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Steamboat Magazine

Forward Thinking

06/16/2022 01:10PM ● By Suzi Mitchell
Photograph by Chris McGawⒸ

Photograph by Chris McGawⒸ

When Kasey and Geoffrey Uhl took a family trip to Steamboat Springs 11 years ago, little did they know that they would be back to the area to put down roots. Memories of their time at a large rental property in South Routt County sparked the search for a vacation home in 2019.
The couple and their two boys, ages 11 and 14, settled on a 35-acre wooded lot on the outskirts of Oak Creek. The Uhls live on the Front Range, but plan to move to Routt County permanently once the boys graduate from high school. Their vision for the site included a main house with a smaller unit to accommodate family and friends.
“The quickly escalating building costs made us rethink the order of things,” Geoffrey says. The couple came up with the idea of constructing the caretaker house first. With the help of their architect and friend, Jeff Cottrell, founder of StudioJAC, LLC in Littleton, they were able to create a master plan for the entire site. “This allowed them to maximize views, develop a plan for the infrastructure and ensure an overall connection to the environment for both buildings,” Cottrell says.
Geoffrey and Kasey enlisted Timberline Contracting to build out the property, which has become the ideal weekend getaway. “What we ended up with is a modern-day cabin in the woods,” Geoffrey says. The 800-square-foot house includes two bedrooms, one bathroom, mudroom, living room, kitchen and dining space. Kasey, who has an interest in design, gravitated toward a streamlined, modern look with a Scandinavian influence.
Whitewash walls, large windows and wide door openings blend effortlessly with the seamless metal siding and tongue-and-groove cedar aspects. “We are seeing more and more clients opting to build a caretaker unit first,” says Brett Shaw, owner ofTimberline Contracting. “Among other benefits, building the smaller unit first gives the property owner a chance to try out some of the features such as siding and roofing choices, so they can adjust and make changes to the design of the main house.”
One area that has gotten the family’s unanimous vote of approval is the deck. Made from fallen lodgepole pine the family salvaged from the property, the elevated platform is accessed along a bridge and gives the sense of being suspended in a treehouse. “It’s our favorite spot for morning coffee or afternoon happy hours,” Geoffrey says. That’s after putting on skis or hiking boots and making memories in their own slice of heaven, right outside their front door.