Mountain Modern: A Home Building Adventure in Colorado

A Colorado home combines bucolic scenery with sleek design and decor.

Front exterior and landscaping of the Colorado home

The mountains near Silverthorne, Colorado were the destination of choice for retired supermarket businessman Conrad Muilenburg and his wife Bonnie. The Nebraskans wanted to add a home-building adventure to their list of accomplishments.

When the opportunity to build in Silverthorne’s premiere Three Peaks subdivision presented itself, the goal was to create a home that mirrored the beauty of the land. The Muilenburgs selected a 1.8-acre lot paralleling the 18th hole of a golf course with unobstructed views of Red, Buffalo, and Thorne peaks. “The property was so dynamic, we knew the house would have to match,” Conrad says. After securing the property, the next order of business was to find an architect. The Muilenburgs went with Colorado-based Baker + Hogan + Houk. “We interviewed a number of architects but ultimately selected Mark Hogan,” Conrad says. “As a principal with the firm, not only was Mark expertly qualified, he gave us the attention we needed to embark on this big dream of ours.”

Throughout the six months of planning, the Muilenburgs, Mark Hogan, and associate architect Bret Confer talked and walked the gently sloping property. Meanwhile, the Muilenburgs hit every Parade of Homes tour they could find in Nebraska, Colorado, and Iowa, taking hundreds of pictures along the way. “There were so many ideas that kept surfacing,” Conrad says. “The most difficult task was to cull through them, eventually incorporating only the best into our plans.”
Foyer in the home featuring amazing indoor stone elements

What emerged was a concept the Muilenburgs called “Mountain Modern.” The plan featured 9,000 square feet of space designed with the couple’s stamp of individuality. Conrad, acting as general contractor, helped clear approximately 200 trees from the lot in the spring of 2005. Once the foundation was poured, the builders framed the three-level house, which took until August. The home was completed six months later.

Everything was designed by Conrad to be unique, from the massive bronze grizzly bear trolling for his daily catch atop the front exterior water feature to the eight-foot front door appliquéd with aspen branches. The interior design was handled by Kerrie Donham of Breckenridge-based Interiors by Design. “You know, anyone can build a house but the frosting on the cake is always the interior design,” Conrad says. An impressive four-foot medallion inlaid into the travertine floor blends five different types of wood at the home’s entry. “Every time I step inside this house it’s like getting a big hug,” says Bonnie.

The contemporary decor in the master bedroom highlights the different woods used throughout the home

“The house was labor intensive,” Conrad says as he walks into the great room/kitchen/family room where 20-foot ceilings showcase a state-of-the-art kitchen, great room underscored with Brazilian tigerwood, and a unique focal point: a stacked stone silo concealing a pantry. “I’m a former supermarket guy, so the pantry was my idea,” Conrad says. “Bret came up with the silo — kind of a tribute to our Midwest roots.” The house features soaring tongue-and-groove aspen wood ceilings and walnut beams. Much more about this home, including its floor plan, ran in the magazine.