Million-dollar views of Colorado’s Vail Valley inspire a design that celebrates simplicity and pureness of form
Kimberly Gavin and Teri Fotheringham
It’s easy to fall in love with the Vail Valley.
It’s tougher to find a slice of the valley that still feels untouched by the area’s ever-expanding development. But a few lucky souls find a way to build their own havens in one of Colorado’s most desirable spots. This home is just that kind of place.
Its owners had lived in the valley for a while, in a home along Gore Creek, where they loved everything but the sound of trucks braking on I-70. So they sought out a quieter spot and found it in the old homestead lot in Cattleman’s Club, a stretch of land in a valley west of Edwards that used to be a working ranch. The 4-acre lot has perfect views of the mountains—and not much else.
The owners gave architect Tom Cole, principal of Points West, clear instructions: They wanted (mostly) single-level living in a home that didn’t feel too big for two people or too small for a crowd. Cole was tasked to trade the typical mountain design vernacular for an airier, contemporary look—and he had to make the most of those eye-catching views.
The architect’s design delivers. The home’s structural system is nearly invisible, with no big wood beams or chunky columns to support its heft. Cole skipped the traditional gabled roof in favor of a shed roof that points perfectly to the majestic peaks behind the house. On the exterior, glass, stone and steel lend a handsome, contemporary feel.
Perhaps Cole’s greatest feat, however, is the master suite, perched on one end of the house and connected to the living spaces by an enclosed glass bridge that spans a water feature. “The owners loved the idea that there could be a discrete master suite that’s still connected to the rest of the house,” he says. “It feels intimate and yet part of the whole.”
Inside Cole’s well-conceived shell, interior designer Robyn Scott honored the owners’ wishes for a “Zen, organic, simple” space. The monochromatic palette, mainly warm browns and cool grays, gets a little spice from occasional pops of color. And Scott layered textures generously. For example, the master bedroom’s fireplace shows off limestone in three different textures, a trick that adds interest without taking away from the room’s glorious views. “Using the same materials in different applications or with varying textures creates that ‘Zen’ feel,” the designer says.
Materials inside the home take their cues from the outdoors: Fir on the ceiling extends outside, creating chemistry between indoors and out. Interior stone walls refer to the exterior, and as often as possible, walls of glass open to terraces for a blast of fresh high-country air and unobstructed mountain panoramas.
Nothing quite compares to those views, but the jaw-dropping kitchen comes close. Denver’s Studio Como designed the sleek oak Poliform cabinets; the wood has a striking grain, which the designers oriented horizontally. Concrete tiles cover the floor, and walnut planks top the bar.
The home’s total effect is peaceful, removed from the valley’s bustle but keenly connected to this part of Colorado. “It’s full of light and views,” Cole says. “It’s a sanctuary on this gorgeous site.”
Shop Like a Designer
Designer Robyn Scott reveals a few of her favorite sources for contemporary furnishings and fixtures:
Usona Home: Based in Philadelphia, this showroom curates unique pieces from some of Europe’s most fabulous manufacturers. “We love incorporating a piece or two from them in every project,” Scott says.
Room & Board: This Minnesota-based retailer brings contemporary furnishings to the masses—but with an eye for quality. Most pieces are created by American craftspeople. “You can mix and match with other stylized pieces,” Scott says.
Studio Como: This Denver showroom offers furniture and fixtures from coveted European sources, including B&B Italia, Poliform, and Ligne Roset.
Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery: Scott scouts this Santa Fe gallery for “large-scale works that make a statement in an interior,” she says. Art-lovers will find abstract paintings and sculpture from an impressive group of international artists.
Montecito Loft & Home: A jewel of a spot in Basalt, Colorado, about 20 miles from Aspen, this shop offers “fun gifts and well-priced contemporary furniture for small spaces,” Scott says. Scope out great finds from Alessi, Blu Dot, Knoll and other boutique manufacturers.