Carving a life in the mountains

Donna Daniels
Post Independent Staff

Dick Veit has a theory about mountain homes. Rather than being projected out into the landscape they should meld with the mountains.

That’s exactly what he did with his and his family’s homes above Carbondale. The four houses are built into the hillside on the south edge of an open meadow with spectacular views of Mount Sopris and the peaks around Aspen and Snowmass.

Dick, who is an architect, designed his home, a home for his daughter, a home for his wife Jane and recently a cozy guest house on 125 acres just south of Carbondale.

The Veits are transplants from Connecticut and have been in the valley since 1989.

Dick’s daughter, who lived in the valley, convinced him to move out from Connecticut in 1989. Dick then asked family friend Jane to join him and his daughters in the purchase of the property. Although he built a home for Jane they were married before it was completed and Jane never actually lived in it. It is now leased out.

Dick and Jane’s home is tall and angular, but bright and airy. And it has a 13-foot ficus tree growing in the middle, all the way up the staircase.

An inside elevator also makes getting from floor to floor easy, although Dick insists it’s only for “cases of beer and taking out the trash.”

Anchoring the 3,000-square-foot house is the kitchen dining room at ground level, which is dominated by an ornate woodstove.

“We spend a lot of time here,” Dick said.

Just outside the kitchen door are two rough wooden planks that lead to an odd-shaped deck that Dick calls the “cockpit.”

“I like ships, you see. I was a mate on oil tankers for 15 years,” he said. “It’s like being on the water.”

Up a short flight of stairs is the living room, painted in what Dick said is “Veit red,” a custom deep red with a hint of burnt umber. Built-in shelves have well-read books and Chinese ceramics. A glass-topped coffee table built by Dick displays his father’s collection of antique Japanese samurai sword guards.

On the walls here and in all the rooms with wall space are paintings by Dick’s father Russell Veit and his grandfather, French impressionist Maurice Bompard.

Upstairs are two bedrooms, Dick and Jane’s and a guest room. Outside the rooms in a narrow hallway is a poster of a Valkyrie with an old-fashioned bicycle.

“This represents my wife’s character,” said the dry-witted Dick. “She’s a female warrior.”

On the upper level is a garage that houses a sleek boat built by Dick and next door is his shop where he created the built-in cabinets for the house and an ornate gingerbread house bird feeder that hangs on a tree by the kitchen door.

Down the road that hugs the foot of the southern hillside is the guest house that Dick designed and had built this year. It’s shipshape and comfortable inside with a small living area with big picture widows looking out on Mount Sopris and pullout beds. There is a small sleeping loft overhead with a pull-down staircase.

Just off the living room is a galley-like kitchen and a bathroom.

Out the front door there is a wooden walkway bordered by a tubular metal railing reminiscent of the ship’s railings from the tankers Dick served on.

The walk leads to another cockpit deck with bench seats.

Dick and Jane share a large family that includes lots of grandchildren. The couple reasoned that if their daughters’ families had a place of their own where they didn’t worry about the kids they’d come to visit more often. And that has proven true, Jane said.

Now, with spring well along in their meadow, Jane has cleared her raised garden beds on the side of the house and peonies are reaching toward the sun. And hummingbirds zizz around a feeder.

All is in order in Dick and Jane’s world.

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