida and Colorado, Kim Carlson and Jeanne Graham’s home puts a modern spin on mountain living.

The story of why Kim Carlson and Jeanne Graham chose Gerber Berend to design and build their dream mountain home in Steamboat Springs started with a Prius. 

“Hans Berend and I were having a working lunch at Freshies. Later that day we got a call from a couple who’d seen our logo on Hans’ Prius parked outside,” says Jeff Gerber. 

Carlson and Graham had been interviewing local architects to design a home that reflected their individual styles. “When we saw the Prius, we knew it was a sign, as that’s what we drove, so we called them and immediately clicked,” says Graham. 

A little more than a year after the Minnesota couple was married, they moved into their Steamboat home. 

Graham, a retired judge and Carlson, who owned property management and construction companies, had already bought a condo in Florida for their retirement. An avid skier, Carlson wanted to add a place in the mountains and began exploring possible locations, five years ago. The couple was drawn to Steamboat Springs by the “real community feel.” They found a lot close to Mount Werner and put an outline on paper with Gerber, detailing what they wanted to achieve. 

“I am all about the view and a warm ambience,” Graham says. Carlson wanted a contemporary mountain vibe with rustic elements. Both agreed the house had to blend into the natural environment. The couple met with Gerber Berend’s skilled team to brainstorm ideas and agree on final drawings. 

Throughout the building process, the team repeatedly found solutions to conundrums that resulted in some of the home’s most notable features. A floating staircase has discreet panels of miners’ mesh in between steps to avoid a safety hazard. Wall openings are framed by hot rolled metal jams to create a contemporary feel. A recycled barn door was a last-minute addition to separate the glass-flanked entryway from the open-plan kitchen/dining area. 

Despite high ceilings in the upper floor living space and a profusion of panoramic windows, the home is energy-efficient. ATAS panels were placed over wooden ceiling trusses for optimum insulation, and in-floor heating was installed. An ERV air exchange ensures adequate ventilation. 

The home radiates mountain chic. Spectacular views to the west and south valley provide a backdrop to rooms decked in earthy tones and sumptuous accessories. The couple’s favorite spot in the house is the cowgirl bar, where an antique cash register takes pride of place below a postage stamp window overlooking the ski area. Carlson wanted a view of the mountain but the natural orientation of the structure faces Howelsen Hill. “I grew up in a cocktail hour culture,” Carlson says. No doubt her late father would approve of his daughter looking out to the mountain she now calls home, as she pours herself and Graham a drink.