Colorado mountain home styles and trends |

Colorado mountain home styles and trends

Special to the daily: Kim Fuller

Because Summit County is 70 percent national forest, the dirt to develop on is limited.

Colorado Mountains has seen all types of architecture, but there are a few styles that have stuck around, or evolved into a contemporary variation. Some are big, some are small, but all Summit homes have something in common — they keep the mountains in mind.

What’s popular in the architecture market these days? Ask Karen Wray, design coordinator for Mountain Log Homes of Colorado.

“If the Summit County Parade of Homes is an indicator of what people want, Mountain Modern, Mountain Industrial and Traditional Mountain Elegant were the most prevalent styles in the 2015 homes,” Wray shared.

Wray said common layout features in all of the Parade homes featured this year were larger gathering spaces, either in great rooms or pool table and entertainment rooms. Open floor plans were also prevalent, with fewer compartmentalized rooms and with no formally designated dining or living rooms, for example.


“The Mountain Modern home is coming into its own here in Summit County,” said Laurie Williams, associate broker for Remax Properties of Summit, “borrowing from some of the 1970s angles, yet with big windows, clean lines, simple geometry, that combined in artistic ways, creates a fresh new look in this alpine environment.”

The interiors of these homes, as well as the Mountain Industrial variations, also tend to be simple, with more angular or round shapes, and muted colors of taupe, gray, silver and black. Colors and accessories are often used to draw attention with a “pop.”

The modern homes tend to be more minimalist, inside and out, and the homes with an industrial feel incorporate more metal materials.

Wray explained how in the recent Summit County Parade of Homes event, held this past September, Pinnacle Mountain Homes featured two homes, both with an industrial feel, that featured exposed welded metal connectors, concrete floors, concrete counter tops, metal fireplace surrounds in lieu of stone and industrial-inspired light fixtures.

“Will it endure? That is yet to be seen,” Williams said. “Certainly not entirely classic, but great fun and [with] simple flair, this category of architecture is capturing the attention of home builders and buyers.”


While there has always been the classic alpine home with big timbers, rustic elements are being fashioned into an “ambiance of elegance,” especially in luxury homes, according to Williams.

“This style provides a timeless feel of gabled roof lines and windows that optimize the views surrounding us, bringing the outdoor elements inside with stone flooring, granite or quartz, dark and light woods all together,” she said.

The outside of Alpine Elegant homes may include corrugated tin, cedar or asphalt shingles, combined with some copper elements, and adding in an artful mix of color and texture to the home. “For the interior, there is less of the heavy log furniture and more of the elegant pieces that may even contrast with the timber exteriors,” Williams explained. “We even see some crystal chandeliers, providing an interesting juxtaposition to the more rugged outdoor architecture.”

It’s the soaring ceilings within peaked rooflines that really add drama to these homes.

“From a realtor’s perspective, it seems that buyers from outside Colorado think of this type of home when considering a mountain home purchase,” Williams said.


Log homes will always play a prominent role in Summit County architecture, and in all mountain and western living environments, for that matter.

“Log has its own unique charm, and hearkens back to the frontier days,” Williams said.

Log structures vary greatly in the type and size of logs used. Some of the log homes in Summit are built from a kit house, and some are done completely custom.

“Some have hand-peeled and polished wood, while others are more rustic with bark still showing on the surface,” Williams explained. “You may see chinking or tightly fitted logs, combined with iron and copper or other metals.”

Some of the log homes in the Parade of Homes had unexpected details inside, Wray said, like crystal chandeliers, to take out some of the more masculine rustic feel and add some bling, or a little more feminine touches to balance the feel of the large logs.

Specialist builders — like Mountain Log Homes of Colorado, based in Frisco — craft these types of homes, and then special care

is required to maintain the beauty of the exterior over time.

“But the reward is a handsome, ski-country home using nature as its building blocks,”

Williams said.


While the original homes in Summit aren’t a part of a modern home parade, they are still standing strong and holding true to traditional charm.

Williams has seen Summit Country develop, and she said it’s been an “adventure” to see it grow from little tiny A-frame cabins to a plethora of residential architectural choices.

She said small rustic cabins, including those with the pronounced A-frame structure, still exist in Summit, but they tend to be older structures — some that could be or have been remodeled.

Because Summit County is 70 percent national forest, the dirt to develop on is limited.

“Therefore, when building, most people will construct a home that is three to four times the price of the land in order to see a solid return in the future, and to conform with architectural guidelines in many of the most upscale neighborhoods,” Williams said.

This may be a contributing factor as to why there are not as many small cabins and A-frames being newly constructed. Perhaps, Williams added, the area will see a push to buy these more affordable small homes, and transform them into up-to-date dwellings.

Or maybe the cabins and A-frames will stand the test of time. Even if some revitalizing or remodeling is done on the interiors, perhaps there will always be some historical Summit structures holding strong on the highly coveted mountain land.

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