A remodeled bachelor pad in Vail proves you don’t need a mansion to have the mountain getaway of your dreams
The design orders for this remodeled condo in Vail Village’s Rams-Horn Lodge were straightforward: “Make the most of every square inch, just like in a ship,” the client said.
Easier said than done. But architect Kyle Webb and interior designer Cindy Bardes Galvin couldn’t pass up what was a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity: The Rams-Horn Lodge owners’ association had agreed to overhaul the old, nondescript building, giving the condo owner a chance to create a space with everything he wanted—and nothing he didn’t. “We used every square inch,” Webb says. “We worked out every little nuance of every detail.”
In less than 2,500 finished square feet, the pair packed in four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a comfortable dining room, a gorgeous kitchen, and family and living rooms with plenty of space to lounge. How? The living spaces form essentially one expansive room that makes the most of the condo’s unobstructed views of Vail Mountain to the south and the Gore Range to the east. The bedrooms are cozy and comfortable, but not enormous.
With the footprint designed, Galvin visited the owner’s California home to get a sense of how he lives. “He told me, ‘I love wood,’” she says. But instead of creating a brown, lodge-style getaway, Galvin opted for a fresher interpretation. She selected heathered gray, rough-sawn reclaimed snow fencing from Wyoming for the fireplace wall in the living room and the bar area in the kitchen. Next she added doors, casing, trim and crown molding in a custom smoked-gray finish. These muted hues set the stage for the rest of the condo.
To pull off the relatively monochromatic color scheme, Galvin selected a wide range of materials that add depth and texture. She covered the living and dining room walls in a buttery yellow vinyl wallpaper by Thibaut with a python-skin texture. She chose black marble for the fireplace and added nickel carpet tacks to the wood surround for a bit of shine. In the kitchen, she opted against boring painted drywall and instead covered the walls in one-by-eight-inch shiny porcelain tiles. Metal-and-linen chandeliers from Gabby light the space. And in each bedroom, Galvin added a coffered ceiling and “popped an accent color” into the recessed squares. “It’s easy to forget the ceilings, but this trick is a good way to add architectural interest,” she says.
Next, Galvin layered on rugs, furnishings and fixtures that look and feel both sophisticated and casual. The living room hosts a chenille gray-and-yellow sofa, two squared-off wingback chairs in a gray-and-yellow stag print, a leather trunk-inspired side table, and a two-toned wood coffee table with an iron base. The family room seats 15 on a handsome sectional sofa covered in highly durable ultrasuede; two additional “airplane” chairs in leather with riveted aluminum backs and bases are both playful and masculine. The bedrooms embody softness, courtesy of upholstered headboards, textured blankets and coverlets, and patterned window treatments.
“People tend to think that bigger is always better, and that you can only get ‘real design’ in a large space,” Galvin says. “That’s just not true. This condo feels big enough but also intimate. It’s a home that’s beautiful and functions just as it should.”
Mix It Up
Designer Cindy Bardes Galvin is a master at mixing patterns to create the casual sophistication so many mountain-home owners want. So how does she do it?
Indulge in samples. “I pull at least 50 fabrics for each job,” Galvin says. As she decides on fixed finishes—like the snow fencing surrounding the living room’s fireplace—she edits down her stack to the fabrics that work best with the finishes.
Stick with a color palette. “You can do almost anything if you have a defined palette,” the designer says. In the master bedroom (right), Galvin upholstered the walls with a rich paisley fabric and then repeated the earthy colors in stripes, checks, solids and paisleys throughout the space to complete the look.
Don’t confuse pattern and texture. In the living room, the gray chenille sofa has the faintest hint of yellow thread. “To me, that’s not a pattern. It’s texture,” Galvin says. Small spaces that might be overwhelmed by bold patterns can handle—and will benefit from—a wide range of textures and materials.
Match your fabric to your lifestyle. Not all fabrics wear well, so pay attention to where you’ll use that fabulous linen-and-silk herringbone. “Pick mohair, cut velvet or chenille for anything that gets heavy-duty use,” Galvin suggests. Use linen or silk for pieces that get less use or for accents, such as pillows, that you can replace more easily.
ARCHITECTURE Kyle Webb, K.H. Webb Architects, Vail, CO, 970-477-2990, khwebb.com INTERIOR DESIGN Cindy Bardes Galvin, Bardes Interiors, Winnetka, IL, 847-441-1115, bardesinteriors.com WOOD FOR FIREPLACE WALL & BAR AREA Reclaimed snow fencing from Wyoming KITCHEN CHANDELIERS Lucia Chandelier by Gabby, gabbyhome.com BARSTOOLS Palecek, palecek.com ENTRY/HALLWAY WALLCOVERING Cordoba, available through Manuel Canovas, manuelcanovas.com MASTER BATH TUB Balneo Tub by BainUltra, bainultra.com GUEST ROOM WALLCOVERING Marcel from Stark, starkcarpet.com HEADBOARD UPHOLSTERY Windowpane Wool by Lee Jofa, leejofa.com DRAPES Estrella Christal by Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com MASTER BEDROOM WALL UPHOLSTERY Traquaire Paisley by Ralph Lauren Home, ralphlaurenhome.com DRAPERY TRIM Honeycomb by Groundworks, leejofa.com