A Lofty Vision
Subtle architectural updates and a harmonious palette of finishes and furnishings make a small Aspen condo feel as expansive as its surroundings
James Ray Spahn
"I had a vision," says Bob Mayer of the impetus for his dramatic transformation of a 1,170-square-foot condominium in Aspen, Colorado. Driven by that vision, Mayer turned the residence—located within 25 feet of the Little Nell run and Aspen’s gondola—from a cramped and cluttered 1970s-style cliché in shades of green and maroon to a surprisingly spacious modern mountain retreat.
The compact space now feels much larger than its dimensions thanks to the skillful work of Mayer, owner and president of Bomar Builders in Deerfield Beach, Florida, a firm that specializes in “very high-end” oceanfront homes. Collaborating with architect George R. Winne of GRW Architecture in Carbondale, Colorado, and Delray Beach, Florida, and builder Steve Smith of Steve Smith Construction in Aspen, Mayer served as his own interior designer, selecting a palette of finishes and furnishings that function with contemporary ease while subtly referencing the Rocky Mountain region’s mining past.
Before those design elements could be applied, however, Mayer and his team embarked upon a series of structural changes to make the condo live larger despite its compact footprint. They began by rebuilding the loft that juts out above the kitchen, supporting its new plank floor with exposed Glulam beams. As a result, the cooking space’s ceiling height was raised from 7 to almost 8 feet. “A couple of inches here and a couple of inches there,” says Mayer, “can make all the difference in the world.”
In each of the home’s two main bedrooms, Mayer gave up one foot of width in order to expand the adjoining baths. This small change enabled him to add a large tub/shower combination to the master bathroom and a walk-in shower with bench to the other. “Now the baths don’t feel tight,” he observes, noting that the bedrooms still comfortably accommodate queen-size beds.
Mayer also reconfigured the size and position of a half-bath in the loft, turning it into a full bath. Now, when the loft’s newly installed pocket doors are rolled out along the railing, the space becomes a self-contained suite that comfortably sleeps two.
Those barn-style pocket doors blend harmoniously with other new finishes and details that evoke the region’s traditional vernacular. The entry foyer, for example, is lined with wooden columns and mirrors designed to recall a mineshaft. But instead of feeling constricting, this hallway opens up to the living area, which was given a matching grid of columns and knotty alder paneling that are reflected in the mirrors, visually doubling the space.
Subtle trompe l’oeil effects continue throughout the condo’s bedrooms and bathrooms. The walls of the master bathroom, for example, feature real knotty-alder columns that frame large horizontal porcelain tiles designed to resemble the sort of rusted-steel plates you might find on a mine’s retaining wall. The guest bathroom’s walk-in shower also tricks the eye with tile that looks remarkably like wood planks. “They look rough, but they’re very smooth,” Mayer notes.
The surfaces he chose hew to warm earth tones that blend with the home’s furniture and accessories of natural wood, leather and antiqued metal, as well as touches of rubbed hair-on cowhide. “Everything ties in and blends with everything else,” Mayer explains. “Nothing ever calls attention to itself. Keeping the space flowing visually in this way keeps it feeling spacious.”
And, you could well add, it brings Bob Mayer’s vision to full fruition.
LOFT COUCH Java Leather Couch by American Leather from A. Design, adesigninc.net COFFEE TABLE Vintage Cotton Bale Cart Table from Napa Style, napastyle.com FOYER MARBLE FLOORING Fossil Grey Stone from Marble of the World, marbleoftheworld.com SCONCES “Wilmington” by Troy-SCL Lighting from Ferguson Enterprises Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL LEATHER STOOL Regency Pillowtop Leather Stool from Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com PHOTOGRAPHY Vintage KITCHEN/DINING AREA KITCHEN MARBLE Bronzonite Polished from Marble of the World, marbleoftheworld.com SINK Farmhouse Copper Sink from Copper Sinks Direct, copperheadsinks.com COUNTER STOOLS Low Back Counter Arm Chair by Jonathan Charles from Splash Home Furnishings, 970-928-0029 FAUCET Reserve Collection by Sigma from Elegant Hardware, eleganthardware.com LIVING/DINING AREA DINING TABLE BASE Parson Base from Room & Board, roomandboard.com DINING CHAIRS Hair on Hide Dining Chairs from Farmhouse, 990-945-7500 WOOD FLOORS Custom by Absolute Hardwood Flooring, 561-833-5720 LIVING ROOM LEATHER BENCH from Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com OTTOMAN Charles Ottoman from Pottery Barn, potterybarn.comwesternpassion.com COUCH Kaden Queen Size Sleeper by American Leather from A. Design, adesigninc.net OCCASIONAL CHAIRS Vincent Accent Chairs by American Leather from A. Design, adesigninc.com TV CABINET RHYS Media Lift Console from Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com PAINTING by John Schyler from Addison Gallery, addisongallery.com LAMPS Flor Surrey Lamp from Williams-Sonoma, williams-sonoma.com FANS The Brewmaster by Fanimation from Fan World, 561-734-1111 HURRICANE CANDLES from Retro Interiors, retrointeriors.net LAMP Antique Bronze Pharmacy Floor Lamp from Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com LANTERNS Vintage SOFA PILLOWS Suede Pillows from Ralph Lauren, ralphlauren.com MASTER BEDROOM BEDDING from Ralph Lauren, ralphlauren.com BEDSPREAD Classic Faux Fur Bedspread from Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com DRESSER 12-Drawer Dresser from Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com NIGHTSTAND 3-Drawer Nightstand from Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com LAMP Tripod Lamp from Williams-Sonoma, williams-sonoma.com BED Copeland Queen Bed by American Leather from A. Design, adesigninc.net LAMP Simon Table Lamp from Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com NIGHTSTAND Eaton Trunk from Antiques & Country Pine, 954-698-0442, CARPETING 3-Piece Suit by New Classic from Exclusive Carpet Collection, 516-416-5688