Trilogy Partners creates homes with souls
April 12, 2009
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth
of a weekly story we’ll bring readers about how businesses, families, individuals and organizations
in Summit County are making
it through these rocky economic times. If you have an idea for the “Making It” series, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
BRECKENRIDGE ” The story of an English miner luring a bride to Breckenridge from his homeland ” or an entrepreneur fusing cultures of Japan and the American West ” drives everything from the architecture to the furnishings of a Trilogy Partners home.
“We invent a character and allow them to tell us how the house came to be,” said Michael Rath, one of the company’s managing partners.
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The roughly 6,000-square-foot “Steamboat House” in Steamboat Springs features Japanese antiques from the mid-19th century. A 700 square-foot tea house includes authentic Shoji rice paper doors.
The home’s interior also includes large wooden beams and a stone chimney. It was built for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of Comedy Central’s “South Park” TV show.
It is to be featured in Architecture Digest, an international magazine of interior design, according to AD editor Margaret Dunne.
Rath said this honor is the equivalent of a Pulitzer, with up to 4,000 applications each year to fill about a dozen slots.
He said Friday that his next project with Parker ” on the island Kawaii ” is nearing completion.
“The last ‘South Park’ runs on (April) 22, then he’s coming out to Hawaii to finish decorating,” Rath said.
And another beach-side project on the same island, including an 80-foot waterfall, could be kicking off before long.
“Because it’s around 20 acres, we’re looking at developing more of an energy-independent development of three or four homes,” Rath said. “Kind of an off-the-grid paradise.”
The business is “doing great,” he said, adding that they’ve “really turned up our marketing” since the national economic downturn. Trilogy Partners has a sister company that’s exploring commercial projects, as well.
“The key to this business is to keep as many irons in the fire as you can,” he said.
Rath and his brother, John, started the Breckenridge business in 1998. Michael Rath said he formerly worked in the independent film business. Now the creativity tells the story that leads to the design and construction of some truly unique homes.
When a client is ready for Trilogy Partners to create one of its custom homes, everyone involved in the process sits around a table to come up with an approach. Reclaimed materials are a signature of many of the residences.
A timber bridge from Great Salt Lake in Utah was brought to the mountains for a home.
“Animals would come from the forest and lick the beams,” Rath said.
The Calecho house ” offered at a price just shy of $4 million ” on the Breckenridge Golf Course includes recycled ski lift cables on the stairs’ railings and furnishings from the early 1900s.
The walls and floors have been stained and aged. There’s even a mine-shaft style elevator.
Carolyn Gash, a Trilogy Partners interior designer, said the business works with clients to help figure out whether such additions fit with the budget.
Rath said the company also builds smaller, less exorbitant homes.
“We don’t want to give the impression that we only build homes for rich people,” he said.
Colorado Building Company, an employee-owned, Breckenridge business, constructs the homes.
Many of the Trilogy Partners homes are at the cutting edge of eco-friendly features.
“People with money are the ones we feel should be leading” the movement toward more sustainable homes, Rath said.
A home built in Timber Trails, a Vail subdivision, includes about 20 technologies including solar, geothermal, insulation and electric systems.
“(It’s a) symphony of different products and different technologies,” he said.
The owner ” who drives SUVs that run on vegetable oil ” wanted the energy bill at year’s end to be zero.
The home is 7,000 square feet. But Rath said homeowners’ associations make it difficult for sustainable builders to produce the homes they have in mind.
On a sunny, 15-degree day at the Calecho property, he said the resident “won’t even use the boiler.”
Gash said that as for the home’s foam insulation, “Instead of a skin, it’s like a coat of armor.”
Rath said solar and geothermal concepts are designed before the ground for a home is ever broken.
The Steamboat house includes an air quality system that “brings in fresh air and exhales stale air,” he said.
As for Parker’s creative input on the home, Rath said he was given “incredible latitude.”
“Trey said it’s not his job to stand over (our) shoulder, telling (us) what to do. They wanted a beautiful house to show creativity,” he said.
But then he mentioned Parker sitting down and sketching the metal railing that would become part of his home.
“It’s all art ” that’s really what it is,” he said.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or