Mansion is next step in luxury

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— When Joe Patrick Robbins began the architectural designs for the Covered Bridge House he started with the kitchen, just as he does for every other house.

It is the kitchen, Robbins said, that is the heart of any house and where families spend the most time.

But the 10,500-square-foot Covered Bridge House overlooking the Catamount Ranch and Club Golf Course is not like every other house Robbins has designed.

It is not like any other house in Steamboat.

Designed to be large enough for caterers to serve a party and comfortable enough for a couple to dine in, the kitchen has butternut wood European-style cabinets, an eight-burner Viking stove, duplicate double ovens, Sub-Zero refrigerators and two sink areas with dishwashers for separate working areas.

A small breakfast nook looks out onto the Catamount Ranch and Club Golf Course and opens onto a deck with a barbecue grill set in a stone hearth.

That is just the beginning.

There also is a wine cellar that can hold 7,000 bottles of wine, a fully equipped sports bar with a large plasma television screen and six other screens, and a private stairway leading from the master bedroom to the spa and exercise rooms.

The house, offered for sale at $9.35 million, is on 7 acres along the seventh fairway of the Catamount golf course, is the first of its kind in Steamboat.

Robbins said that when the owners met him three years ago to begin the design work, he was instructed to create a house that would be unique in Steamboat.

"He said basically that (he) would like to create a house that when a person who flies in on a $20 million jet and asks to be taken to the most interesting and unique house in Steamboat, this would be the house to come to people's mind," Robbins said.

It was music to Robbins ears, who started the project soon after his return from France and the southern part of Spain. The Old World influences are obvious. The house is a mix between the Colorado Territorial architecture that typifies Catamount and the feel of a small European village.

The challenge was making the house have a warm and cozy feel but still expansive enough to host large parties and families. Robbins said the house is designed to look like a series of buildings.

"It is a very large house with several different spaces for small groups or families while providing parts of the house for large gatherings," he said.

A covered bridge entrance opens into an entry room and dining room. The walls are burgundy plaster, the floors are made of Cyprus and hickory wood, exposed timber posts accent the rooms and windows give views of the golf course and the Yampa Valley.

"We actually put the dining area front and center," Robbins said.

The main floor also holds what is known as the Great Room, 22 feet by 33 feet in size. A stone fireplace extends across the entire west wall and continues to an outside deck. The walls are a warm-toned plaster and more exposed timber posts support a 20-foot high cathedral ceiling. Windows line another wall looking out onto the Flat Tops and a pair of glass doors open out onto a fireplace deck.

The master bedroom has separated his and her bathrooms. Robbins said the "her" bathroom has a closet as big as a small bedroom.

"I've been in this business for 32 years. We've seen a lot of advances in luxury custom homes. This is the next step, the next progression," Robbins said.

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