A Bridge to Happiness05/15/2023 09:38AM ● By Suzi Mitchell
From Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2023
Steamboat Springs Middle School Spanish teacher, Julie Warnke, loves summer for more than the long sunny days. The mother of three treasures her eight-week break from work and likes nothing more than spending time in her house on Spruce Street.
“Summer is when I get to be a stay-at-home mom for my own kids, instead of spending my days with 160 middle schoolers,” she says. Julie and her husband, Carl, bought their home in 2002 and got straight to work on their first renovation. “We basically tore the house in half within the first week of buying it,” says Carl, an engineer with Engineering Designworks. “The garage came down like matchsticks and for a moment, it was like watching your investment get split in two.”
“When we had Whitney, our first child, we would creep around trying not to make the floorboards creak so we didn’t wake her up,” Julie says laughing. “We got to know which ones were the creakiest.” The couple was committed to preserving the history of their home but did replace the original oak floor. “The floor was made from scrap pieces of wood and patched together, so it was all funky,” Carl says.
Doors off the kitchen open onto a deck and side-yard, which is a magnet for friends and cousins in the summer and also doubles as extra living space. “We love being able to sit out there, have meals, drink coffee and listen to the creek,” Julie says. “It’s great for the kids, and we have Butcherknife on the doorstep as an added playground.”
A wooden bridge connects the front entryway to the street. “It’s the third rendition of the bridge and another thing the kids love about our home,” Julie says. “Living on a creek feels very peaceful and healing, and it’s unusual to have one going by your front door.” The property further benefits from its location at the end of the street, with very little traffic.
Before the final remodel in 2021-22, the Warnkes contemplated moving for more space, but in the end, they realized something was keeping them there. “The house not only holds history of the area, it has a special meaning for our family,” Julie says. “All of our children have lived in this house, so our hearts and our spirits will always be here.”