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Steamboat Magazine

A River Runs Deep

06/16/2022 03:24PM ● By Suzi Mitchell

Photograph by David PattersonⒸ

For Erin and Tarn Dickerson, the Yampa River is more than just a waterway flowing through town. The Steamboat Springs couple met in college on a river trip. They vacation on float trips, and now they can hear the Yampa from their bedroom window in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
“I used to drive by the lot and dream that one day, we could be fortunate enough to live there,” says Erin of the elongated site that lay vacant until they bought it in 2012. At the time, they lived in a small house on Logan Street with their first daughter, Josie, but knew they wanted room to grow.
It took a while to decipher the design, as the piece of land was long and narrow.The couple worked with local architect Adam Wright, who created 3D models of different forms and roof lines, until the trio settled on an economically and aesthetically pleasing footprint.
Erin, a landscape architect and, Tarn, owner-operator of Sustainable Building Solutions, got to work on building their three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom property. “Erin was the visionary, and I was the grumpy builder,” Tarn says, laughing. It was literally a labor of love for the couple, who welcomed a second daughter,Hadley, just before they broke ground on the new home.
The space earmarked for a master bath started as a nursery, before being remodeled into a spa-like sanctuary. The couple added a second structure in 2018 to accommodate a garage and a 600-square-foot apartment with an office. Erin’s ever-populating gardens provide a seamless connection between the two spaces, separated by a pathway into the backyard.
Tarn grew up on a farm, and had sworn his days of tending gardens and livestock were done. A hand-built chicken coop tells a different story – their six feathered friends reward the couple with a daily supply of fresh eggs. To the side, raised vegetable beds bring further bounty to the table and a newly installed greenhouse is set to boost the yearly harvest. “It’s valuable for kids to see how food works, and our girls are very fortunate,” Tarn says.
Family connections run deep throughout the project. Tarn’s father was a furniture maker and made the chairs in the dining area. The dining table was a joint effort by father and son. Most of the artwork came from family or friends, including a handful of cherished Native American pieces from Erin’s grandparents and Tarn’s mom. Tarn’s stepmom created a stained-glass work depicting the river.
It’s a daily reminder of what brought the couple together. “I could never have believed we’d be this lucky,” Erin says. “When I sit on the deck with a coffee or a glass of wine in hand, I pinch myself that this is the lot I used to drive by and dream about.” The Dickersons’ next plan includes a patio at the bottom of the garden. For the them,everything revolves around the river.