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A Historic Telluride Victorian is Reinvented

A talented design team and a savvy Venezuelan couple join forces to revive a home in Telluride’s historic district



Photography by David Patterson

How many people does it take to transform an ailing 1890s mining cottage in downtown Telluride into an expanded and refreshed dwelling suitable for modern life? In the case of a tiny Victorian on an enviable double corner lot, the answer was five: two architects, one interior designer and a pair of visionary homeowners who embraced the challenge of turning a warren of rooms with newspaper-insulated walls into a personal refuge.

“The process of figuring how to add to a house built in the 1800s is way more fun than building on a new property,” says the husband/homeowner, who is from Venezuela and was seeking a haven for himself, his wife and their three daughters. “Houses in Latin America tend to be more formal, but here we wanted spaces that were casual and fully integrated.”


The refurbished Victorian façade features restored siding and a new standing-seam metal roof.

Architect Tommy Hein took the lead by lifting up the house and adding a new foundation. Following strict local preservation codes, the original carved columns and wood siding were repaired and repainted, and the front door was replaced with an exact replica of its Victorian predecessor. A new building sheathed in reclaimed wood that contains a master suite, office and additional bedrooms is simpatico with the historic structure. “It’s based on a barn that once existed on the rear of the property,” Hein says.


Janus et Cie lounge chairs surround the fireplace, the reclaimed wood dining table is by Studio Frank, and the white Eames-style chairs are from DWR.

On the front a 21st-century version of a picket fence composed of steel pickets in varying sizes lines the landscape. Designed by project architect Narcis Tudor, he explains, “The owners wanted a fence with life and movement so we turned the pickets at 90-degree angles to create a crescendo pattern that looks like a wave from certain angles.”


Vintage Charlotte Perriand chrome bar stools with original leather seats line the honed quartzite island, with the same material repeated on the countertops. Timeless Millworks did the wire-brushed oak cabinetry, and the textured limestone floors continue outside.

Inside, the demolition of the front parlor and minuscule bedrooms resulted in one open living and dining area, and a new steel structure in the once-flat ceiling further expanded the space while meeting current snow load requirements. Meanwhile interior designer Catherine Frank stepped in to design a wood ceiling pattern out of European white oak with a weathered finish. “When we opened it up things were a little wonky as they might have been in mining days, but we decided to just let the space be asymmetrical,” says Frank, who made furniture selections with that in mind. In accordance, a modular Living Davini sofa that allows for multiple seating arrangements, a B & B Italia rocker and a black leather Paulistano armchair are all equally at home in the slightly irregular space. 


Knoll Saarinen armchairs provide comfy seating, and the matte black chandelier is by David Weeks.

A freestanding sculptural fireplace—a modern rendition of the old wood burner that might have graced a corner of the room—provides a warm glow, and the intentional lack of a television as a focal point further emphasizes the family goal of making their Colorado home a sanctuary.


In the kitchen the bar glide wood fixture is from Lightology.

Furnishings are kept to a minimum in the living room, where the Living Davani sofa from Town is the centerpiece. The B&B Italia rocker is from Light Spot Modern Design, and the leather armchair is from DWR. 

A galley space that contains the kitchen, where a quartzite-topped island runs the length of the room, links the old and new structures. Wire-brushed European white oak cabinets with a modern horizontal grain signals a shift in design. “It was a tough decision whether to continue the wood on the ceiling, but we decided it needed to be bright and clean so it was clear where the old gable ends and the new construction begins,” says Frank about the modern connector that connects to the added lower level and sleeping quarters.


A blue velvet B&B Italia bed resting on a milk Suri alpaca rug from ABC Carpet & Home defines the master suite.

The same white oak cabinets and quartzite counters seen in the kitchen repeat in the master bathroom.

Architect Tudor designed the wood-and-blackened-steel staircase that leads down to the daughters’ bedrooms and up to the office and master suite. In the latter a platform bed swathed in lush velvet resting on a milk Suri alpaca rug creates a cozy cocoon-like environment.  The husband reflects, “Telluride is our safe haven. Catherine and the architects totally respected us and that idea and gave us everything we wanted.”


In the powder room a mirror by Skol Studios hangs above a marble sink by Studio Frank.

Studio Frank designed the mudroom hooks.

WOOD WONDERS
When interior designer Catherine Frank brought an 1890s Victorian into the present century, she introduced wood in varying forms in every room to achieve a variety of goals. TEXTURE Be it weathered beams or ceiling trusses in the living room or an accent wall in a bedroom, the juxtaposition of rough wood with smooth walls creates visual interest. GOING HORIZONTAL Running grain patterns horizontally on things like kitchen cabinets and bath vanities turns traditional wood into a modern statement. WARMTH There’s nothing like wood to warm up a space. Pairing stone floors with a weathered wood ceiling or the reverse—a clean-lined vault with distressed wide plank floors—makes the temperature rise. CONTINUITY Elements like built-ins and staircase treads along with the more usual wood floors and cabinets create flow and tie spaces on every level of a home together. 

DESIGN DETAILS
ARCHITECTURE Tommy Hein Architects INTERIOR DESIGNER Catherine Frank Studio CONSTRUCTION Tandem Custom Builder

As seen in the March/April 2019 issue

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