Besides top-end stainless steel appliances, the outstanding feature of the kitchen in this condo in Fox Creek Village is stunning granite counters that appear to be 5 centimeters thick and faced with rough chiseled edges.

Photo by John F. Russell

Besides top-end stainless steel appliances, the outstanding feature of the kitchen in this condo in Fox Creek Village is stunning granite counters that appear to be 5 centimeters thick and faced with rough chiseled edges.

Houses made to entertain

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A huge stone fireplace and open floor plan greet visitors when they enter the Martel home in Catamount Ranch.

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This home in Catamount Ranch features two great rooms, which can be seen from the bars in the kitchen.

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This home in the Timbers Preserve has been designed to feel cozy, despite the large scale.

About the home

The Martel home in Catamount Ranch

Located on the 15th hole of Catamount Ranch Golf Course

Offered fully furnished

Five bedrooms with multiple suites, including sitting areas with leather couches and coffee tables, master suite has fireplace

5 1/2 baths

Paneled office

Media room with cabinet refrigerator, pool table

Butler pantry

Heated four-car garage

Wine room

Outdoor kitchen

8,192 square feet

Asking $7.5 million

Listed by: David Baldinger Jr. of Steamboat Village Brokers

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The view home at Timbers Preserve features a wine closet just off the kitchen.

About the home

The view home at Timbers Preserve

Unmatched views of the Yampa Valley to the north and south from highest lot in Timbers Preserve

Five-plus bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths

7,080 square feet

Three-car attached garage

35-acre lot

Asking $4.95 million

Listed by: Stephan Baden of RE/MAX Steamboat

The home features a wine closet just off the kitchen.

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Besides top-end stainless steel appliances, the outstanding feature of the kitchen in this condo in Fox Creek Village is stunning granite counters that appear to be 5 centimeters thick and faced with rough chiseled edges.

About the home

The Cooks' custom condo at Fox Creek Village

1,675 square feet

Three bedrooms, three baths

Private deck home backs up to open space that serves as a wildlife corridor

Two levels

Private outside stairs to second story of live/work complex between downtown and the mountain

Luxury details: hammered copper sinks, seeded glass transoms over interior doors, floor to ceiling fireplace, dark hardwood floors, vaulted ceiling in master bath

Asking $595,000

Listed by: Joy Rasmussen, Colorado Group Realty

Many of the finest homes in the Yampa Valley, large and small, have been designed with entertaining guests in mind.

From powder rooms that delight the eye with dramatic vessel sinks, to choice granite serving bars worthy of an Italian villa, they make a favorable impression on party guests.

If there's a common theme making a statement in most of these homes, it is the way the food preparation area transitions seamlessly into the great room, where guests gather around a warm fireplace. A well-designed entertaining space allows the host and hostess to join the conversation while uncorking an Oregon pinot noir or carving a rack of Colorado lamb.

Catamount Ranch

The Martel home in Catamount Ranch is the epitome of versatility when it comes to finding the perfect balance between the gourmet kitchen and twin great rooms.

The kitchen is in the center of the wing-shaped home, allowing the host and hostess to welcome a dinner party of 10 into the home's great room just off the west end of the unusually large kitchen bar. The bar is divided into two sections. The fine cabinetry, painted in antique black and French blue, sets off the granite. When two couples come over spontaneously for appetizers after a round of golf or a brisk snowshoe outing, a smaller sitting area and dining table wait just off the east flank of the same bar.

The architect made certain that from the center of the bar, it's possible to gaze directly at guests gathered around stunning moss rock fireplaces in either great room.

The smaller great room offers easy access to a second oven and covered grilling porch with views toward Walton Creek Canyon.

Just steps away, off the foyer where guests arrive, is a wine room with a door decorated in frosted glass grapes and a bear paw. A winding staircase beckons guests upward to an open entertainment room. The stairs are massive enough to support carefully measured slate tiles, each one hand cut to follow the curve of the stairs.

The entertainment room is big enough to host a full-sized billiards table and leather couch in front of a video wall where a wet bar and full refrigerator are camouflaged behind custom cabinetry.

Timbers Preserve

Five miles away, in the Timbers Preserve, is a spectacular home tucked just below a ridgeline on 35 acres overlooking 300-degree views of the South Valley.

Like the home in Catamount Ranch, the Timbers Preserve home is designed with a centrally located kitchen offering easy access to twin living and dining areas, each scaled to the size of the party. It's immediately clear that the hostess and host are enthusiastic cooks from the clever placement of a large spice rack immediately beneath the cook top.

If guests can turn away from the stunning views out the kitchen windows, they'll notice the care that went into the distressed alder cabinets built by Rod Williams.

"Even though the home is large, it's deliberately very homey and has comfortable living spaces - not to where you feel like you're in a museum," said Stephan Baden, a RE/MAX Realtor who has listed the home on behalf of its Texas owners.

Guests arriving at the Timbers Preserve home will be greeted by matching character log pillars flanking the hand-carved door.

But they won't linger long in the foyer if the season allows a garden party. The patio doors beckon to a grassy lawn that seems to drop to infinity in front of views of Lake Catamount and the broad shoulders of Blacktail and Thorpe mountains. Step forward and you can gaze down on a winding section of the Yampa River, where it pours out of Lake Catamount.

"The incomparable views are the extra amenity that helps set this home apart," Baden said.

The view from the north side of the home is almost more spectacular, running straight up U.S. Highway 40 to Crystal Peak at the north end of Strawberry Park, with the ski trails coming off Thunderhead flanking to the right.

Fox Creek Village

The exquisite condominium on the sunny west end of Fox Creek Village is smaller than the two other homes - about 5,000 square feet smaller, but it measures up to the grand homes as a place to wow visitors at an intimate cocktail party. They also will be wowed by the views from the private deck overlooking Emerald Mountain.

Owners Scot and Andrea Cook purchased the condominium above a live-work development on Hilltop Parkway while it still was being framed.

Scot is a contractor, and Andrea has a talented eye for design. Between them, they couldn't resist maximizing the potential of the 1,675-square-foot condominium.

"We purchased it as a shell," Andrea said. "The floor-to-ceiling fireplace wasn't even in the plans. And we were able to turn what was intended to be a storage attic into an upstairs bedroom plus a bathroom and sauna room."

Dark hardwood stair treads lead upstairs, where couples may escape a party to gaze down from a pocket balcony guarded by wrought iron.

Along with top-end stainless steel appliances, the outstanding feature of the kitchen is stunning granite counters that appear to be fully 5 centimeters thick and faced with rough chiseled edges.

In reality, the granite isn't that thick - cleverly disguised rims give the granite its depth.

This modern-styled home, with furniture and designer accessories staged by RoCo Enteriors and Chase Oriental Rug Co., isn't the spot where you'll host a sit-down dinner; in fact, there isn't a dining table. But there's that unforgettable granite bar and room for a tall cocktail table and a serving buffet behind the couch. Chances are, your guests will cozy up on the stone fireplace hearth anyway.

If you ever find yourself at an elegant party in this polished condominium, you're sure to notice the pebbled floor in the powder room with its designer vanity and unusual vessel sink. Just don't leave without asking your host if you can take a peek at the master bedroom. Through the double hardwood doors and just off a sitting area is a master bath that offers a shower room that has two showerheads and no need for shower doors.

You can't help but be impressed.

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