Vail Gondola

Architect Reveal: From Spec House to Custom Home for One of Vail’s Favorites

Internationally-known names flock to Vail Valley both for fun and for a place to call home. As a top architecture firm located in the Vail area, we have worked with many world-class athletes who seek the extreme conditions Vail offers for training and conditioning. Many Vail Valley residents are skiers who travel the world constantly competing in the Olympics, World Cup Races and other international events. The concept of home is often elusive and hard to define for celebrity athletes who spend most of their time on the road.

The Challenges

  • Make a spec house feel custom designed for a design-savvy star athlete
  • Create two homes in one for a high-profile adult daughter to share with her parents
  • Ensure a basement level offered all the comforts and beauty of main-level living

Discretion defines our firm’s approach to projects of this nature. And we delight in creating a home that can satisfy the need to relax and retreat after traveling the world.

Is it possible turn a spec house in-progress into a custom dream home for a design savvy client who happens to be a world-class athlete? Yes!

Our firm follows all of the same best practice standards when designing spec home as we would in a custom home or a remodel. We always prefer to have a connection to the person who will be using the home. And in a resort community, it is difficult to define a typical buyer profile.

For this project, the home was under construction and 50% completed when our client purchased it for herself. Fortunately is was planned and built by a well-established builder with a reputation for quality and integrity in luxury design. And, there was still time to personalize it for her. From the layout of the kitchen to custom furniture pieces, our team focused on how to make the two levels of the home function independently and together. The client wanted the main level to offer comfortable full-time residence for her parents, while the lower level needed to feel like private sanctuary for her during the two months a year she would be able to enjoy being in her Vail home. The main-level kitchen would be shared by all of three of them.

SIDE NOTE

WHAT IS A SPEC HOME?

For this project, the home was under construction and 50% completed when our client purchased it for herself. Fortunately is was planned and built by a well-established builder with a reputation for quality and integrity in luxury design. And, there was still time to personalize it for her. From the layout of the kitchen to custom furniture pieces, our team focused on how to make the two levels of the home function independently and together. The client wanted the main level to offer comfortable full-time residence for her parents, while the lower level needed to feel like private sanctuary for her during the two months a year she would be able to enjoy being in her Vail home. The main-level kitchen would be shared by all of three of them.

What does an olympic skier want from a Vail residence? The answers might surprise you.

  • Zen hideaway over opulent estate
  • Sophisticated, worldly design
  • Versatility to meet diverse needs
  • Privacy is paramount

Assess the client’s most crucial needs, uses, desires for the entire home
Carefully consider the constraints of the home’s existing location, footprint and layout Seek opportunities to maximize the best aspect what has already been built and designed Listen to the client.

Our studio sets priority on creating opportunities to connect the interior spaces with the land surrounding the home, bringing the outside in and finding harmony with nature. Our deep roots in minimalist design intention inform every project, even those with more traditional style. Constant thought is given to site lines in every room in order to maximize views. Functionality for the family’s needs also guide all design decisions. Custom craftsmanship and artistry are employed whenever possible. These directives offer the best solutions to most design challenges.

The home builder, Jim Guida commented:

it feels like it was designed from scratch, specifically for the client which is the ultimate success of this project
Jim Guida, Guida Construction

When is the best time to start talking to an architect if you are planning to build a new home?

We believe any time is the right time, it is our role as a top architecture firm is to make it your dream home no matter the timing. We always enjoy the chance to be entrenched in the process at the beginning, right when the client is dreaming of a new home. Helping to guide the site location decisions can offer a lot of freedom and flexibility to bring the client’s vision to fruition. However, there is great reward in rehabbing and revamping an existing structure to meet new needs. Our firm enjoys the challenge of translating the client’s dream at any stage in the building/design process. And we believe it is important to show our clients that we are capable of great design in a variety of situations from new build to vintage remodel.

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