Contemporary Colorado mountain house by Charles R Stinson features limestone and cedar

Colorado mountain resort-style home by architect Charles R Stinson with large great room, strong indoor-outdoor connection, natural materials

Snow blankets the ground, but this Colorado mountain alps, atmosphere, blue, dawn, dusk, evening, freezing, ice, landscape, light, lighting, morning, mountain, mountain range, nature, night, phenomenon, reflection, resort town, sky, snow, tourist attraction, water, winter, blue
Snow blankets the ground, but this Colorado mountain home designed by Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design is an inviting haven of warmth. The house, which is tucked into the hill with a forest on three sides, has spectacular views over Beaver Creek and the Vail ski slopes.

It's a common dilemma how do you introduce new architecture to a dramatic natural landscape without detracting from the picture-postcard scenery?

For this project in Mountain Star, Colorado, designed by Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design, the solution was to site the house along a ridge near to the leading edge of an aspen forest.

Architect Charles Stinson, who worked on the project with Douglas Fletcher and Larry Glenn, says this resulted in the home feeling hugged by the forest on three sides, yet open to the spectacular views of Beaver Creek and the Vail ski slopes.

"The home is tucked into the site and feels like it belongs to the hill," Stinson says. "This position also protects the home from cold northerly winds, yet allows for plenty of winter sun."

But it's not just the siting of the home that gives it a close connection to the landscape it's also the design and materials. The architect chose to merge the indoors and outdoors by using the same materials for the interior and exterior.

"Frank Lloyd Wright wrote that good architecture should bring the outside world into the house and let the inside of the house go outside," he says. "This home makes those transitions effortlessly. Stonemasons worked for more than 18 months, matching and cutting the Oklahoma dry-stacked limestone for the house each individual piece lines up perfectly on both sides of every window. This creates the uncanny effect of the stone walls flowing seamlessly from inside to out."

Contrasting textures and natural materials feature throughout this cabinetry, countertop, home, interior design, window, white
Contrasting textures and natural materials feature throughout this home in the Colorado Mountains. The house was designed by Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design.

The exterior cedar soffits also line up precisely with the cedar ceilings, with the intersecting vertical and horizontal planes creating a strong composition that serves to frame the magnificent views.

In the great room, the ceiling height soars, and there is a band of clerestory windows to provide additional natural light. The widespread use of floating soffits allows for plenty of soft, indirect lighting at night. Recessed lights also highlight the textural quality of the stone.

Not surprisingly, the home was designed for entertaining.

"The owners, who live here all year round, wanted a complete mini resort for visiting family and friends," says Stinson. "The home can accommodate numerous guests, and the south-facing patios are perfect for parties. These patios provide multiple seating and dining areas some are covered with a fireplace or radiant heating, and others are open to the sun."

The interior, designed in consultation with Nicole Norris of CRS Interiors, also provides ample space for entertaining. Quarter-sawn walnut features on the trim, doors and cabinets. This was chosen for its warm, clean look. Flat-sawn walnut was specified for the floors to provide a more earthy look, similar to a forest floor. With neutral furnishings the overall effect is subtle and sophisticated.

The kitchen, in the center of the great room, teams walnut cabinetry with Calacatta Gold marble countertops. An extra-long island with bar stools reinforces the concept of a social hub.

There is an intimate feel to this mountain apartment, architecture, cottage, home, house, log cabin, mountain, property, real estate, roof, siding, sky, snow, tree, winter, wood, white, brown
There is an intimate feel to this mountain home, despite its large size the design team has created quiet nooks and balconies for retreats. The design is by Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design.

Guest suites are positioned on the lower level of the home each has its own bathroom. There is also a five-bed bunkroom. Large hidden pocket doors can close off different sections of the guest floor so that even if several families are visiting they can have privacy. It is also possible for the owners to completely close off the lower level when it is not in use.

Other key features of the home include a large wine cellar and tasting room, and a theater with tiered seating that has won a Lutron Excellence Award.

Stinson says Mountain Star is one of Colorado's most environmentally designed communities, and this home is no exception. There are many passive design features that help to reduce energy use. For example, the large hip roof has a generous overhang that provides shelter.It also blocks the harsh summer sun so the home is cool in summer, yet in winter the low sun pours in to warm the interior.

"A geothermal well on the property and solar panels on the roof generate electricity. Additional panels on a neighboring site top up any extra electricity that may be required to run the home."

Credit list

Charles R Stinson, Larry Glenn, Douglas Fletcher, Charles R Stinson Architecture + Design
Fox Hunt Partners
Dry-stacked Oklahoma strip stone; cedar
Wood flooring
Flat-sawn walnut
Calacatta Gold marble
Fireplace mantle
Venetian plaster
Dining chairs
Plumbing fixtures
Interior designer
Nicole Norris, CRS Interiors
Landscape designer
Ceres+ Landscape Architecture
Doors and windows
Sierra Pacific Windows and Doors
Outdoor furniture
Restoration Hardware
Kitchen cabinetry
Quarter-sawn walnut
Entry light pendant
Ingo Maurer
Sectional sofa
Thayer Coggin
Bathroom tiles
Travertine from Materials Marketing

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

Photography by: Paul Crosby

24 Jun, 2015

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