Spotlight on Vail Valley
Expert Q&A's from this high-country destination
For over sixty years, Vail has been recognized as the ultimate American alpine getaway. Modeled after a classic European alpine village, Vail offers an eclectic mix of dining and shopping, a diverse range of luxurious accommodations and a bounty of cultural events from concerts and festivals and to museums and art shows. Standing at 8,150 feet and surrounded by 350,000 acres of national forest, this mountainside gem is also known as a year-round adventurer’s paradise, welcoming over a million visitors each year. With 1,100 acres of open space, 5,289 skiable acres on one of the largest ski mountains in the world and over 17 miles of walking and biking paths, there’s something for everyone.
With its incomparable four-season quality of life, it’s no wonder a record number of people are making a mad scramble to claim a piece of Vail to call their own. Here, we introduce you to a thriving community of design professionals—from architects, builders and interior designers to purveyors of quality flooring, furniture and decor—dedicated to sharing their expertise and innovation.
Get to know these talented professionals, and you’ll discover that Vail Valley is not only a premier destination for culture and outdoor recreation—but also for cutting-edge mountain home design.
The talented team at Berglund Architects, located in Edwards, CO, works intimately with clients to create sophisticated designs with a welcoming, casual elegance.
What lies at the heart of your design philosophy?
We believe architecture has the power to positively affect our clients’ life experiences and connect them to the outdoors and to each other. This goal informs everything we do. We achieve this by creating uplifting, inspiring spaces with high ceilings and large windows and doors that bring in lots of natural light and capture views. Our designs provide a strong indoor-outdoor connection through the use of carefully crafted and cleanly detailed palette of rich, natural materials subtly juxtaposed with modern industrial elements like exposed steel. In addition, we incorporate unique artistic sculptural elements into the design through key elements such as fireplaces and stairs.
How do you help your clients envision their home as it goes from concept to reality?
We provide our clients with hand sketches and 3D computer modeling throughout the design process to study the scale, proportion and continuity of material and spaces that allow us to create spaces that flow from the interior to the exterior from the detailed structure of the building all the way down to the door handle.
How do you incorporate the concept of indoor-outdoor living into your designs?
An emphasis central to every home we work on is positioning the home to maximize the site features, the sun exposure and the ability to step out into the landscape and invite it in. We spend extensive time on-site at the beginning of the design process laying out the house footprint and studying all of the site’s opportunities and challenges. We set up tables and chairs so we can brainstorm and draw concepts on-site with our clients. In addition, we strategically position decks and patios, provide ample covered outdoor space and incorporate large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and windows at every opportunity.
BERGLUND ARCHITECTS, LLC
Hans Berglund, AIA, Principal; Adam Gilmer, AIA, Principal; Stephanie Lord Johnson, AIA, Principal
970-926-4301 | Edwards, Colorado
DESIGN FOR BETTER LIVING
The team at LKW Design Associates, located in Edwards, Colorado, combines expertise and love of design with their clients’ needs and personal taste to create beautiful results.
At LKW Design, do you have a divide-and-conquer strategy or are your projects intertwined?
The easy answer to that is…both. A very important part of our structure, which we feel sets us apart from other firms, is that we work as a team. The day-to-day work involves a divide-and-conquer strategy and a primary point of contact, but even through that process we are constantly bouncing ideas back and forth and working closely together. This allows a cohesiveness to our work and also brings depth and diversity to our work. Over the last decade, we’ve continued to evolve and perfect this strategy as the business has grown, but the foundation of working as a team still stands.
Does LKW Design have a signature look?
Approachable luxury with clean lines and a welcoming vibe make our clients feel at home and excited to entertain family and friends to share their mountain adventures.
The Vail Valley has a large population of second homeowners. How do you work with clients that live out of the area?
Working with second homeowners is one of our areas of expertise as 95% of our clients don’t live locally. We’ve perfected our design process to include digital presentations, shipping samples to clients when necessary, and hosting large project presentations in our Edwards studio when clients are in town. Advances in technology for video calls have added another layer of ability for us to connect with clients more consistently and move through the design process with fewer in-person meetings.
What is the key to a successful design project?
Communication. There are many important factors in a successful project, but without good, clear communication between all members of the design team and the client, the chances for success are more limited.
LKW DESIGN ASSOCIATES
Jamie Critchlow, Co-Owner and Principal Designer; Kayce Newell, Co-Owner and Principal Designer; Jessica Stoyer, Project Procurement Coordinator
970-446-1619 | Edwards, Colorado
Creative Floors, a full-service boutique flooring store and showroom in Edwards, CO, prides itself on a wide range of high-quality, creative flooring and a highly skilled team that delivers from concept to completion.
What sort of impact do you think new flooring has on a home?
We know that design is primarily in the home décor, but all the power lies in a good base. You can change the floors in a room without having to change anything else and still achieve a significantly different look.
How do you match flooring to different design styles?
The first step toward accomplishing this is to ask our clients what their vision is. There is a wide array of options in the flooring world. Different households have different needs and they usually have a good sense of what they do and don’t like – and this is key in the process of selecting the floors that accommodate their style.
What are the most popular flooring options for mountain homes right now?
Timeless and classic colors of wide plank White Oak without a doubt. A beautiful wood floor offers a unique look, warmth & elegance. Our wood flooring is versatile. Suitable for rustic interiors and also perfect for a modern style and looks amazing in the most luxurious homes. Placing a beautiful hand-woven area rug on top is the perfect finishing.
Flooring makes a huge impact on the look and feel of a home. How does working with a team of professionals help homeowners make the right choice?
Flooring renovation can be overwhelming and having a professional team to make the right recommendations is essential when it comes to design. We educate our clients about different options, we narrow them down and then we assist them to decide on the perfect flooring that fits both their style and budget.
Shannon Elicker, Owner
970-855-0250 | Edwards, Colorado
John Martin and Jeffrey Manley partnered to create Martin Manley Architects in Eagle in 2005. One of the most dedicated architecture teams in the Vail Valley, they are constantly thinking outside the box and pushing design in new directions.
What, in your opinion, defines a spectacular result?
The best architectural designs rest comfortably in their site and within their context; are handsome in massing and composition; have smart and efficient floor plans; are structurally simple and environmentally responsive; are budget conscious; and fulfill the visions of the client. The perfect balance of all these things is inherent in great architectural design.
What serves as inspiration for your mountain home designs?
The client’s initial vision seeds the inspiration for every project. From there, the site itself informs the development of the design. Sometimes it’s a spectacular mountain view, or the sheltering from snowy winters, or the quiet reflections of a lake, or the nestling into an aspen grove. The Colorado Rocky Mountains never cease to inspire us with majestic beauty and simple charms. We focus on complementing our clients’ lifestyles and needs while emphasizing stylistic variety and designs that fit seamlessly into the mountain environment.
How do you help your clients envision the final product?
We love designing beautiful and efficient homes for homeowners. The owner is served well when they can understand the three-dimensional complexities of the project before the project is actually built. That’s why we use up-to-date computer 3D modeling programs and visualization software. This process helps the client envision themselves within the space, and experience the proportions of the space. We work to make the process as enjoyable and worry-free for the owner as possible.
What sets Martin Manley Architects apart from other architectural firms?
We are truly a collaborative architectural firm that thrives on the strengths of our partners and associates. We build
a team with the best design professionals, consultants, specialists, and builders in the Vail Valley. This allows us to tackle a wide range of project types and stylistic diversity.
MARTIN MANLEY ARCHITECTS
John Martin, Architect AIA; Jeffrey Manley, Architect AIA
970-328-5151 | Eagle, Colorado
Kasia Karska, owner and creative lead of design-build and architectural design firm Kasia Karska Design, takes the utmost care in ensuring that each of her clients’ homes becomes their own personal sanctuary.
Your projects reflect your belief in home as a sanctuary. What design principles help you achieve this look?
After discussion and input from our clients, we consider the space layout, room function, color palette, and style. We find out what is important to our clients: A spa-like bathroom? Nice sunny office? A good flow of space? And what is their overall style, Traditional? Transitional or Modern?
What is your biggest source of inspiration for the creative work that you do?
Nature is my source of creativity. Clients come to us with their own set of interests which is inspiring and exciting to me. That’s where we strive to differ from other design/build firms. We are customizing our look to each and every client and their preferences, not ours.
Building a custom home can be an overwhelming prospect. How do you help homeowners navigate the process?
It’s all easy! When you hire Kasia Karska Design, our professionals can walk you through the entire process from concept, architectural design, the construction process to interior design. We’ll guide you at every step to be well informed catering to your style and needs.
KASIA KARSKA DESIGN
Kasia Karska, Owner, Lead Designer and General Contractor
970-688-5748 | Vail, Colorado
Meet Alexandra & Koen, the charming owners of Hygge Life, a Scandinavian Design Showroom & Café located in the heart of the Vail Valley.
Please share the Hygge Life story with our readers.
It all started in Vail, Colorado— Alexandra and Koen met and fell in love in this charming ski town and a year later moved their lives to Amsterdam, Koen’s hometown. Alexandra became fascinated by the warm and cozy intimacy of Northern European homes – a discovery that planted the seed for Hygge Life. Following an adventure in their “Hygge Bus” selling poffertjes (Dutch pancakes), they returned to Colorado and opened the Hygge Life showroom in its original Vail Valley location.
Tell us more about the concept of hygge and hygge design.
In Danish, hygge is an adjective, a noun and a verb—both a state of contentment and the opportunity to invite small moments of comfort and connection into your day. Rather than the common translation of “coziness,” we view it as a larger appreciation of the people and places that make us feel at ease. Hygge design is not about perfection – it’s about creating a space that engages your senses and fosters a feeling of intimacy and warmth.
What types of products and services does Hygge Life offer?
Located in the heart of the Vail Valley, our showroom features products from trusted designers and makers across Scandinavia, Europe and the U.S. We curate timeless furniture, lighting
and thoughtful decor to encourage meaningful moments and the everyday enjoyment of your home. We also offer personalized hygge interior styling services.
HYGGE LIFE SHOWROOM & CAFE
Alexandra and Koen, Owners
970-331-5745 | Eagle, Colorado
With a combined 70 years of residential and commercial experience, the talented team at Sipes Architects works closely with their clients in the Vail Valley and beyond to envision custom designs and tailored renovations.
In your opinion, what defines good architecture?
Architecture is a language with layers of meaning that can be translated across a variety of styles. Each design has a sense of integration and purpose; the effort is what makes it feel effortless. Even to the untrained eye, the experience of the space is intentional, and every design element compliments or highlights the differences from the next.
Please describe your architectural style for our readers.
We work through an understated, tailored, and customized architectural inspiration. Our designed spaces are minimalist by nature, but far from basic and may include intricate detailing. Most importantly, our designs reflect the styles and lives of our clients. Whether conspicuous or discrete, each client feels deeply connected with and reflected within their designed space.
What is it about that attracts you to designing mountain homes?
The mountains inspire a sense of wildness and a challenge to design within ever-changing elements. We believe all architecture must come from an understanding of the natural world. The opportunity to explore the functional aspects of living in feral environments that calls for us to exist consciously draws us to the mountain setting.
SIPES ARCHITECTS, LLC
Brian Sipes, Founding Principal; Todd Biekkola, Partner
970-236-1519 | Minturn, Colorado
ABOVE AND BEYOND
The amazing team at Mountain Luxury Interiors offers true full-service interior design plus exclusive hospitality services including property management and event planning.
Tell us about the vast scope of your experience.
Having designed around the country and internationally for over 29 years, I developed a passion for the Mountain West region and curating homes that are not just visually adept, but also enrich the lives of their users. From Nantucket to Sonoma to my current projects in Aspen and Vail, I have attained a diverse background in aesthetics and design which has allowed me to cater to the most eclectic of tastes.
How does your firm’s design style reflect Vail’s mountain aesthetic and lifestyle?
There would be no “Mountain Luxury Interiors” without our beautiful Rocky Mountains! Maximizing the incredible views these mountains offer is an absolute must when designing a home up the hill. It’s only right to pay homage to the client, their family, and the beautiful place we call home.
How does Mountain Luxury Interiors stand out from the competition?
Interior design is not just about matching colors and choosing finishes. It’s about actively listening to your clients, learning about their lifestyle and translating their unique lives and experiences into the appropriate space. I believe each client deserves a considerate, versatile designer who can deliver individualized and tailored experiences based on their needs.
MOUNTAIN LUXURY INTERIORS
Shannon Murphy, CEO, Lead Designer
818-281-7295 | Avon, CO
For over two decades, interior designer Dallas Lyon of Dallas Lyon Interiors has been creating innovative, refreshing, bold and eclectic interiors for her clients in the Vail Valley and beyond.
What is the key to achieving timeless design?
Thoughtfulness, a sense of where we are as a society, and foresight into what will be around the corner. Keep it classy, stylish, durable and functional while making a splash with exciting elements that will sustain the changing trends.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Getting to know my clients and what inspires them. Working together toward the ultimate goal of creating the perfect home. Understanding what’s important and being able to add exciting elements that really make the design process dramatic and fun.
Does your firm have a signature style? Please describe it for us.
I think that having a signature style is representative of yourself rather than the client. I believe that great design comes from within, and reaches for the opportunity to take the client further than expected, adding a bit of eclectic element and drama that would otherwise be shied away from.
What design elements are you gravitating toward this season?
Calming colors and textures, back-to-basics style paired with comforting furnishings that make you want to curl up by the fire with a glass of wine, or on the bedroom chaise in comfy PJ’s with your favorite book.
DALLAS LYON INTERIORS
Dallas Lyon, owner and lead designer
970-390-5617 | Edwards, CO
Eagle born-and-bred Addie Pecord, lead designer at LA Studio & Co, brings an impressive mix of education, experience and intuitive creativity to the Vail Valley design scene.
What is the biggest advantage of working with a boutique firm like LA Studio & Co?
When you choose to work with us, you can expect to be truly taken care of every step of the way. We work to obtain a deep understanding of our clients’ wants and needs and focus on building trusting, lasting relationships. We provide design inspiration and expertise and incorporate our clients’ visions into beautiful, fresh and functional spaces.
What serves as the source of inspiration for your designs?
An appreciation for the mountain lifestyle is the backbone of our business and our design approach is inspired by creating peaceful and comforting homes that spark joy and bring tranquility.