A magical place: Covered Bridge House

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Imagine a bridge, water flowing underneath, as the entrance of a home.

You can do so in the Steamboat Covered Bridge House, perhaps Steamboat's most renowned luxury home. The house sits on a high point overlooking the golf course at Catamount Ranch and Club with views of the Flat Tops and Walton Canyon. Pam Vanatta of Prudential Steamboat Realty has the home listed for $8.9 million.

People entering the house, which is three years old and sits on about seven acres, cross a bridge sitting atop a water feature. The bridge was an idea generated by the owners, the O'Meara family of Florida.

The water feature continues in a downstairs room called the Covered Bridge Room, where a rickety hallway emulating a bridge helps create a magical experience.

"A fun idea I had was to create a unique design using a special attachment of the hickory floorboards so they feel as if they are loose," said Joe Patrick Robbins, who worked with Ian Wagner on the architecture of the home. The room's windows look out onto the seventh fairway of the golf course.

"We began to take advantage of all the wonderful views of the house, the way the sun hit the house different times of the day," Robbins said. "The incredible views needed to be taken advantage of."

The kitchen is emphasized as a main gathering area, Robbins said.

"The kitchen and breakfast nook have the best views of the house as well as the morning sun," Robbins said.

The kitchen includes custom Butternut cabinets and Venetian plaster walls. It has a full prep area, granite counters, two dishwashers, two refrigerator drawers in the hickory wood island, two warming drawers and a Viking range with two convection ovens

Attached to the kitchen is a hearth room with a wet bar and a plasma television. Such rooms are becoming more common, Robbins said.

"It's a nice place for the family to be together," he said.

In the west wing of the home is a great room with massive Douglas Fir beams and 22-foot cathedral ceilings. The stone living room fireplace extends outdoors to create a cozy gathering place on cool nights next to the wood-burning fireplace.

"You can sit on the deck in the evening with the cozy outdoor fireplace and watch the sun set and lights come on in town," Robbins said.

One of the features Robbins had fun with was the recreation room, which was designed to look like an old English pub.

"It's every guy's dream of a rec room," Robbins said. It includes six televisions.

A portion of the room's bar is covered with the pigskin leather used for footballs, Robbins said. That was the idea of Cheryl Oliver, the interior designer and caretaker.

"She worked very well with the owners to come up with some very unique features in the house," Robbins said of Oliver.

The home also includes an outdoor hot tub and a spa that includes his and her bathing facilities, a cedar-lined sauna, an Italian-tiled steam shower and a stainless steel chilling tub.

A team of local artists made the house the quality that it is, she said. "It wouldn't exist if it wasn't for those people," she said.

Besides the covered bridge, features include a wine cellar with brick walls and floors and a spa room with a sauna and steam shower.

"It fits their personality," he said. "Between the owners and Cheryl and I, we really did a lot of unusual things that had not been in Steamboat before."

Oliver agrees.

The house is "ahead of its time for Steamboat," she said.

The bridge was just the beginning of a very unique home, Robbins said.

"We used the theme and starting point as a name of the house," he said. "Every room and every aspect of the house is a little bit different and unique."

The house is meant to provide varied experiences for its residents and their guests, Robbins said.

"There are lots of different spaces for different parts of the day and different parts of the year," he said. "It's the kind of house that you would really have a hard time becoming bored with." '

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