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Steamboat Magazine

A Roof with a View

03/23/2017 04:25PM ● By Dan Greeson

Clean lines in this deck addition add a modern flair to the traditional log cabin home. Photo by David Patterson.

By Dan Greeson

Ed Eppler knew the moment he Googled “green roof” that the addition to his Strawberry Park home was meant to be. Against the odds, one of the first search results was a home located a few miles away, near Fish Creek Canyon. Eppler, who had been on the fence about adding a green roof, knew a sign when he saw one. He contacted Gerber Berend Design Build to give his traditional log cabin a modern twist and add outdoor living space. 

Ed and wife, Alicia, residents of New Canaan, Connecticut, picked the house for its location. The home has unsurpassed views of Strawberry Park, Mount Werner and the South Valley, plus the wildlife that wanders through their meadow. 

The Epplers approached Gerber Berend with the idea of a green-roofed garage, a mudroom and an addition to the deck outside the kitchen. 

“We liked the rustic cabin, but wanted to add some modern touches,” Eppler says. 

A green roof utilizes the space atop a building by covering it with a waterproof membrane, then covering the space with vegetation. Eppler knew he wanted a green roof, he says, because he “didn’t want a big hulking structure that just looked like a garage.”

The Epplers’ garage is built into the mountainside, and the green roof feels like a continuation of the slope behind the house. The family plans to utilize the green roof as a gathering and relaxation spot in the summer. “It’ll be a space where you can just look up at the stars,” Eppler says. 

On the face of the garage, Gerber Berend continued to blend rustic and modern styles using thick wooden beams and rusted metal doors. Applying acid to the metal achieved the rustic look. 

A mudroom connects the garage with the main house. The room’s outward-facing wall is made of glass, allowing clear views of the valley and warming rays from the sun year-round. On the opposite wall, Gerber Berend pressed wooden boards into drying concrete, adding texture to the wall through the knots and intricacies of the timber. Backlit, contemporary cabinetry along the wall accommodates the family’s ski gear. 

On the west side of the house, a new deck accommodates wildlife-viewing and summer evening gatherings. The structure’s overhanging roof is short to avoid blocking views of wildlife from the windows above it. Thick wooden beams blend the addition with the house’s mountain charm, while the cable railings around the deck and steel truss collar ties add a fresh, contemporary twist. 

Below the deck lies something not often seen in a Steamboat home: an outdoor shower. Eppler’s inspiration came from the beach houses belonging to family friends on the East Coast. 

“It’s nice to come home from a bike ride and be able to shower outside,” Eppler says. 

Living in an area thriving with wildlife affords the Epplers with sought-after sights – but it has also led to a frightening moment or two. 

When the Epplers’ daughter came home one night to discover that a bear had ransacked the kitchen, neighbors came to a noisy rescue, scaring the animal off with pots and pans. 

The Epplers are quick to say there are more perks to living in Steamboat than just the views. “We love Steamboat because of the people – we have amazing neighbors who are wonderful people and make Steamboat feel like our home away from home,” Alicia Eppler says.

With the prime valley-viewing spot that the Epplers have on their new green roof, they have plenty of reason to share it with neighbors for years to come.