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Steamboat Magazine

Window to the Future

05/14/2024 12:12PM ● By Suzi Mitchell
(Photo: An existing log cabin, built in the 1940s, was saved and incorporated into the overall aesthetic for a new build property in Strawberry Park. Photo by David Patterson.)

Featured in Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2024.

Steamboat Springs, CO -
After years of living overseas, Steamboat Springs native Libby O’Neill wanted to find a forever home for her family in her hometown. She and husband Mark had kept a place in Routt County but in 2016, they found a property they knew was somewhere special for the long term.
Set in Strawberry Park, the lot had a small 1940s log cabin on it, which was rumored to have hosted Perry-Mansfield founders Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield at one time. The couple intended to keep the now-run-down building on site and build a new house to accommodate their two grown-up daughters and high school aged son along with future generations.
(Floor to ceiling glass in the living room maximizes views toward Soda and Buff mountains and Mount Werner. Handmade wood accent chairs built by the homeowner, Mark O’Neill, offer a place for family and friends to soak in the setting. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The O’Neills reached out to Vertical Arts Architecture in early 2017 to design a home, while they were living in Holland. JSM Builders Inc. broke ground at the end of 2017 and navigated construction through the pandemic with the O’Neills still in Europe.

“This beautiful property challenged our team with a goal of capitalizing on views of the ski mountain and other surrounding peaks such as Soda and Buff Mountains. However, we were starting with an original plan that included several obstructed mountain views due to the way the property was situated, a historical structure on the property and the driveway winding its way into the home,” says Brandt Vanderbosch, principal and founder of Vertical Arts Architecture. “To ensure no view was missing, our team designed a pitched roof that created a corner view in the great room, along with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the entire south-facing public living spaces, resulting in a modern corner that creates uninterrupted views from all angles.”
(Traditional cherry wood cabinets and dark appliances complement the modern black and white island with a sleek stovetop. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The overall design for the 3,800 square-foot dwelling included three bedrooms with two and a half bathrooms. An additional two-story structure barn included a guest suite and woodworking shop for Mark. His intricate creations dot the home and were considered principal features for the interior aesthetic.
“I like big structures with high beams and mixed use of materials,” Mark says. Rolled steel, thick wood trim, extensive use of glass and an elevated ceiling in the open-plan kitchen, dining and living room befits the area to live large. The remainder of the home invites an air of coziness blending narrow hallways with large windows for natural light.”
(The use of oversized wood trim and a high ceiling allows a narrow hallway between the entryway and kitchen to feel large without wasted floorspace. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

“I wanted the house to drink in as much of the view as possible,” Libby says. “What I didn’t want was a house with wasted steps where you have spaces that serve no purpose.”
The couple chose to use as many natural materials as possible, opting for extensive use of reclaimed wood and stone both inside and out. The wrap-around patio accessed from the main living area serves as an extension to the kitchen and relaxation spaces with an outdoor kitchen and firepit. “Mark would sit out there all year long if I let him,” Libby says, laughing.
(Clerestory windows above the walk-in shower maximize natural light for the gray-tone bathroom, while protecting privacy. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The landscaping is a work in progress, starting with custom metal raised beds for growing produce in warmer months. “We plan to retain the natural character of the land,” Libby says.
Projects continue within the property with the renovation of the 1940s cabin on the horizon. The O’Neills are in it for the long term, building a nest their family will want to return to time and time again.