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Steamboat Magazine

Steeped in History

06/27/2022 08:15AM ● By Casey Hopkins
Two notable buildings in downtown Steamboat Springs undergo major renovations, with their history at the heart. Yampa Valley Kitchen and Rumor Design + reDesign pave the way for change.

Yampa Valley Kitchen, a restaurant on the corner of Ninth and Oak streets in downtown Steamboat Springs, has one guest who refuses to leave. Never seen but often heard, this ghostly regular is a fixture in the century-old building, which underwent an extensive remodeling in recent years.

In 2016, Jeremy MacGray, owner of JSM Builders, purchased the old dwelling, which was originally built in 1918. A fastidious renovation earned the coveted Preservation Award in 2017 from Historic Routt County Preservation Leadership. “The intent was to dress it up, but the place was pretty rough inside, so we ended up doing a complete overhaul using the highest levels of craftsmanship,” Jeremy says.

Known locally as the Carver House, this was a half-timbered, craftsman-style home set back from the sidewalk by a stone-and-rubble perimeter wall. The bones of the property remain, but the plumbing, electric, heating, insulation and drywall all had to be replaced. “The windows are 100 years old, and we were meticulous about them, but our only need for a specialist was the mitigation of lead,” Jeremy says.

Jeremy and his builders restored the perimeter wall, resurrected the original hardwood floor to its former glory, and made an addition to accommodate space for the back-of-house rooms required for a restaurant. A 1970s garage was removed to make way for a garden and dining terrace. The building has since been the venue for Cloverdale, Low Country Kitchen and most recently, Yampa Valley Kitchen, which Jeremy co-owns with Hannah Hopkins.

Jeremy’s wife, Krysta, alongside Hannah, designed the interior and devised a French Country aesthetic. Rattan furniture set with blue-and-white linens fill intimate dining nooks on two floors. Krysta and Hannah layered the interior with botanical wallpaper and inside window boxes to accommodate swaths of foliage. Artwork celebrates Hannah’s passion for homegrown farm-to-table cuisine with depictions of the area’s rich agricultural heritage.

“I always wanted to have somewhere that would become a beloved neighborhood restaurant,” Hannah says. The Carver House proved to be the ideal spot. The once-rundown property has a new lease on life – one where diners can linger indoors and out, even after it closes.

Rumor's Own ReDesign

When Rumor Design + reDesign announced it had purchased the historic Hugus Building at 912 LincolnAvenue in downtown Steamboat Springs, residents breathed a sigh of relief. The property, which was built in the 1890s and housed the nation’s first general store chain, J.W. Hugus & Co., had been badly damaged in a fire in 2019.

“It had always been at the back of our mind that we wanted more space, and it was just a question of when we made that move and to where,” says Valerie Stafford, founding partner and lead designer. Rumor, which first launched in 2008, faced the arduous task of refitting the smoke-damaged space.

The building was taken back to the studs, uncovering an array of relics from old soda cans to a menu from the 1950s. Tyke Pierce, a contractor on the job, identified the stone used in the walls as the same taken from Emerald Mountain Quarry by his grandfather in the 1890s. “We decided to keep the exposed walls to give the space an industrial feel while honoring the historical architecture of the building,” Stafford says.

The 4,000-square-foot property was refitted with new lighting, ventilation and a loft to accommodate the growing team of designers. Louvre-shaped skylights maximize a flow of natural light, previously missing from the enclosed interior. Rumor commissioned Jeff Kortas, a Steamboat local, to add additional aged-style brick work.

At the center of the ground floor, a purpose-built cube houses a glass-fronted conference space and additional offices. A wrap-around walkway connects customers with soft furnishings, artwork and curated collections of decorative hard finishes for home building or remodeling projects. “Retail needs to feel like an interactive experience,” says Lindsey Jamison, partner and lead designer at Rumor. “We want to offer beautiful home furnishings and accessories at all price points. You might be invited in by the coffee shop aromas but end up leaving with a new sofa.”

A café at the entrance of the studio emanates a distinctly European feel, mirrored by the choice of black and white awnings and the sleek ebony and brass façade of the shop front. Valerie, who earned a master’s in interior design in Florence, Italy, wanted to bring a relaxed but luxurious feel to the shop in Steamboat.

With its stone walls and vibrant interior, the space emits a transatlantic sophistication while maintaining the foundation of its Yampa Valley roots.