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Steamboat Magazine

An Eye on the World

06/06/2023 07:00AM ● By Suzi Mitchell
(Eric Washburn and Robin Schepper relish the peace of their home, which was designed as a former summer property by local architect Bill Rangitsch. Photo by David Patterson.) 

From Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2023

Robin Schepper is not usually thankful that her husband, Eric Washburn, is loud when he talks on the phone, but for once, it led to great things. The power couple, who work in the political arena, spend swaths of time on calls, and working in an open-plan living space with each other proved less than ideal. 

The duo moved to Steamboat Springs in 2012 from Washington, D.C., and opted for a home on Steamboat Boulevard, which they loved, until Covid hit. “We had two lofts, one for him, one for me, but Eric refused to wear a headset and he’s so loud, it drove me nuts,” Robin says, laughing. 

Eric spent a chunk of his childhood on a ranch in South Routt. His family lived in Phippsburg and for a while he was home-schooled, then later attended Soroco High School. “My time there cemented my love of the environment,” Eric says. “I got a camera in ninth grade and my stepdad asked me to take photos of what I saw around me. That time in Routt County really launched my future.” He went on to establish a career as a legislative policy expert and lobbyist for environmental policy, formerly in the U.S. Senate before moving West, where he now works from remotely as an adviser. 

(Robin’s office on the third floor was the ideal space to write her memoir, “Finding My Way,” which was released in April 2023. Photo by David Patterson.) 

The couple, along with their two sons, Shokhan and Marat, share a deep appreciation for the outdoors. That hankering for space and a need for separate offices led them up a winding road to a log home above the treeline, off County Road 14.  

The house was designed by local architect Bill Rangitsch as a summer property for a Texas-based couple and was built in 1991. “It had always been a vacation home and needed some loving care when we took it on,” Robin says. Once they installed hot water, removed the mice and upgraded the insulation, they got to work on interior finishes. 

Original wood floors were refinished and the kitchen cabinets were painted. The three-story home benefits from multiple sitting rooms, including one with a faux painted wood ceiling. “We couldn’t use tape on the edges when that room was being painted as I was worried it would damage the incredibly detailed ceiling and we couldn’t replicate it,” Robin says. 

(Custom wood detailing, an open fireplace and refinished original wood flooring provide a cozy setting in the living room, and a backdrop for the kitchen and dining area. Photo by David Patterson.) 

Robin’s office on the third floor had been the artist studio and included a slot with direct access to the garage for canvases. Now the room, which boasts panoramic views to the north, is where she works as a strategist and coach. Her lengthy career in politics included four presidential campaigns, serving as the executive director for Michelle Obama’s children’s initiative, Let’s Move, and as a consultant for the 2004 Olympic Games, among other positions. Those experiences, coupled with a challenging childhood in a single-parent home, led her to write her memoir. “I finally got the space and time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she says. Her book, “Finding My Way,” was released in April 2023. 

“When you work for elected officials, you work until the work gets done,” says Eric, who uses the space out his backdoor to switch off and recharge. The family created a one-mile trail around their property where they can hike or snowshoe with their two dogs.  “It was a family effort to clear trees, lay wood chips and build the pathway,” Robin says. 

Within the log walls, the home is homage to years of shared travels and an appreciation of world cultures. Pieces from Asia and beyond blend effortlessly with furnishings bought during their time on the East Coast. Custom built-in shelves are laden with books in rooms that beg to be sat in, whether it’s to read and drink coffee, or stare out the plethora of picture windows. 

The Schepper-Washburn household may have its sights on the bigger picture of our world, but their eyes are firmly on the valley below, contributing to the place they call home.