Steamboat Style: West Elevation Architects
May 27, 2008
Driving through Steamboat, there are few houses that stand out among the typical Western-style homes ” and those that do are designed by Katie Kiefer. Clean lines and “a clarity in design and intent that match a bluebird day” sum up her style.
Born in Minnesota, Kiefer was a product of the 1960s and ’70s. While her dolls sat on a shelf, she played with Erector Sets and Linkin’ Logs. While most people endorsed a women-in-the-home attitude, Kiefer’s parents encouraged her love for building. Her grandfather, who taught her to work for a common goal and treat everyone with respect and dignity, is to this day a profound influence on how she runs West
Her fascination with structure led her to North Dakota State, where she received her bachelor of architecture. She moved to Colorado in August 1993, because of the lack of mosquitoes; she stayed for the openness of lifestyle and a landscape that seemed to perfectly fit her designs. Architectural Digest agreed that her work matched the climate when it featured one of her homes recently. Architecture Magazine and the Denver Post also have noted her compositions.
If she’s stuck on a building, she calls Vladmir Chahovsky, a former professor who viewed architecture as an “enchanting puzzle to be solved.” He taught her how shapes go together and let her realize her own expression in building.
What separates her work from the extravagance of the second home movement in Steamboat is her belief in an honest use of elements, a “zing where the right materials come together.” Nothing is extraneous; everything is for a purpose. Her business is moving toward a full-service design company where she does all the building and furnishing of homes, including custom furniture for clients.