Big Plans, Big Views

A casual mountain getaway on the slopes of Sunday River provides plenty of space for family bonding and outdoor exploring.

“There’s a theme to our house,” says Stacey Edelstein as she wraps her hands around a steaming mug of coffee. “I don’t ever want to take out a bottle of Windex if I don’t have to.” Her husband, Rob Edelstein, laughs and nods his agreement. “I envisioned this house as our forever family space,” he explains of his Sunday River ski chalet. “It’s supposed to be family- friendly. There’s nothing in this house that feels uncomfortable—there’s no uptight atmosphere here. You can leave that at the door.”

The house, which was designed and built in 2014 by Bruce Lilly and Jason Lilly of Clearwater Builders in Bethel, is lavish in its comforts, from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you tuck into bed. The 6,500-square-foot house features a home theater (complete with a popcorn maker and leather recliners), a downstairs guest suite, a large deck with an outdoor hot tub, and an open floor plan that merges the living room and kitchen. This airy primary space is framed by large wood beams and lit by a wall of windows, which face the snow-coated white trails of Sunday River. “When we first situated the house, we focused on making the most of that view,” Stacey says. “We also knew from the beginning that we wanted something open-concept. When you’re entertaining, everyone wants to be in the kitchen. Even with big parties (and we like to have big parties of up to 60 people), you’ll find that the biggest cluster is around the kitchen.”

The Edelsteins worked closely with Bruce Lilly during the design-build process to ensure that the finished house would suit their lifestyle, while answering to the ever- changing needs of their four kids, Ashley, Michaela, Brooke, and Ross (who range in age from 12 to 21). “When we built the upstairs, I wanted to keep in mind the fact that we won’t just have our single children forever,” Stacey says. The bedrooms for the two oldest girls already feature king-sized beds that look out over the mountain, and the downstairs guest suite was planned to maximize privacy. “It’s as far away from the action, and as separate as we could make it,” Rob adds. “Whichever of our kids has

children first can use it and have a lot of privacy for their family.”

They also considered their kids’ various hobbies and interests; although they’re
a skiing family, not everyone is equally excited about riding the Chondola. Rob has been skiing since he was three years old— “It’s my passion and my vice,” he jokes—and Stacey has been skiing since she was 18, but Ashley and Brooke are more interested in other outdoor pursuits, like horseback riding (Ashley) and hiking (Brooke). “As parents, we know that our kids aren’t just extensions of us,” Rob says. “It’s important that we let them find their own passions and discover what makes them happy.” Since they do like to spend vacations together, they decided to build a house that could accommodate their kids’ friends and provide plenty of entertainment for the non-skiers among them. (Hence the home theater and indoor gym.) “Brooke might not ski all weekend long,” says Rob, “but she can still come up here, work out, hang out with her friends, and have a great time.”

Since the Edelsteins knew they would be entertaining guests frequently, they decided to keep the decor as unfussy as possible—both to foster a sense of casual hospitality and to cut down on cleaning. They picked granite with a leatherette finish for the kitchen counter surface, “which means it never gets fingerprints on it,” says Stacey. With the design advice of Sheila Lilly (wife of Bruce Lilly), Stacey chose furnishings that felt suitably informal and rustic. “You’ll see a lot of leather throughout the house because it’s an easy surface to clean,” explains Stacey. Leather also wears well. The Edelsteins’ large leather sofa will become buttery soft over the years, each scratch adding character and a sophisticated patina of age. In the downstairs hallway, Bruce Lilly installed a sliding barn door, which hides storage cubbies and drawers from sight. A nearby door opens directly onto Ridge Run Trail, so after a long day outdoors, the kids can ski directly up to the house, unload their gear, and head upstairs to the kitchen for a snack. While the upstairs features hardwood floors, the team opted for tile in these heavily trafficked areas, making it easy to quickly mop up any mud or snow that gets tracked in.

While the Edelsteins’ ski chalet is forward- thinking in its design, it also pays tribute to the family’s history. Around the house, you’ll find framed family photographs hung in distressed wooden frames, as well as collages of the kids’ ski passes and other bits of winter-themed paraphernalia, like old trail signs and vintage wooden sleds.

Although Stacey and Rob had to make hundreds of decisions during the design- build process, the biggest choice—where to locate their long-term vacation spot—was a no-brainer. “We were coming up here every other weekend for years,” says Rob. “We’ve brought a lot of families up here, and so many of our friends have bought houses nearby.” Stacey, who is on the board of the Sunday River Advisory Council, says she feels right at home in the Newry area. “For me, it’s an amazingly positive sign that Sunday River always wants to hear from everyone. They want to do a good job, and so they listen to every bit of feedback about everything, from wedding planning to snowmaking to housekeeping.”

“Plus, Sunday River is unique in that it’s really family-oriented,” Rob says. “We’ve spent a lot of time at other mountains, and some have great nightlife scenes while others feel very New York. But Sunday River is geared towards families.” For a dedicated skier like Rob, the mountain’s snowmaking capacity is another major draw. “They have unlimited water up here,” he says. “Other mountains have water limitations, but Sunday River can make snow whenever, even in low-snow years. And the grooming? It’s just phenomenal.” With endless snow, easy access to trails, and plenty of space for family and friends, this modern ski house may be newly constructed, but it seems destined to receive that elusive designation—a forever home.