From Brick to Bodacious
"After" photography by Brent Moss
Built in the 1990s from plans originally intended for a two-story house in Santa Fe, the view-rich, hilltop home outside Aspen seemed far better suited to hunkering down in the Southwestern heat than reveling in 360-degree high-mountain panoramas.
The mission-style structure’s solid brick walls cut off warren-like interiors from prime prospects, and the main-level driveway and garage hogged some of the best views of all. But a hardworking, outdoors-loving, New York-based couple—she’s a psychologist doing groundbreaking work in educational and social causes, he’s a top finance executive—found the setting alone reason enough to buy the 40-acre property as a family retreat for themselves, their four school-age children and a pair of golden retrievers. Their goal: Streamline the home’s looks while opening it up to Rocky Mountain splendors.
“Our clients are visionaries with great ideas,” says Sarah Broughton, AIA, of the Aspen- and Denver-based firm Rowland + Broughton. Together with John Rowland, AIA, and project architect Ryan Hoffner, AIA, Broughton embarked on a two-and-a-half-year remodel that began with a simple request to modernize the home and add a room overlooking the Lenado Valley. The project soon evolved to taking the house down to its foundation and turning its layout topsy-turvy and back-to-front. Relocating the garage from the upper to the downslope level “gave back the landscape to the house,” says Broughton, adding that moving the front door to the opposite side “freed up the interiors to the valley.” An open floor plan with clean-lined surfaces—complemented by furnishings by New York firm Pembrooke & Ives in a style Broughton describes as “soft modern”—orients all living areas toward vast window walls and sliding glass doors, transforming the seven-bedroom structure into “a series of glass pavilions that make the home feel like a modern mountain resort.”
Living room before
Living room after
Beyond the entry—with its custom concrete-and-steel table by Gore Design Co. and custom pendant lights of steel, glass and leather from O’Lampia Studio—the living room revels in views of meadow and mountain in two directions. The cast-concrete fireplace from Concreteworks replaced a smaller one that obscured part of the view on the opposite wall (near left). The oversized custom sectional in durable wool upholstery is by Pembrooke & Ives, and the leather-and-walnut lounge chairs are by Richomme.
Having always wanted a stainless-steel kitchen, the homeowner got her wish fulfilled by one three times larger than the old narrow, dark space (inset). The gleaming metal counters and cabinets were custom-fashioned by Genesis Innovations. Giant industrial pendants of red-painted steel from Trainspotters, repurposed from Czech factory lighting, add dramatic pops of color.
A cramped, dark spiral staircase (inset) previously connected the home’s two levels. Relocated to the opposite end of the house, the new stairway’s spacious flight of riser-free wood steps—viewed from the lower level’s game and exercise room—offers glimpses out a two-story-tall window facing a meadow and aspens.
Dining area before
Dining area after
In the home’s previous incarnation (above), a step-up hallway led from the living and dining areas to the front door. Now, with the entry relocated to the opposite side, that passageway leads to a glass pavilion boasting three-direction views of the Lenado Valley. A skylight in the ceiling above the passage’s wall washes it with natural illumination.
To maximize views from the master bath, vanity mirrors by Electric Mirror are suspended on metal rods in front of the windows. Encased in a champagne limestone platform matching the floor, walls and counters, a freestanding Zuma tub with Dornbracht fixtures has pride of place in the center of the room, where it takes advantage of views from the adjacent master bedroom’s windows as well.
The master bedroom enjoys a perfect balance of views and privacy, with corner window walls looking out across a hilltop meadow to the mountains beyond and opening to a private terrace in clement weather. Framed by a custom hand-knotted, striped rug by Stark Carpet, the suede-upholstered bed was custom-designed by Pembrooke & Ives, as was the corner sectional in the sitting area.
ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN Sarah Broughton, AIA; John Rowland, AIA; Ryan Hoffner, AIA Rowland + Broughton