Spotlight on Aspen
The town of Aspen has long been known the world over for the iconic glamour and exclusivity of its ski culture. The name conjures images of wintry opulence—private jets, champagne toasts, fur coats for miles—all set against the backdrop of a legendary Colorado landscape. But those well-acquainted with Aspen know that the decadent après-ski aesthetic is just one facet of this town’s inimitable style. As the people and buildings that populate Aspen’s streets and slopes demonstrate, the town is a melting pot of cultures and architectural styles.
In the 1880s, the rough-and-tumble mining era gave rise to hundreds of Victorian homes, many of which are still painstakingly preserved to this day. In the 1930s, a group of forward-thinking developers created a now-iconic ski lodge—the Highland Bavarian—inspired by the alpine structures found in Swiss villages. Austrian designer Herbert Bayer came to town in the 1950s, bringing Bauhaus modernism with him. And more recently, Aspen became a birthplace of the mountain-modern style that merges rustic stone and wood with sleek metal and glass.
So it’s little wonder that today, Aspen is home base for some of the world’s most creative design minds, who have come here to serve an international clientele with fresh ideas about how a mountain home might look and live.
Here, you’ll meet several of these pros—architects, interior designers, custom-home builders—plus a beloved local resort dedicated to helping visitors experience the Aspen lifestyle. Their offerings may span the style spectrum, but look closely and you’ll spot the common thread: a commitment to celebrating those spectacular natural surroundings that have lured us all to Aspen from the very start.
A DESTINATION FOR DESIGN
Cathers Home Furniture + Interior Design is both a retail store and a full-service interior design studio creating innovative residential spaces for an international clientele. Here, Design Director Denise Taylor gives us a glimpse of her team’s process —and a few favorite spaces in her own mountain home.
Visitors to the Cathers Home furniture store may not realize the breadth of interior design services you and your team offer. What’s possible?
We are a full-service interior design studio specializing in whole home design for remodels and new construction. Many of our clients are second-home owners who do not live in the valley and we are able to work with them remotely. Our design process is collaborative, with our ASID-certified interior designers taking care to understand clients’ unique needs before designing and managing their projects from concept to completion.
Tell us about a few projects you’re excited to complete in 2020.
We are transforming a ski-in, ski-out Snowmass residence for some wonderful clients from Los Angeles, with a design that blends their contemporary aesthetic with their new mountain home. We are also working on a multifamily
townhome project at the base of Aspen Mountain for Australian clients whose unique style is steeped in Aspen history. We are loving the process of updating their spaces to ensure the townhome can be used by future generations of their family for decades to come.
Are there new trends in mountain-home design that you’re interested in exploring?
Our team is innovative and enjoys exploring new materials and designs. We love blending natural materials—think: alpaca, wool, and cashmere—into our cozy ski homes, and we are all gravitating toward investment pieces that are made in the United States and ethically sourced.
CATHERS HOME FURNITURE+ INTERIOR DESIGN
970-927-6556 | cathershome.com
Basalt | Aspen | Roaring Fork Valley
By rethinking assumptions, dissolving preconceptions, and exploring past the obvious solutions, Menendez Architects achieves warmth and comfort in elegant designs that are as singular as the clients who inspire them.
How do your clients benefit from working with a team that offers custom architecture and interior design services?
Combining architecture and interior design services allows for a seamless integration of both disciplines and an effective means of incorporating and executing the vision for a project in all aspects of design. We consider interior space planning and furnishing arrangements at the earliest stages of the programming and design phases, resulting in thoughtful, functional solutions that marry structure, finishes, furnishings, and experience.
Your team offers diverse cultural backgrounds in addition to a deep understanding of Aspen’s unique environment. How do your designs benefit from your global sensibilities?
We use our knowledge of various lifestyle values and practices to create solutions that are responsive to our clients’ needs. On a recent project, understanding the role a Finnish sauna plays in daily life allowed us to create one that provides a meaningful physical and psychological respite in a Northern European client’s custom home.
Have you noticed shifts in how clients hope to live in their mountain homes?
A common theme is clients’ increasing desire for homes that can remain in the family for generations. We are currently designing homes that serve as many as three generations, each with unique requirements. The key is incorporating the correct amount of flexibility in the house to allow it to adapt to changing family dynamics.
MENENDEZ ARCHITECTS P.C.
Luis A. Menendez A.I.A., president and founder
970-544-4851 | MenendezArchitects.com
HOME AND AWAY
With residential-style accommodations and resort-style service and amenities, The Gant condominium resort hits that sweet spot between a private vacation rental and a luxury hotel.
What makes The Gant feel so much like home and a fine high-country hotel?
Featuring full kitchens, living and dining areas, wood-burning fireplaces, and outdoor patios, all of the private-residence condominiums at The Gant are designed to make guests feel like they have arrived at their home away from home. Outdoor heated pools with views of Aspen Mountain, complimentary transportation around town, and a dedicated concierge team are just a few examples of the resort-style amenities guests enjoy access to during their stay.
In 2019, The Gant earned Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Award. What do guests love most about the property?
Our service. Our staff doesn’t just work in Aspen, they are also proud to call this town home. We encourage our employees to let their passion for Aspen guide them in providing a truly genuine level of customer service to all of our guests.
What are the top five things first-time guests must experience during their stay?
1. Try a shot ski with local spirits from The Gant’s very own Pepperjack’s Café.
2. Ride up Aspen’s Silver Queen Gondola for breathtaking views of the Elk Range.
3. Stroll through the free Aspen Art Museum. 4. Have a backcountry dining experience at Pine Creek Cookhouse.
5. Catch some live music at the Belly Up Aspen.
970-925-5000 | GantAspen.com
The Madeen Interior Design team’s deep understanding of architecture and interior design and commitment to each client’s unique vision ensure a design process that is as personal and satisfying as the beautiful end result.
Tell us about your full-service approach to interior design.
Our philosophy is to immerse ourselves in a project as early in the design process as possible, because understanding the owner’s intentions and the architect’s inspiration allows us to incorporate those ideas into every interior detail. I went to architecture school and my career began as a designer/draftsperson for an architecture firm, so I have a deep understanding of how buildings go together. Clients really appreciate how I can explain an architect’s ideas to them. Nothing gets lost in translation! We work closely with the owner throughout design and construction to help convey their ideas to the architect and contractors, and we continue that close relationship until the project is complete—right down to the selection of furnishings, fine art, and accessories.
What are some of your favorite ways to give a mountain home a strong sense of place?
All of our design work starts with considering the relationship between the built environment and the site. For example, an alpine site may have layers of vertical forms—trees, mountain peaks, rock cliffs—that we reference with vertical fireplaces, drapery, and light fixtures. For a riverfront home we’re currently designing, our finish selections feature flowing veins, live edges, and waterfall ends that nod to the site’s unique characteristics.
MADEEN INTERIOR DESIGN, INC.
Carol Madeen, principal
970-375-1131 office | 970-946-3030 cell | madeeninteriors.com
Aspen | Durango | Telluride
A SENSE OF PLACE
With roots—and an impressive portfolio of residential and commercial work—not just in Colorado, but also in Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, and the Carolinas, MHK Architecture and Planning brings a unique understanding of complex landscapes to each one of its site-specific designs.
Your firm is unique in that you have a strong presence in a variety of locations. How does that perspective inform your work in Colorado?
Our principal architect, Matthew H. Kragh, holds licenses in Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Colorado. To augment his breadth of knowledge, he has teamed up with Coloradans Anna Heun and Nathan Moore, who lead the Colorado branch and bring their local understanding of the state’s complex terrain to our high-country designs.
Are there common threads that unite those designs?
The common thread is our clientele. We prefer to forego our egos and allow our clients—and their personal needs and goals—to be the driving force of our design process.
MHK ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING
Nathan Moore and Anna Heun, directors
970-710-2813 | themountainarchitect.com
BRINGING DESIGN TO LIFE
Mark Regan, veteran builder and founder of Regan Construction, explains how his team’s deep roots in Aspen give rise to custom homes that stand the test of time.
What makes your firm uniquely positioned to address the challenges that come with building mountain homes?
Our small team’s combined experience building custom designs in this mountain town is considerable, so we understand things like passive solar design, competing heating and cooling systems, and windows that let in fresh air, not bears. Our office is located in town, near the building department and a lot of architects and designers, bars and coffee shops, which all lend themselves to impromptu discussions that can improve a project’s outcome.
How do you help clients feel connected to their projects during construction?
Most of our clients could run a building project if they had the time, and it’s important to respect their knowledge. We make it easy for them to access progress reports and photos via the cloud, and we’re open to discussions. Transparency is a long-term commitment.
Mark Regan, principal
970-923-0010 | reganconst.com
As seen in the March/April 2020 issue