Sweet Dreams With Victoria Hagan
The acclaimed designer shares 10 blissfully beautiful vacation homes in her new book
Autumn-hued Ralph Pucci chairs blaze among the neutrals.
In a world inundated with clutter and noise, Victoria Hagan’s interiors are a breath of fresh air.
Her elegant American style—crisp, classic and always cool—is celebrated in Dream Spaces, a swoon-worthy collection of beach retreats, city apartments and alpine getaways—all second and third homes for her celebrated clients. We talk with Hagan about the new book and the Aspen aerie featured within its pages.
Mountain Living: Tell us about the title, Dream Spaces.
Victoria Hagan: This book represents the last few years of projects I’ve been working on. I’m involved in creating people’s dreams. I think there’s something really magical about that, and I wanted to share the love and fun I have working every day.
“When I think about creating an interior, I never want it to be understood on one level—you want it to have depth; you want it to have layers,” Hagan says. The living room of this Aspen aerie features a Victoria Hagan-designed coffee table flanked by a custom sofa, warmed by a custom silk-and-wool rug.
ML: You describe your fascination with “how the qualities of light and space make you feel.” How does that apply to designing a home in the mountains?
VH: I love the inspiration of nature; I think there is nothing better. In my work, I’m always talking about looking at the big picture. I pull out: I look at the surroundings, I look at the scale, and the power of the mountains. And then I bring myself back in, and I think: “How do I want to feel sitting by the fire?” So I’m always looking at the juxtaposition and always very much keeping in mind how one might feel.
A circa 1960 antique desk is paired with a custom chair in Edelman leather, atop a custom silk rug.
ML: You describe a retreat as “A place where you feel like your wishes have been granted, where you can feel comfortable just being yourself.” What do you think makes you so adept at understanding your clients?
VH: I’m a very good listener, so I listen to what I hear and what I don’t hear. And as a designer I’m very open to the possibilities: I really try and put myself in my clients’ shoes and put myself in my clients’ eyes to see things the way they see them. I think the secret of my success as a designer is that I’ve always had great belief in the creative process, and if you trust that you will end up in a very special place.
Custom sofa, Paul McCobb chair, artwork by Richard Prince. Hagan says, “I have to admit, the color of the sofa was inspired by the color of the aspen trees.”
ML: What was this Aspen home like before you started the project?
VH: There was this spectacular view, but the home wasn’t really open to it. We wanted to capture the majesty of Ajax [aka Aspen Mountain] and how important that was to the whole experience of being in the home. So it was really almost being brave enough to open this house up but at the same time creating these cozy backdrops to enjoy the seasons. It was a full renovation; a real reimagining.
“It’s not rustic wood, it’s more of a refined, cerused wood—along with crisp white accents,” Hagan says. Custom cabinets, Glassos countertops, and Henry Beguelin barstools.
ML: And the kitchen?
VH: This kitchen is special because it’s open—to the dining room, to the breakfast area, to the family room—and you can see it from the living room. So it’s really the heart of the home. In many mountain homes the kitchen is where everyone gathers in the morning and end of day.
— Interior Designer Victoria Hagan
Custom chairs in Romo fabric beside a bronze-clad fireplace.
ML: Do you have any design tips for a mountain home?
VH: I don’t think you should follow any rustic rules—rules are made to be broken. You should always think about being in touch with your lifestyle, what’s comfortable, what’s right for you. It’s all about how it makes you feel.
You know, you see these homes and you don’t see anyone in them. And what you’re missing is the laughter. That’s what I enjoy: places where you can hear the laughter and really just have a good time and get away.
An antique table rests beside a sophisticated custom armoire with unexpected hair-on-hide panels adding rich texture and color.
ML: Do you have any favorite places to stay, eat or shop in Aspen?
VH: What’s so special about Aspen is that it has a real personality. It can be as fun or as quiet as you like; as active or as slow-moving as you like. My favorite place to stay is at the Nell at the bottom of Ajax. And Gorsuch, the clothing store, is a longtime favorite. There are so many restaurants; I’m always looking to try a new one.
1930s-era chairs stand beside a Ralph Pucci console.
A sumptuous custom bed is matched with vintage stools, Roman Thomas chairs and a Homer Design pendant.
Bubbles meet bath.
ML: Do you have a favorite Aspen memory?
VH: Fly-fishing with my son.
ML: Did you catch anything?
VH: Of course we did. [Laughter] Nothing to write home about, but it was a lot of fun.