Having it All in this Crested Butte Home

A rustic house with modern finishes? This Colorado abode proves it’s possible.

Concessions are always made in custom home design: Bedrooms are sacrificed for garage bays, closets shrink to accommodate bathtubs, moss rock is traded for stucco. But when Robert and Noel McCarter purchased a site at Crested Butte’s Skyland community, where the rustic homes resemble national park lodges, they were determined not to trade their vision of a modern mountain house for the spectacular setting.

Situated at 9,000 feet, adjacent to national forest land and the golf course at the Club at Crested Butte, the end-of-the-road site offers views in every direction: the town of Crested Butte to the west, the majestic Paradise Divide to the northwest, Mount Crested Butte to the northeast, and Lake Grant and Whetstone Mountain to the south.

"The homeowner and I designed almost the whole house just by walking the site." — Architect Daniel J. Murphy

But a home built on this site was subject to the community’s strict design guidelines, which dictate that dwellings have a “Western, mountain character,” says Dan Murphy, the couple’s architect. “To incorporate modern into that was a nice little trick.” To pull it off, Murphy, builder Roger Cesario and interior designer Carolina Fechino-Alling imagined a rustic old structure that had been updated with streamlined, modern interiors.

For the exterior, Chris Lennox of Combined Timber Crafts suggested reclaimed yellow pine and Douglas fir beams, braces and trusses to accent the stucco and stone walls. The timber structure is visible inside too. Arched trusses, beams and columns provide a sturdy framework for Fechino-Alling’s refined design details: a glossy marble-topped island and illuminated glass backsplash in the kitchen, chevron-patterned tile floors in the master bath, and a glamorous bar in the lower-level media room.

Arched timber trusses help define the adjacent living room, kitchen and dining area.


Furnishings marry carved wood, cowhides and forged steel with polished stone, slick leather and sparkling crystals. “We live in a place where we have six to eight months of snow each year, so visually, it’s cold,” Fechino-Alling says. “I like to add elements of warmth, and I do it by playing with textures.”


Crawford’s Custom Woodwork built the living room’s sculptural fir stools and pair of streamlined coffee tables, one of which is topped with marble left over from the media room’s fireplace wall.


Drawing on her training as an industrial designer, she created one-of-a-kind details to personalize each space. For the master bathroom, she designed a pair of vanities with engineered-quartz countertops that appear to hover over steel frames. For the media room, she engineered a “floating” metal fireplace, suspended metal-and-glass bar shelves, and a dramatic stairway with wood treads and steel risers that wrap around the staircase wall, creating a bold backdrop for one of the homeowner’s prized bighorn sheep mounts.


Fechino-Alling designed the office’s built-in shelves; the leather-and-wood chairs are from Arteriors.


Despite all the detail inside the house, the real focus is on what’s outside. “Views were super important here,” Murphy says. “The homeowner and I designed almost the whole house just by walking the site.” Most interior rooms open directly to an outdoor living space: The office connects to a sunny patio that overlooks Lake Grant. The living room, kitchen and dining area all open to an outdoor deck with views of Paradise Divide and Whetstone Mountain. And the master suite extends onto a deck with a direct view of Mount Crested Butte, as well as a private screened-in porch.


Interior designer Carolina Fechino-Alling designed the breakfast nook’s three leather-upholstered benches, which can be removed when the homeowners use the space as a bar.


The house supports the way Robert and Noel live—with grand spaces for entertaining and intimate nooks for times when they’re home alone—and their newfound enthusiasm for modern styling. “We have always built traditional homes, but we now appreciate the clean lines of a modern design,” Robert says. “It was challenging at times to mix the rustic and modern themes, but Dan and Carolina made a great team—and made it fun.”

And what did Skyland’s design-review board think of the house? “It was a slam dunk,” Murphy says. “Did they see a little bit of a modern flavor to it? Yes. But did it capture the essence of the rustic design guidelines? Absolutely.”


A grouping of Oona pendants from Lake Wells, which feature hand-hammered copper “eyelids” that rotate around hand-blown glass forms, makes a bold statement in the entryway. 


Fechino-Alling furnished the lower-level media room with a Crate & Barrel sectional sofa, Arteriors game table and leather chairs from Dovetail.


Tech Lighting’s Surge Linear Suspension light energizes the bar.


The homeowners enjoy an up-close view of Crested Butte mountain from their master suite. A pair of club chairs from their previous home inspired the room’s color palette; bursts of similar spring greens appear in accent pillows and in the trio of pastel paintings that hangs above the carved, reclaimed Douglas fir Ranunculus sideboard from CFC.


Phillip Jeffries’ Enchanted Woods cork wallcovering covers the powder room’s walls and ceiling. “It makes the space feel endless,” Fechino-Alling says.


Interior designer Carolina Fechino-Alling creates texture-rich spaces by incorporating fixtures, furnishings and accessories of dramatically different styles—and from a broad array of sources. Here, a few of her favorites:

  • PHILLIP JEFFRIES for an assortment of textured and natural wallcoverings. “In rooms that don’t have natural light, like this home’s powder room, I like to wallpaper the walls and ceiling. It makes it feel endless, and I like that feeling of not knowing where the limit is.”
  • SONNEMAN for no-nonsense modern lighting, like the fixtures that flank the master bathroom vanities. “Years ago, I was a makeup artist in the fashion industry and learned a lot about lighting people’s faces. It’s very important to have even light from both sides.”
  • ARTERIORS for fashion-forward furniture, lighting, wall décor and accessories—more than 500 new designs each year—many by guest designers including Barry Dixon, Jay Jeffers, Lisa Luby Ryan and Windsor Smith. 
  • BERNHARDT for the “wow” piece every room needs. Fechino-Alling placed a pair of sculptural metal-and-leather Dekker chairs in full view of guests entering the house.


ARCHITECTURE Daniel J. Murphy Architect INTERIOR DESIGN Interni Design Studio CONSTRUCTION Copper Creek Homes TIMBER FRAMING Combined Timber CraftsSaveSaveSaveSave

Categories: Contemporary Homes, Rustic Homes