An HGTV Host’s Mountaintop Fixer-Upper

Jennifer Farrell transformed this Wolf Peak aerie
Wolf Peak Interior Shot By Monica Orozco

The sculptural staircase takes center stage in the design. To update the space, Farrell painted the original brick fireplace and installed a “bulletproof” tile floor in a herring- bone pattern for interest. | Photo by Monica Orozco


Like an eagle perched atop the rocky crest of the mountain, Jennifer Farrell’s bespoke modern A-frame appears iconic in its majestic setting.

Farrell donned many hats as the architect, designer, landscape architect and engineer for the project, which includes a magnificent floating, curved glass staircase.

Named Wolf Peak for the shape of the rocky outcropping behind the home, the nature-inspired residence combines elegant modern design with European charm, resulting in a one-of-a kind mountain hideaway.

Design Dine

The open A-frame shape captures the site’s riveting views and offers space for dramatic statement lighting above the sleek dining table. Photo by Monica Orozco


Wolf Peak Hideaway
Location: California
Size: Home is 3,000 sq. ft. 4 bedrooms, 4 acres
Architecture & Interior Design:  Jennifer Farrell

Design Ext

The secluded site adjoins a national park, and protective covenants required creative thinking. Limited by the original footprint and the narrow ridgeline lot, Farrell extended the space by connecting the interior and exterior with large windows and doors. “You live in the mountains so you can enjoy the natural beauty,” she says. Photo by Marc Angeles

“Great design requires ingenuity,” remarks Jennifer Farrell, HGTV host, Lamps Plus ambassador and owner of Jennifer Farrell Designs. While the dismal state of this California mountaintop fixer-upper deterred others, Farrell envisioned a dramatic, graceful space utilizing the roofline as a sculptural focal point. She knew the home’s disjointed floor plan and rickety staircase had to go. “Nothing made sense,” Farrell recalls. “After opening the front door, visitors walked straight into a wall!”

The designer managed to add over 800 square feet of living space without moving any exterior walls. “I often tell my clients to embrace what they are working with and enhance it. Doing that for myself made me open my brain a bit more. I told myself, ‘Don’t fight the architecture; make it dramatic!’” explains Farrell.

Design Ext Side

The breathtaking glass-and-metal mountaintop retreat underwent an astounding aesthetic transformation that required months of detailed planning and a year of construction. Photo by Marc Angeles

Now, the secluded A-frame, remade in glass and steel, mirrors its spectacular alpine setting.

The home’s interior transformation required invention to open the space and add natural light. Rather than demolishing the ceiling of the A-frame, Farrell enhanced it by removing the popcorn texture and adding faux beams. Large sculptural glass pendants draw the eye up to the 20-foot peak while walls of glass on both ends enlarge the scope of view.

Jennifer Farrell Shot By Monica Orozco

Farrell’s casual, elegant aesthetic includes practical choices for real-life living. “Interior design will always be about people and how they live,” she suggests, shown with her Australian shepherd, Camper. Photo by Monica Orozco

“Less is more. But make the less bigger,” she remarks. Her preference for clean and open design—“always with a touch of whimsy”—was pushed to new heights when building the staircase. “I wanted something light and airy, like you were flying as a bird,” she explains of the free-floating, curved structure.

“This is the hardest design I’ve ever done, but the one I am most proud of,” — Jennifer Farrell

To make it work she enlisted the help of engineers and mathematicians across six continents. “I needed to be particular in the design: It needed to not obstruct the exterior front-to-back view, change the pitch of the roof, alter the entry side or front walls or raise the catwalks.”

The result, albeit not without a refresher in calculus, is the interior focal point of the home.

Design Kit

Comfortable Zuo Modern velvet bar stools in hunter green nod to a traditional mountain design color scheme while providing contrast to the cool neutral palette. Farrell selected 24-inch Occoto pendants from Lamps Plus for a statement look above the kitchen island. Photo by Monica Orozco

To complement the Swiss chalet-style vibe, Jennifer opted for a European aesthetic by switching out dark woods with lighter shades and layering in rustic accents and items with a homespun look, including fabrics with woven texture. Her cozy, modern lodge feel is achieved by using stark white walls to reflect natural light, causing the whole space to glow.

In addition, she turned to mirrors and unique fixtures to create multiple tiers of light. “Mirrors are a designer’s best friend,” she offers. “Mirrors capture something, so make it something that glows—either the smile on your face or light from a window.”

Design Bed

In the primary bedroom, Farrell installed Lamps Plus cube pendants above bedside tables in place of table lamps. “They provide beautiful light,” she explains, “and are visually unique.” Photo by Monica Orozco

Farrell is drawn to “amorphic” accent pieces, especially mirrors and light fixtures, because their organic shapes hold the eye.

“Strip things down, and use oversized shapes and bold choices,” she encourages. To add dramatic interest, for example, she hung 24-inch pendants above the kitchen island. And, for a whimsical touch, she opted for cube-shaped pendants above bedside tables rather than lamps in the main bedroom.

Design Living

For a cheerful twist on kitsch log accents, Farrell selected tree-trunk coffee tables painted gold. She advises, “Add a smile to your design with personal, fun and unexpected details in the space.” Photo by Monica Orozco

The nature-inspired palette of white, gray and black throughout the home is accented with pops of gold and hunter green. Repeating the bold hue creates a cohesive feel.

The wood-look tile flooring laid throughout is “bulletproof” for real-life living. “Whether you are bringing veggies in from the garden or the dog back from a hike, you don’t want a surface which is pretty but doesn’t appreciate the use,” advises Farrell of the practical choice. “A house shouldn’t be taken too seriously,” she adds.

Design Bath

In the main bath, pendants save space and balance light above his-and-her vanities. Photo by Monica Orozco

The rugged setting proved the catalyst from the very beginning. “The view from this house is everything; it’s magical,” exclaims Farrell of the aptly coined Wolf Peak residence.

Her overhaul required her to call on her design instincts and years of experience to turn the dated house into a pinnacle of modern mountain design.

Design Umbrella

“The sunsets here are everything,” exclaims Farrell. Photo by Marc Angeles

“We took something which had very little hope and made it into something that feels so appropriate for its site. It feels like the mountain was built around it. It feels special and majestic.”

Categories: Contemporary Homes