Steamboat Springs When Mark and Diane Halvorson, of Snow Country Construction, began three years ago to build one of the most expensive spec homes in city limits, they paid attention to every luxury touch, right down to the ceramic-tiled dog shower in the garage.
"I tried to cover every detail," Mark Halvorson said this week.
The result is an 8,524-square-foot home perched above Fish Creek on Anglers Drive with the ski runs of Mount Werner looming in the 24-foot windows. The house - with a 112-inch TV in the home theater, a kitchen full of the best appliances money can buy faced in cherry wood and true post and beam construction in the great room - is listed for sale at $6.77 million.
And yes, there really is a shower stall for the buyers' pooches in the four-stall garage where there is room left over for a boat and a garden tractor. The shower floor is elevated so that pet owners don't have to strain their backs while using a flexible showerhead to hose the effects of mud season off their retrievers.
Halvorson has been building homes and commercial buildings in Steamboat since 1972. He acknowledges that if he had foreknowledge of the current recession, he would have chosen another time to build an expensive home. But he's also hopeful that by building at the top of the market, he might be able to tap into a niche of buyers who are relatively unfazed.
"I didn't see this coming, or I wouldn't have started the house," Halvorson said. "It had been years since I've built a spec house, but I've seen the cycles of this market, and I purposely picked this marketplace. The buyer of this house still has the ability to buy it if they want it. It's a matter of if they want to.
"It's no fun being in a recession with a product on the market with a limited number of lookers."
Listing real estate agent David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers, said market research indicates that no more than 150 homes in this price range sell in Colorado each year and the national number is only 1,500.
"It's in the absolute luxury market for the U.S.," Baldinger said. "This is as nice as it gets."
The architectural firm for the project was Eric Smith Associates. Baldinger said Halvorson and Smith have worked on many projects in Steamboat throughout the years. He particularly was pleased that he and designer Traci Clark, of Finial Design, were consulted at every step of the way.
"They used the whole team to pull in the best features of other homes," he said.
Great efforts were made to take advantage of views of Mount Werner, Rabbit Ears Pass, the Flat Tops and Emerald Mountain.
The home was built on a 1.24-acre lot that is one of two subdivided from longtime resident Don Valentine's property. There is an outdoor living area with a two-story wood-burning fireplace and radiant heaters to stretch the season. All of the decks and patios are covered so that the surfaces do not need snowmelt systems.
The luxurious details include a small washer/dryer combo in one of the twin master closets, refrigerated beverage drawers at one end of the kitchen and a built-in espresso machine in the pantry that is tied into the plumbing system.
All of the solid interior doors are made of black walnut. The cabinetry, by Blue Mountain Cabinet Company, is three-quarter inch cherry.
The flooring is hand-scraped pecan, and there are rustic wooden mantles over several of the five fireplaces.
The sound system by Joe Stevens, of Ponderosa Audio-Video systems, gives the occupants of every room the ability to choose their entertainment from among satellite, DVDs and limitless music choices.
"If you can think of it, it's there," Halvorson said.
Of all of the details he chased down in the construction of the home, there is one that pleases Halvorson the most. He enjoys showing visitors the intricacies of the hand-forged front doorknob and locking system, crafted after an archaic but elegant design by Hardware Renaissance in Santa Fe, N.M.
"See how that spring lifts the door handle?" he asks.
The little things matter a great deal in one of the most expensive homes in Steamboat Springs.