“All that you can see for miles and miles is white—it’s absolutely pristine and perfect,” said Jim DeFrancia. “I love starting a big fire roaring in the fireplace and just standing there with a cup of coffee. It’s my favorite moment.”
The DeFrancias built their mountain home at Marabou Ranch in 2014 and have been enjoying the mountain lifestyle ever since.
Celebrating the authentic Western spirit, Marabou Ranch offers 1,717 acres of incredible ranch land located just five miles from Steamboat Springs. The ranch was designed for families who love the outdoors and an active lifestyle, with more than 75 percent of Marabou Ranch land dedicated to shared open space. Priced starting at $1.5 million, each homesite at Marabou Ranch is its own private refuge of at least five acres.
The DeFrancia’s 5,600 square foot, 5-bedroom house was designed by architect Robert Fitzgerald and built by Steamboat’s Amaron-Folkstead Builders.
The house features a traditional mountain ranch design, with the extensive use of natural materials like wood, stone and heavy timbers. The main level features open floorplan with a large great room with a fireplace, a master suite, a large kitchen with a center island and a dining room, with multiple access points to the expansive balcony.
“The core of the house is the Great Room—when the whole family is here, it definitely is where everyone hangs out,” said DeFrancia, a Colorado native and a long-time commercial real estate developer. “It was very important to us that each room offer a fantastic view of Steamboat’s famous ‘Sleeping Giant’ or Elk Mountain. The views are just fantastic all year round.”
Built into the side of a slope with a two-and-a-half-car garage, the house features a walkout lower level with four guest rooms and a large family room that opens up onto the lower deck with the fire pit and hot tub.
“We have seven children and seven grandchildren, so the outdoor fire pit gets a lot of use for roasting marshmallows,” said DeFrancia.
The house features vaulted ceilings made using Colorado pine beetle kill wood. The extensive hardwood floors were recycled from a barn in British Columbia and refinished.
“I really love that they have the really old-time, authentic character,” said DeFrancia. “It evokes the sense of a historic ranch structure with a cozy feeling, and yet at the same time, it is fully modern with lots of glass to enjoy the views. We want every one of our guests to feel comfortable, to know that when they come in the door there will be a fire in the fireplace and a pot of stew on the stove.”
A big draw for the DeFrancias and their extended family was Marabou Ranch’s extensive line-up of amenities.
The community gathering spot at Marabou Ranch is the River House Lodge, which features a gourmet kitchen and a dining room that seats 40, the Dead Horse Saloon and a billiards room. Owners can also enjoy the Downstream Spa, the zero-entry kid-friendly River’s Edge Pool with two hot tubs and a complete fitness center offering cardio machines, kinesis strength equipment and free weights.
Marabou is known for its extensive horse training program, with more than 20 miles of equestrian trails for its remuda of 20 horses to enjoy, a stone barn and a full-sized riding arena. Cynthia DeFrancia keeps her two horses at Marabou’s barn.
“The fabulous amenity package at Marabou was incredibly appealing to our family as it helps both draw the kids here and then entertain them,” said DeFrancia. “We also love that Marabou is a real ranch – we run cattle, we’ve got horses, we grow hay.”
All owners at Marabou Ranch can enjoy four weeks of lodging each year for their guests at the Owners’ Cabins, six luxuriously appointed retreats nestled along the Elk River featuring dual master suites, a loft, fireplaces, a full kitchen, flat screen TVs, steam showers and expansive decks.
Marabou Ranch employs a staff of guides to share their insights in everything from fly fishing and horseback riding to hunting and mountain biking. The Master Guide lineup includes three former Olympic skiers and snowboarders, a world title holder and pro rodeo champion, competitive mountain bike racer and more.
For skiers and snowboarders, Marabou Ranch owners have exclusive access to the private Mountain Camp at the base of Mount Werner next to Steamboat’s main gondola. This on-mountain cabin features ski lockers, a fully stocked bar and serves chef-prepared chili lunches.
“The real magic of Marabou is how close it is to Steamboat,” said DeFrancia. “It’s the ideal place if you want to enjoy ranch living—amazing views, cattle grazing—but still be very close to civilization. It really is quite unique.”
About Marabou Ranch
Surrounded by 1,717 acres of picturesque ranch land and open space, Marabou Ranch is a premier Colorado luxury ranch. Homesites start at $1.5 million for at least 5 acres, all offering sweeping panoramas of Steamboat’s Yampa Valley.
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