The owners of the modern farmhouse in the Park Place development bucked the prevailing trend in Steamboat and opted for a painted brick fireplace.

Photo by Tom Ross

The owners of the modern farmhouse in the Park Place development bucked the prevailing trend in Steamboat and opted for a painted brick fireplace.

Farmhouse charm in Old Town

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Melanie and Garrett Simons' 3,649-square-foot house is listed for sale for $1.75 million.

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The kitchen in this modern farmhouse features open shelving in place of cabinetry and double-wide drawers. The bar stools are classic industrial style like those used in shop and art classes at public schools.

— What kind of home would a Kansas couple build in Old Town Steamboat Springs?

Melanie and Garrett Simon envisioned a modern farmhouse, with a white exterior, pine floors, a claw-foot bathtub and entire walls of windows that could slide open to bring the outdoors inside.

They made it a reality in the Park Place development of new Old Town homes. It stands right where the Routt Memorial Hospital previously stood.

Their 3,649-square-foot house is listed for sale for $1.75 million. The neighborhood is elevated on a hill, less than two blocks from the new Soda Creek Elementary School and has views of the ski slopes to the east and Howelsen Hill to the south.

"Garrett and I grew up in Kansas where our grandparents live on a farm," Melanie Simon said. "That's probably why we built our new home in the style of a farmhouse. It brought us back to our roots in this place that we love but where we have no family."

The exterior lines of the home may be built with the classic lines of a Midwestern home and the covered porch and white clapboard-style siding complete the picture. But look a little closer and there are obvious differences.

Instead of many double-hung windows like one would find in an older home, there are larger panes of glass including floor-to-ceiling windows, wider than a sliding door, that open onto front and rear porches.

Those over-sized windows, complete with sliding screens, allow the Simons to host parties that flow in and out of the dining room in summer.

Listing Realtor Annamarie Shunny, of Colorado Group Realty, said the modern floor plan and the way it flows naturally from one room to another is one of the advantages of building a period-style home with modern design.

"The first thing I remember about visiting the home is the traffic flow and how it makes it feel bigger than a house that's compartmentalized,"

Shunny said.

Simon agreed.

"That's an area where our architect, Keith Kelly (KSA Kelly and Stone Architects) really excelled," she said.

Shunny said the home is carefully priced with the cost of comparable new construction in mind, as well as recent prices paid for older homes.

"If you want new construction, that's where we're at right now," Shunny said. "You expect to pay $400 to $600 per square foot."

The home seems to resonate with a certain demographic, Shunny said.

"When we show this home, it really appeals to people 45 and under," Shunny said. "The edgiest, youngest people just fall in love with this house."

She noted that a large Old Town house sold for $1.4 million this year. It didn't offer the modern advantages of in-floor heating enclosed in Gyp-Crete, digital wiring throughout and many others.

There are very few new structures in the desirable Old Town neighborhood, and by the time you pay $5,000 for a small lot and $250 per square foot for a 4,000-square-foot house, you've quickly arrived at $1.5 million. Add a larger lot with views of Mount Werner, and the price goes up.

The Simons took an active role in the interior design of the home, and their taste is reflected in a playful balance between the traditional and the modern. The foyer announces the modern aesthetic with its tinted concrete floor.

The foyer is divided from the living room by a large set of built-in bookshelf cubes. Instead of cramming them with books revealing the spines, Melanie Simon has used the shelf to display her youngsters' large collection of children's books, stacked in piles descending from the smallest on top to the largest on the bottom.

The effect is as much that of an art installation as a bookcase.

The living room furniture and area rugs are decidedly modern. The Simons boldly built a brick fireplace surround that is atypical of Steamboat in the first decade of the 21st century and took the extra step of painting the bricks white.

Throughout the upper two stories, the balance of the flooring consists of eight-inch pine planks. The expectation is that the wood will collect dings over time.

"We want it to look rustic," Melanie Simon said. "We have three little guys - if you scratch and scrape it, nobody's going to care."

The kitchen makes a statement of its own, with open shelves above the countertops instead of cabinets and extra wide drawers. The kitchen counters alternate between dull black soapstone and white quartz CaesarStone. A muted tint of sage green paint on the walls ties the black and white motif together.

Upstairs, the Simons took another chance and painted the rich pine floors with a semi-transparent white that evokes farm houses from an earlier era where the owners, apparently weary of waxing old wood floor, gave up and painted them. Except in this case, Melanie Simon had her floors painted to make a design statement.

Nowhere is the mix of the old and new more apparent than in the master bath, where a modern iteration of the traditional claw-foot bath tub stands right next to a glass-walled shower.

The modern farmhouse is one of a kind in Old Town Steamboat.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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