Saying “I-Do” to a Small Town Home
An interior designer and architect exchange vows before renovating a 1990s-era home in Colorado
Sometimes when you’re developing a strong working relationship, something happens. It leads to a shorthand and respect that transcends well beyond the professional. Such was the case for Kimille Taylor and Steve Morton. Taylor, a New York City-based interior designer, and noted Colorado architect Morton met—and fell in love—while working together on a residential project in Telluride a few years ago. Once the de- signing duo decided to get married, it only made sense that one of their first orders of business was to take on a home renovation of their very own not far from where the magic initially happened: Placerville, Colorado (population 706).
The very personal project was a circa-1992 home built by James Bowen and located on a pretty parcel right on the San Miguel River. “It was always this beautiful home that I’ve noticed for years as I passed it on the drive from the airport to Telluride, but I had never been inside,” recalls Morton. “It had a postmodern flavor that I found interesting.” Taylor had also taken note of the home from her rental car on her many visits. “It had these clerestory windows, and the whole place just lit up, almost like a jack-o-lantern,” she says. So when she happened upon an online listing for the home, she and Steve both immediately jumped on the phone with their real estate agent and said, “We need to see it today.”
While a less imaginative pair may have been tempted to run for the Rockies after seeing that the home hadn’t been touched since the grunge era, these people make their living turning the dated into the divine. “The fact that nothing has been done except maybe some wall paint? That’s a home run for us. I don’t want to overpay for someone else’s taste,” Taylor explains. The size was also just right—modest enough for two, but roomy enough for Taylor’s preteen daughter and Morton’s adult sons to visit.
“It’s only 2,200 square feet, but it looks grand. It’s beautiful and elegant, and spatially, there are these high ceilings and the atrium,” the designer says. As soon as the tour was over, the couple made an offer—and then the talking, planning and sketching began in earnest.
From the start, Morton knew the entire first floor needed to be reconfigured. “There were all these quirky spaces,” he says. “The kitchen was in the middle of the house, and there was this L-shaped living area around it.” While he knew exactly where the new kitchen should go, the couple went back and forth on how to reorganize the rest of the space. “We’re very good at collaborating, and we feed off each other’s energy really well,” Morton says. Taylor agrees. “As soon as Steve moved the kitchen, it immediately improved the flow, and then it started to make sense to open the entry right into the dining room,” says Taylor. “Then I wanted to move the fireplace, but that gets expensive. We had to weigh all of our options—but moving that fireplace turned out to be the right thing to do!”
During the seven-month construction period, Taylor continued to assemble and share mood boards with her husband since they had decided to start completely fresh with new furnishings. She says she took most of her cues for the quietly sophisticated space from the incredible views. “I wanted a neutral palette with a few pops of color, like the dining room table,” she says. “I didn’t want anything that would compete with or detract from what’s outside these windows.”
Her husband, for one, couldn’t be happier with every single one of her choices. “Kimille put a lot of time and energy into the questions of who we are, what this house is, and the right direction to take it in,” he says. “She did an amazing job. It’s just lovely.”
Designer Kimille Taylor on making a great first impression.
While the dynamic entry is the first thing people see when they enter the home, it was actually the last space that Taylor took on because she wanted to get it just right. Here, her tips for putting your best foot forward.
TREAT YOURSELF TO WALL TREATMENTS Taylor says adding layers is important. “That often entails a ceiling treatment or wall treatment—it could be paper, plaster or a wood-lined space. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted.” Eventually, she came across Calico Wallpaper’s “Overgrow” pattern. “I love how in the spring and summer, when it’s so lush and green here, it’s divine. And in winter, when it’s white and barren, you get the freshness of green. It’s wonderful in all seasons.” PLAY WITH SCALE In order to create what Taylor calls an “Alice in Wonderland” moment, she combined the slightly oversize scale of the wallpaper with a massive front door. “I like the kick of it. It’s important to have exciting elements,” she says. “It’s this fantastic moment, and then you pass through, and you’re in the house.” PLAY UP THE PRACTICAL When dealing with year-round outdoor gear comes with the idyllic setting, creating a space that’s equal parts hardworking and handsome is imperative. To that end, Taylor outfitted the space with a simple Pottery Barn bench and a no-nonsense Shaker-style peg rail to help maintain law and order.
ENTRYWAY FRONT DOOR in Mouse’s Black by Farrow & Ball WALLPAPER by Calico Wallpaper in Overgrown BENCH by Pottery Barn DINING ROOM DINING TABLE by Dirk Vander Kooij BENCH by Kimille Taylor and Steve Morton from Dirty Hands Furniture LIVING ROOM DAYBED by Chaise in Lubi Sleeper from CB2 RATTAN POUF by Franco Albini from 1st Dibs TABLES by Harbinger CHAIR by Bertoia Diamond from Design Within Reach ATRIUM ART by Katie Heffelfinger from Mixx Atelier LIGHT by Isamu Noguchi from 1st Dibs KITCHEN STOVE by Bertazzoni Range LIGHT from Workstead HARDWARE by Simon’s Hardware & Bath PRIMARY BEDROOM BED by Crate & Barrel SCONCES by Gestalt Furniture LAMP by Circa Lighting ART by Wayne Pate CHAIR by 1st Dibs RUG by Patterson Flynn