Steamboat Springs The Covered Bridge House at Catamount Ranch & Club was ahead of its time when builders broke ground in 2000, and its original architect said the features of the home still are up to the latest standards for the most expensive homes in the Yampa Valley.
Architect Joe Robbins said the Covered Bridge House was among the first in the valley designed to be ideal as a place for multigenerational families to gather in one home and still have private living areas.
“It’s programmed the way all the houses I design today are,” Robbins said, “with the kitchen, living area and master bedroom all on the same level as the garage, with guest suites created with small private sanctuaries.”
Originally listed for $9.9 million, the price of the 10,492-square-foot house recently was dropped to $5 million furnished or $4.75 million unfurnished, not because the owner is in financial stress, listing broker Pam Vanatta said, but because he wants to move beyond being a seller in a buyers’ market and become a buyer himself. The latest price drop from $6.25 million was formalized two weeks ago.
“To replace this house would cost a lot more than $5 million,” said Vanatta, a principal in Prudential Steamboat Realty. “Everything in the home is custom. They have $8 million in it. It has the best of everything.”
The Routt County Assessor’s Office reflects that the property is owned by a limited liability company in Naples, Fla.
The home sits on the seventh fairway of Catamount golf course and looks directly into the snowy peaks of Flat Tops Wilderness Area. It created substantial buzz in Steamboat a decade ago during the construction phase for its golf cart garage, dog shower and in-home spa, not to mention the seven full bathrooms and four half-baths in a five-bedroom home.
The home’s namesake is an arched wooden bridge in the middle of a stone passageway leading from the recreation room to a wine room with space for thousands of bottles and a tasting table.
General contractor John Iverson’s description of designing and building the bridge exemplifies the attention to detail that went into the home.
The clients wanted to create a bridge that was reminiscent of a New England covered bridge that would have produced a clickety-clack sound when a horse-drawn buggy rolled over it, Iverson said.
“We had to number and scribe each board individually,” Iverson said. “It was built in sections, and the boards are attached to a frame from beneath with thin sheet metal straps and screws. The boards are floating on the bridge structure.”
He said he collaborated with three carpenters on the design of the one-of-a-kind bridge.
A window at the peak of the bridge overlooks a recirculating waterfall, and the bridge planks intentionally were left loose in their steel frame so that they would rattle pleasantly when trod upon.
But 11 bathrooms? There are his and hers bathrooms in the master suite, and directly down a staircase just off the master there is an unsurpassed spa with a stainless-steel cold pool and a choice between a sauna and a steam room. And of course, they are flanked by men’s and women’s changing rooms — more bathrooms. Even the wine tasting room has a half-bath.
The decorative glass tiles by Routt County artist Jan Willman surrounding bathroom vanities are among the best examples of the use of local artisans and building tradespeople in the home. Original interior designer Cheryl Oliver sourced many antiques and one-of-a-kind European lighting fixtures for the home, which has a European feel with a bright, lemon-colored kitchen that is reminiscent of Provence. It has butternut cabinets, Costa Esmeralda granite counters, twin dishwasher and convection ovens and two refrigerator drawers in the hickory wood island.
The special features in the home are too numerous to mention. There are massive Douglas fir beams, Italian marble floors, a lavish granite sports bar wrapped in Wilson football leather, copper sinks, 14-karat-gold-plated bathroom fixtures in the second master, gas-heated towel bars in the ladies’ master bath along with a three-way mirror, an outdoor fireplace on the deck overlooking the golf course, a bank of five televisions over the pool table and, perhaps best of all, a library and sunny reading nook overlooking Walton Creek Canyon.
The owner, working closely with Robbins and Oliver succeeded in creating a floor plan that makes the home feel intimate in spite of its size.
“I strive for that in all of my homes,” Robbins said. “Part of our goal was never to create a feeling of grandiosity but one of family comfort.”
Their success was the result of paying close attention to the volume of each room relative to its floor dimensions, he said. Although the great room has a dramatic cathedral ceiling, it’s not a large, empty vault but is partially filled with intersecting ceiling lines.
Robbins is proud of the curvilinear design elements that keep the home from feeling symmetrical, from the paneled barrel ceiling in the great room to shower surrounds and private decks.
Looking to move ahead
“The owners want to transfer money from the sale and take advantage of a buyers’ market,” Vanatta said.
It’s a progression that many financially solid owners of vacation homes in Steamboat go through as their lives and the lives of their families unfold independently of the upheavals in the national real estate market. Sooner or later, they reach the conclusion that in order to move on, they need to price their property at a price that is perceived by buyers as being below the current market price.
Of the total square footage, 10,358 is finished. Using that number as a basis, at $458 per square foot, Vanatta said the Covered Bridge House is priced below the market for a home with as many custom touches as this one has.
When the original developers of Catamount Ranch & Club debuted 25 lots of 5 to 7 acres surrounding a private golf course just south of the Steamboat Springs city limits in 1999 for about $575,000, the numbers took people’s breath away.
“Realtors were asking, ‘Gosh, how are we going to sell these lots?’” Vanatta said.
However, the opportunity to buy one of just 25 lots on 800 acres that close to a destination ski area had a natural market. The lots did sell, and Catamount represented a breakthrough in the local market.
“Having Catamount here was very important to our town,” Vanatta said. “The availability of a private club attracted people who are used to owning homes (attached to) private clubs, and when we built it, they came.”
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com