Hidden Gem: Storm King Mountain Ranch in Montrose
Storm King Mountain Ranch is a hidden gem of architectural beauty hugging the east edge of the Uncompahgre Valley at the foot of Storm King Mountain, ten miles south of downtown Montrose.
DC Structures, from Damascus, Oregon, began with the vision of owners Tara and Neal Teeples for a world-class wedding venue and special events locale. It had to be bold and elegant. Rugged, yet sophisticated. Rural enough, but easy to find. A serene, scenic site where the deer and the antelope roam, hewn from materials provided by Mother Earth. A carefully crafted combination of historic country flair and cosmopolitan big city. It must, above all else, cause brides, guests, and visitors alike to create a memory of a welcoming ranch; of home.
The Ranch was developed on 200 spectacular acres. A reverence for the history of the Valley and a love of community are clear through extensive use of durable recycled materials and old school construction techniques. An enormous, double-doored barn welcomes and easily seats up to 280 guests in the Great Hall. And windows flood the space with natural light.
Using reclaimed and repurposed lumber was priority number one. American Antique Lumber from Montrose obliged. Heirloom-quality materials were harvested from barns in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, some of which dated back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. Carefully gathered, they were then taken to a yard in Illinois, graded by American Antique Lumber specialists, shipped to Montrose, and put to use in their final resting spot. Everything from the 7000 sq. ft. foundation to the vertical plank siding with custom, iron, T-bar seams to clerestory windows and the distinctive, prominent cupolas poking out of the top of the roof are trimmed in this antique lumber.
It’s easy to admire the immense wooden elements throughout. Extreme care was taken in the choice of each. Fashioned from vertical grain Douglas fir, the posts and beams are all free of heart centers, meaning that there will be no buckling or warping of these plumbed and leveled supports. Ever. Other species of wood repurposed for this construction include northern white pine, hemlock, fir, and southern yellow pine. Unique, hand-crafted hardware, and old-fashioned fastening techniques are the hallmark of this one-of-a-kind structure. For instance, the mortise and tenon joints – which require no nails in construction – were used for their beauty as well as their historic functionality and durability. And almost-antiquated angled beam joints are not only stronger, but also look more refined than conventional methods.
Each window in the vast barn was strategically imagined and hung with specific aesthetic goals. From the outside walkway, the giant, bright chandeliers glow through high windows. Windows have been deliberately placed to ensure spectacular views: the namesake Storm King Mountain to the east, the magnificent San Juans directly south, and the impossible to miss Mount Sneffels through southwest facing windows.
The entire, smooth, concrete floor hides a state-of-the-art, high efficiency, radiant heated floor. With the overhead, redundant, forced-air system, no groom or bride, nor their guests, will ever feel a Colorado chill during the ceremony or reception.
Storm King Mountain Ranch began as a vision for the Valley. The dream, design, and construction by the owners with help from first-class architects and many local businesses and craftsmen are finally realized and fully functional. And there’s more to come — a chapel and cabins on the sprawling spread. Storm King Mountain Ranch offers brides-to-be an attractive alternative to dirt-floor barns and overpriced venues. And for those celebrating once-in-a-lifetime events or organizing charity events, Storm King Mountain Ranch should be on the short list of consideration.