In less than a decade, Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien has climbed the ranks at Vertical Arts Architecture from a junior position to project architect and interior designer—and today she’s partner and owner. During her eleven years at the firm, she’s led teams on some of Vertical Arts’ most important residential and commercial projects.
“I make it my mission to ensure Vertical Arts’ designs shine above and beyond and prioritize the client relationships to ensure each knows how important they and their project are to the team.” As a result, O’Brien’s days are busy and multi-faceted. She can easily go from a first site-walk with a client to selecting bedding. “I love getting to work through every aspect of the design and get into the nitty gritty of window details while also getting to think through preliminary design concepts.”
This particular home is located on a unique lot at the edge of downtown Steamboat Springs—and fits perfectly into the existing neighborhood of traditional homes with its gable roof and rustic exterior. Meanwhile, the owners’ European, modern aesthetic instantly appears as you walk inside. “The lot’s steep grade required innovation and creativity to maximize views of Emerald Mountain on the main level of the home without interference from neighboring houses,” says O’Brien.
“The owners also wanted separate living quarters on the second level to serve as a mother-in-law suite complete with interior access and a private entrance from the garage.” To accommodate, the team sited the home at a 45-degree angle on the lot, allowing for unobstructed views, optimized by a wraparound front porch and a side yard that connects the home to the neighborhood.
Functionality was a priority for each space to ensure day-to-day livability. “The open floor plan is anchored by a galley kitchen layout with a pantry nested to the side. Modern Italian cabinets and a stainless steel backsplash are complemented by vintage elements, such as a rotary yellow phone,” she adds. “The neutral palette leaves room for vintage finds and evolving style.”
The home’s exterior is a blend of modern and traditional—distinctly mountain, with a mix of wood, steel and concrete with both gabled and flat roof tops. Lastly, the eye-catching front door (which was fabricated from hot-rolled raw steel) mimics a piece of art. You can’t miss it.
Vertical Arts uses 3D modeling, rendering and physical samples to bring the project to life; and the team models everything from furniture to artwork to make sure that their clients understand what they are getting.
“I like to find a grounding concept that is important to the owner and filter all decisions through that lens so that you make sure that every decision you make along the way is supporting and enhancing the vision. Our team is very collaborative so we are always talking, grabbing material samples and sketching different ideas together.”
This, she says, is ultimately what her partner and founder of the firm, Brandt Vanderbosch, was going for when he curated an immensely talented group of people with multiple disciplines.