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Steamboat Magazine

A Worldly View

05/14/2024 12:43PM ● By Suzi Mitchell
(Photo: An oversized island finished in onyx-tone Caesarstone with walnut and black cabinetry blends practicality and a dramatic aesthetic in the open-plan kitchen where biophilic design touches are evident in the pendant lights. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

Featured in Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2024.

Steamboat Springs, CO - A one-of-a-kind front door with three oversized porthole windows is the first of many atypical, hand-picked details chosen by a homeowner with a serious case of wanderlust. French-born Emmanuelle Vital is a long-time Steamboat Springs resident whose house tells the story of a world beyond the Rocky Mountains.

(Emmanuelle founded the design studio, Vital Space, and is an artist in the community, exploring the blend of art and science. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

She and husband, Bradley Bartels, have been in the Yampa Valley for decades where they’ve made a home for their sons, Louis and Mateo, and built their businesses. Bradley, a builder and former owner/operator of Purebuilt, and Emmanuelle, who trained in environmental engineering and founded design studio, Vital Space, have a history of building and renovating properties.

“We never do the same thing twice,” Bradley says. The couple’s latest endeavor is a tri-level modern design on a secluded street near the Steamboat Springs High School, where Mateo, their youngest, is a junior.

(Recessed black trim and wide plank whitewashed oak flooring frame one of the couple’s son’s bedroom, where views of Strawberry Park and Sleeping Giant flood in through the oversized windowscape. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The vacant lot had grabbed Emmanuelle’s attention 20 years prior, when she’d visited a house on the site owned by two longtime local brothers. Upon their passing, the property was demolished and the lot remained empty.

“I loved it for the views it has of Strawberry Park, Sleeping Giant, Howelsen Hill and Mount Werner and always felt like it had huge potential,” Emmanuelle says. Combining the duo’s skill base, they chose to design and build a home that maximized the incredible vistas.

(Homeowner Emmanuelle Vital wanted to create a convivial space in the main level of the home where the whole family could hang out at one time. A sunken seating area, window-framed home office, foosball table, and easy access to the outdoor patio ensures the kitchen/living space is a welcoming spot for everyone. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The five-bed, six-bath property includes a guest suite above a two-car garage, accessible by an external bridge on the second floor. Windows abound on two of the three level structure, with the lowest level at sub ground, where window wells enable natural light in a traditionally darker space.

Emmanuelle places an emphasis on biophilic and sustainable design which is evident throughout the interior with foliage-based lighting creations, natural fiber wallcoverings, wool and leather home accessories. “A lot of my inspiration comes from my travels and the finishes are sourced from creatives I meet along the way,” Emmanuelle says.

(A built-in loft adds a second sleeping and relaxation area for a bedroom on the upper level of the home. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

The open-plan main level of the house has a magnetic effect on Mateo’s high school friends. A foosball table serves as a fun addition between the kitchen, dining and sitting areas and a glass-framed office. “I wanted to create a convivial area where we can feel connected, even if we all are doing our own things,” Emmanuelle says.

A built-in nitch off the kitchen is a favorite spot for breakfast, while the oversized island finished in walnut wood and an onyx-tone Caesarstone countertop lures friends and family for happy hours. In the opposite corner, a sunken 70s inspired lounge area, warmed by a wood stove, incites relaxation on sumptuous Ligne Roset soft fabric sofas.

Wide plank white oak flooring flows throughout and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired custom wood dividers subtly separate spaces with an airy effect. “We wanted to make natural light a priority and emphasize a connection to the outdoors as much as possible,” Bradley says.

(Bold marine-inspired wallpaper adds a playful touch to the primary bathroom. Photo by Trey Mullen / One Reel Media House.)

Each of the three bedrooms on the upper level boast their own balcony, and a full-length corridor opens up to views on each end. A tranquil yoga room faces east with door access to the elevated wraparound deck.

The lowest floor houses a popular guest room and chill-out spot with a pool table. Quirky finds from the family’s travels fill the space and remind visitors of the world beyond the Yampa Valley.