What makes it special
- $6,000 NanaWall bi-fold window in the kitchen allows a host to serve guests on the deck - like a restaurant carry-out window only much more elegant
- Custom steel show rack in the wine cellar custom crafted in Steamboat by Nordic steel. Features LED back lighting that doesn't heat the fine wines it holds.
- Ceramic floor tiles that have the look of corroded steel plates
- Small dishwashing "drawers" that allow a couple to wash a small load
- Heated granite dog washing platform in the three-car garage
- Tall ceilings paneled in native beetle-killed pine
Steamboat Springs Steamboat luxury home developer Shayne Macherowski has made a study of the natural light that sculpts the pocket valley where Fish Creek tumbles out of a geologic fault line leading down from the Continental Divide.
And he thinks his newest project on Whitewater Lane is ideally situated to take advantage of the light. Depending on where one lives in The Sanctuary, there is the possibility that your home gets virtually no direct sunlight in the depth of winter, or receives full sun 12 months of the year. Macherowski's recently completed spec house has struck a happy medium.
"The north/south orientation of the house means it gets no direct sunlight in the summer, which helps keep it cool. It also means the house does get daylong sun into the large south facing windows in winter, which helps warm the house," Macherowski said. "The same large windows bring in large amounts of natural light. We put the smaller windows on the ends of the house and larger ones on the front and rear. Of course, all the windows we used are high insulation low-E windows."
The windows are big. At the front and rear of the house, the apex of the ceiling is 27 feet high, and expanses of glass fill the space.
"Anywhere that it made sense to do so, we tried to facilitate natural light entering the house while maintaining the homeowner's privacy. This is why you'll notice that some of the windows, particularly in the front of the house are well above eye level," Macherowski said. "Natural light comes in while privacy and great views are maintained.
But Macherowski and a team that included architect Michael Olsen; general contractor Craig Brundridge, of Amaron-Folkestad; and interior designer Cassandra Mendonca didn't stop with the windows. Macherowski also has incorporated a cylindrical form of skylight called a "solar tube" in the home where intense shafts of white light pour into the pantry and master laundry. The tubes are lined with a highly reflective material and use a system of lenses to gather light even when the sun is low in the sky.
Macherowski previously has taken large residential spec projects on Ski Trail Lane and Burgess Creek Road through the building permit phase, but he sold them to contractors before breaking ground himself.
The Whitewater home offers many sustainable features, including R-50 insulation in the high ceilings and the use of Corbond-spray foam insulation throughout. Bathrooms include reduced flow plumbing that saves water without detracting from the functionality of the fixtures.
The use of local forest products is reflected in the beetle-killed pine used to panel many of the ceilings.
The 5,716-square-foot home was designed to function almost as two dwellings. The first is intended to be a generous but not overwhelming living quarters for a couple occupying the self-contained main level. It includes a master suite with its own $5,000 Swedish Ask washer and dryer set, an office with a pecan wood floor and an open entertaining area that includes a bi-fold window in the kitchen allowing a host to serve guests seated at an outdoor bar on the deck.
"We wanted to create a mountain contemporary home that was not sterile or antiseptic, but warm and livable while making efficient use of space," Macherowski said.
He and Realtor Chris Paoli, of Colorado Group Realty, toured dozens of homes and made a fact-finding trip to Aspen to ensure they were ahead of the curve in Steamboat.
"This home might be perceived as a traditional mountain home in Aspen," Paoli said. "We saw leather walls and ornate ceilings in Aspen. This market's not ready for that yet."
Paoli said they made a calculated decision to go with some very high-end finishes because post-real estate correction buyers of $4 million homes are very discerning.
"When you have Hans Grohe (plumbing) fixtures, they recognize it," Paoli said.
Macherowski agreed. Instead of pulling back on his finishes in a slow real estate market, he said he resolved to make this project stand out by spending on some expensive features that signify his resolve to build to a high level.
The clothes washer and dryer adjacent to the master closet are typical of the desire to combine high-end details with sustainability.
The spin cycle on the washer is so fast that it removes more moisture from the clothes, thus reducing the amount of energy needed in the dryer, Macherowski said.
However, the home's Tekmar heating system provides the greatest energy efficiency, Macherowski said. The gas furnace relies on external sensors to retrieve data about the climate conditions along Fish Creek to make intelligent decisions about the heating needs of the home. With 12 heating zones, the owners will have the ability to customize the climate-control system.
The lower level that walks out above creek level to a patio protected from the gaze of golfers and Nordic skiers by an elevated boulder retaining wall opens up possibilities for guests and large families with four additional suites and a recreation room with a sleek bar.
Macherowski said he encouraged Brundridge to employ local craftspeople wherever possible, and one local company in particular put its stamp on the home.
You can see the custom work of Nordic steel on the metal-clad fireplace in the master bedroom and again in the fittings on the hearth in the great room.
Macherowski is perhaps most proud of a personal touch he collaborated on just off the kitchen where a glass door allows guests to peek into the wine room.
A wine guy himself, the developer knows that connoisseurs love to talk about their favorite bottles almost as much as they love to savor the wine itself.
Traditional wooden storage racks flank the wine room, but the centerpiece is a custom steel rack that cradles each of a couple of dozen bottles so that the label can be easily read. The rack is installed over textured drywall with a subtly metallic paint and an LED lighting system that provides backlighting without heating the wine.
Macherowski and Paoli prefer to call the home "The Fish Creek House." They could just as easily have called it the Whitewater Light House.
- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org