Exploring the lap of luxury | VailDaily.com

Exploring the lap of luxury

Alex Miller

Special to the DailyA spacious dining and kitchen area at the Lodge at Vail.

VAIL – Typically, we drive past them and simply wonder what they must look like inside. Vail is home to some of the priciest and most opulent houses in the country, and this Sunday there’s a sneak peek at just a few of them.This year’s 34th annual Vail Mountain School Home Tour will feature eight residences in the Vail Village and Vail Golf Course area. The Home Tour is a fund-raiser for the school, which puts the money toward its student scholarship program.

“People want to support the school, and they also have a lot of curiosity about these homes they see when walking or driving by,” said Nancy Young, the school’s director of development.Young said about 800 people typically go through the homes every year on the third Sunday of September. More than 300 volunteers pull the event together, with students, parents and teachers all involved. “People plan their vacation around it,” Young said. “Seniors come from all over the state. They love to see the students and talk to them.”

The homesThis year, the featured homes will include some venerable Vail properties along with some newer designs. Some of them have been stayed in by the likes of Princess Di, President Ford and President Carter. Soaring ceilings, unique works of art and extraordinary views are featured in the homes, not to mention the kinds of high-end basics to make normal folk drool: super-duper dishwashers, fancy fridges and bathroom faucets that cost as much as a normal mortgage payment. But while the homes and trappings are the province of the rich, the cause is more down-to-earth. About 25 percent of Vail Mountain School’s students receive some form of tuition assistance, and the schools raises around $800,000 a year to provide that help. The Home Tour, Young said, accounts for about $70,000 of that total.

According to Home Tour volunteer Tracy Pesso, this year’s group of homes runs the gamut from “traditional” Vail architecture in the Bavarian style to more contemporary homes.”We’re seeing more of a twist this year, with some contemporary and Asian-contemporary designs,” she said. “People are pretty amazed, seeing these homes they normally wouldn’t get a chance to see.”In addition to the just-plain-curious, Pesso said, builders and architects – as well as people building their own homes – turn out for the Home Tour to get ideas on interior design, architecture and other aspects of building. For the owners, Pesso said, its important to reassure them that their homes will be taken care of during the tour.

“Each home has a captain, who’s in charge of the volunteers,” she said. “There’s also plenty of security, with everyone making sure the privacy and property are being respected.”Young said the event started in 1972 with a simple kitchen tour, evolving after people expressed an interest in seeing more of the homes. Included in this year’s event is a luncheon at the Vail Mountain School’s new campus, complete with a tour. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase items at the gourmet bake sale, which includes baked goods and casseroles prepared by area cooks.Vail Mountain School has been in existence about as long as Vail itself, opening in 1962 to serve the children of people working at the ski area. Since then, it has evolved into one of the state’s premiere private schools, serving students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or amiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado