The Summit House

The Summit House crowns the peak of Mount Thomas with commanding views in every direction. 

Designed by nationally renowned architect Donald Ruggles, it is based in part upon Frank Lloyd Wright’s precept that “the house should be part of the hill,” and not merely “on the hill.” True to that inspiration, the 11,300 square foot structure is stepped into, emerges from, and is shaped around the contour of the mountaintop. Like its surroundings, the Summit House is as beautiful as it is majestic. It is drenched in natural light, including from a clerestory feature at the apex of the kitchen. Its massive interiors, huge open spaces, vaulted ceilings, plentiful French doors, and ample decks and patios pay homage to the dramatic scenes of the mountains and valleys. It is in part, the citadel of a “Colorado Camelot,” a natural cathedral to the drama and romance of its picturesque natural surroundings.

Shortly after it was completed, the Summit House was featured in Colorado Homes magazine as a stunning achievement. To the owner, it is more than that – nothing less than the realization of a lifetime dream. So meticulous was its planning that the architect embraced the look and feel of authentic elements from Gilpin County’s mining heyday in the 1800’s (see Our Story or How the Dream Came True). So involved was the owner in the construction process that he quarried building stone and had himself suspended from a harness on a tower crane to approximate what the views would be from different aspects of the house. So intricate was its construction that his wife formed decorative tiles embossed with native plants in her own ceramics studio, that adorn the kitchen and bathrooms.

Consistent with its creative theme, the Summit House is constructed with enormous natural material elements, including an estimated 250 tons of granite quarried on the property. At great expense and with a genuine commitment to authenticity, massive beams were brought from an abandoned gold mill to fashion a post and beam masterpiece for the superstructure. Metal roofs and reclaimed lumber from a Montana gold mine augment the native stone. Broad plank old growth Eastern pine is used for flooring, and railings are custom fashioned from local pine logs and branches. Numerous antiques within reflect the era and pioneering spirit of the edifice.

One’s spirit rises with the approach to the summit. The charm starts before the front door opens. Within the courtyard is a lush high altitude garden containing flowering plants of many varieties, and a small bridge over an actual babbling brook. For a doorbell, there is a mounted antique school bell to signal that a welcome guest has arrived. When the oversized reclaimed wood door opens, the magic multiplies. 

Despite its authenticity, this house is no museum. It was also built for comfort and sublime enjoyment. Every room accommodates modern needs with timeless class. 

The Summit House extends over 2 floors, joined with 2 separate staircases and an elevator. Designed to promote indoor/outdoor gatherings of any size, its main living areas have tremendous volume, and open through 10 sets of French doors to a broad southwest side deck facing the Continental Divide. The great hall is the centerpiece, a rotunda whose exposed structural beams and impressive stone fireplace convey warmth and strength throughout its lofty interior. On one side of the hall is a corridor to the master suite, on the opposite side a corridor leads to the dining room, kitchen and family room. All of those spaces have windows and doors that permeate the home with natural light, bringing the outside within, and highlighting the drama of the mountain views in every season and time of day. 

The sprawling master suite on the north wing of the house is suitable for royalty. Its bedroom is another architectural marvel, with exposed beams and gigantic wrought iron structural braces that draw one’s eyes upward to the four windows of the cupola. Its windows and exterior door face north, and lead to a covered deck that winds around the west to the south side of the house, joining the uncovered main deck, which extends all the way to the far end of the dining room. The attached master bath and walk-in closet are spacious and gracious. Along the private hall leading to the master bedroom is a full sized study, with 3 sets of French doors leading to the covered porch, a section of which is equipped with an exterior fireplace that makes it possible to lounge in cozy comfort and enjoy the mountain air on cool evenings. Between the study and master bedroom is a home gymnasium for workouts which also faces the great outdoors, and a connecting half bathroom for further convenience. The master suite or north wing could easily be converted into a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom enclave, if one so chooses.

On the southern side of the great hall is the dining room, large enough to comfortably seat up to 16 guests, with 2 sets of French doors to the largest portion of the deck, which is currently also outfitted with an elongated table and chairs. This arrangement is intentional, facilitating an easy choice between formal and al fresco dining. But there is also a third choice, because connected to the dining room is the kitchen, with its own dramatic ceiling, and a volume so large as to have several areas in which casual eat-in dining is also a comfortable option. Its large island is bathed in natural light from the clerestory above, yet another unique and marvelous feature. Complementing the kitchen is a walk-in pantry and an open concept family room, complete with another large stone faced fireplace, built-in library shelving, bay window bench, and French doors to the pastoral front courtyard, the near edge of which is set with a breakfast patio table.  Between the hall and pantry is an elegant powder room serving the common areas. 

Beyond the family room is a large en suite bedroom, with walk-in bathtub, shower and a balcony, a flex/hobby room that could serve as an additional bedroom, the laundry room, elevator, stairway, and attached garage. 

True to the proportions of the house, the garage is large enough to hold 2 full sized SUV’s, along with 4 ATV’s, a motorcycle, as well as other equipment and supplies. The symmetry is striking: between the north (master) and south (kitchen/family) wings is the gated courtyard, the central axis of which aligns with the front door. A radiant heated gravel circle connects the courtyard, garage and driveway, making it readily usable throughout the winter without shoveling or plowing.

On the lower level, which is accessible by both stairways and the elevator, there is an interesting mix of functional and flexible spaces. Starting on the southwest side, directly under the rotunda, there are 2 large en suite bedrooms, each easily holding a king size bed and other furnishings, and each having 2 sets of French doors that open out to a large flagstone patio, enabling one to appreciate the mountain views, just as elsewhere in the house, from within or from the easily reached great outdoors.  The large hallway connecting these bedrooms to the rest of the lower level currently contains a “reading/play room,” piano area, game room with a regulation sized billiard table, a half bathroom, utility room, and as a special bonus, a ranch style “bunk room” (complete with 3 sets of mountain log bunk beds) that children love to share, along with the “secret room” that is down the hallway.

The Summit House as currently configured has 5 bedrooms and 4 full and 3 half bathrooms, but with flex rooms, it could easily convert to an 8 bedroom home. The grandeur of its common and private areas is only matched by the windows they offer to the splendor of the Rockies. 

To the discerning eye, the Summit House is enigmatic as well as dramatic. Extensive use of genuine reclaimed wood and native stone, hand forged or reclaimed hardware, period antique accent pieces, and log railings aside, underneath it all are thoroughly modern systems for simple but luxurious comfort. This includes efficient in-floor radiant heat, advanced audio visual and lighting systems, high efficiency boiler, 17,000 gallon water cisterns, 10,000 gallon fuel storage, and state of the art power and internet service.  In short, at the Summit House, you have the freedom to be as connected to the rest of the world as you wish, or alternatively, to be as detached from the distractions and instead be mindful of the past, communing with unspoiled nature and contemplating the eternal mountains.

                                                                                       [NOTE: under the Information tab, there are also floor plans of the Summit House; 

                                                                                         under the Photos tab, there are photos of the Summit House and Mount Thomas; 

                                                                                          under the Our Story tab, there is an explanation of how the dream became true; 

                                                                                 and on the Home page, be sure to follow the link to the video people are talking about ]

The Guest House

Just down the mountain from the Summit House is the Guest House, which was the original base of operations for the current owner. It is actually a dual purpose facility. The upper levels consist of a 2-story side-by-side duplex with optional conjoining doorway, of approximately 2,900 square feet. A shared laundry room is in the entry vestibule. Each of the units has an open concept full kitchen and great room with cathedral ceilings, plus 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, for a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Each unit also leads out to a large entertaining terrace that has amazing views of the mountains, for sunning, barbecues and star gazing. The quarters are suitable for family, friends, colleagues and other guests of the owner, bringing the potential bedroom total to 12.

Beneath the additional residential accommodations and terrace of the Guest House is a gigantic garage facility of approximately 3,700 square feet, half of which is heated and equipped as a mechanic’s shop to permit year round maintenance of vehicles and equipment, with an attached half bathroom. Housed within the garages are the bulk of the current owner’s collection of heavy equipment (listed under the Information tab as Equipment Available), which can be purchased by a buyer also intent on complete self-sufficiency. 

The quaint and cozy lodge-like aspect of the Guest House, together with the wood stove and sky lights in each unit, has been observed by many visitors to be a perfect “romantic getaway.” Its light and airy ambiance and breathtaking mountain views make guests instantly feel richly valued and welcomed. What becomes distinctly obvious to any visitor is that the Guest House might fairly be considered far more than adequate as a mountain home in any other place.

                                                                                           [NOTE: under the Information tab, there are also floor plans of the Guest House; 

                                                                                             under the Photos tab, there are photos of the Guest House and Mount Thomas; 

                                                                                    and on the Home page, be sure to follow the link to the video people are talking about]

The Caretaker Cottage

Like the Guest House, the Caretaker Cottage serves a dual purpose, on its different levels. The upper 2 levels are a flexible duplex, consisting of 2 separate but connectable units, each with an open concept full kitchen and great room, leading to an upstairs master bedroom and bathroom, and a flex third bedroom that can be conjoined to or separated from either unit. The living areas are about 2,800 square feet. A shared laundry room is in the entry vestibule, along with a coat closet and a half bathroom. More generous and accommodating than typical staff quarters, this structure increases the Mount Thomas’ existing bedroom count to 15. 

The lower level of the Caretaker Cottage is also a large, approximately 2,300 square foot multi-bay garage with 2 drive through bays, one of which is a master bay sized to accommodate a 45 foot long, 11 foot tall motor coach. It features full utility connections, as well as a carpenter’s shop, ceramics studio, mechanical bay, storage areas and another half bathroom, bringing the total bathroom count to 13.

In part, the quality of the Caretaker Cottage enables the owner to employ an excellent staff that may be willing to stay on and provide continuity of service. Its close proximity to the Barn enables the staff to lovingly tender to the needs of the “equine residents.” 

                                                                                         [NOTE: under the Information tab, there are also floor plans of the Caretaker Cottage; 

                                                                                          under the Photos tab, there are photos of the Caretaker Cottage and Mount Thomas;

                                                                                        and on the Home page, be sure to follow the link to the video people are talking about]


The barn

The Barn was custom designed by the current owner, a horse lover, to optimize efficiency in meeting the needs of the horses with a minimum of human effort. Utilizing the slope of Mount Thomas, its upper level is a large bale loft, with trap door drops to the feeders in each box stall below. It also contains ample storage for a wonderfully constructed horse drawn carriage for up to 6, and an authentic antique horse drawn sleigh from St. Moritz for up to 7 riders. The lower level has the 4 box stalls (2 of which are currently occupied by horses: Eagle and Falcon, both Morgan Percheron, which are available for sale), each of which has a feeder and automatic waterer, as well as a heated tack room with running water. Attached to the Barn are inner and outer corrals that give its current residents room to roam. For those who love horses and those who are attracted to them, there is no better place. The paths throughout Mount Thomas, the views of the mountains and wildflower meadows, are sheer heaven. 

                                                                                                     [NOTE: under the Information tab, there are also floor plans of the Barn; 

                                                                                                       under the Photos tab, there are photos of the Barn and Mount Thomas;

                                                                                     and on the Home page, be sure to follow the link to the video people are talking about]

The Pond House

The Pond House is its own special creation. Its setting is on the bank of a pond at the southern perimeter of Mount Thomas. The Spring melt down from the mountain and natural springs fill a basin that provides year round open water, ideal for winter ice skating, summer swimming, and other recreational opportunities, as well as providing drinking water for wildlife.  A round, rustic Pond House was built to promote full enjoyment of the pond, with windows on its entire perimeter, a fireplace that can warm all skaters, running water and a kitchenette that can serve all weather food and drink, and an interior that welcomes and shelters all, in any kind of weather. It has played host to countless barbeques and marshmallow toasts, ghost stories and tender moments, and memorable events in every season. If that were not enough, for the quiet observer, the most timid and beautiful wildlife come to drink from its pristine water.

                                                                                                    [NOTE: under the Information tab, there are also floor plans of the Pond House;

                                                                                                     under the Photos tab, there are photos of the Pond House and Mount Thomas; 

                                                                                            and on the Home page, be sure to follow the link to the video people are talking about]