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Into the Light

A remarkable remodel turns a dark and dated Vail house into a modern, elegant, light-filled home



Kimberly Gavin


Upon entering this light and airy home in the heart of Vail, it is difficult to believe it ever resembled the heavy, dark space the “before” photos reveal.

The full-fledged renovation required the vision and talents of architect Beth Levine of Beth Levine Architect, Inc., the skills and flexibility of contractor Tom Solawetz of Beck Building Company, a team of designers and the confidence and daring of involved homeowners to pull it off.  Now doubled in size and opened up to the light and views of Gore Creek, the home feels fresh and inviting. “What was once a simple two-story house with eight-foot ceilings was transformed into a collection of incredible architectural spaces enhanced by fabulous furnishings and art,” Levine says.


When the clients first came to Levine, they were planning to update the kitchen and raise the attic space to create a third floor—and that’s it. But the project quickly blossomed into a head-to-toe remodel and expansion: “We raised the roof to add a third-floor master suite and, at the same time, decided to excavate the crawl space beneath the house and turn it into a livable basement,” explains Levine. The existing 2,164-square-foot house was gutted and an 8-foot bump-out was added to every level.

Responding to the home’s simple New England saltbox-style exterior and the owners’ desire for both contemporary and antique furnishings, Levine created a straightforward contemporary design with a clean palette. The centerpiece is a custom staircase that seems to float from one level to the next. “The house has a very clean-lined, cohesive style,” says Levine, pointing to the consistency of wide-plank European white oak floors and calm, neutral colors throughout. Kitchen designer Carolyn Samelson of William Ohs picked up on the architect’s aesthetic with sleek cabinetry in shades of white and blue-gray.


While the new third floor was treated to soaring vaulted ceilings, the first two levels were kept within their existing 8-foot height. Instead of changing the actual dimensions, Levine and interior designer Jim Powell, of J. Powell & Associates, worked to create an illusion of greater height. The architect extended the living room windows up a foot and added three-quarter-inch reveals at the ceiling line to draw the eye upward. Powell used high-gloss ceiling paint to “visually lift the space and reflect light from the windows,” he says.


The designer also conceived a new fireplace surround, selected lighting and hard finishes, and coordinated with the homeowners’ Texas decorator, Suzie Page.  Familiar with her clients’ preferences, Page pulled together a striking fusion of contemporary and antique elements. “The husband likes modern, contemporary flair,” she says. “The wife has an incredible aesthetic, mixing beautiful, well-thought-out pieces from different places and times. They complement each other amazingly well.”


Keeping to soft, neutral colors and lush textures, the furnishings and art also complement Levine’s quiet contemporary architecture. “The clients brought a wealth of design knowledge and artistic direction to the process,” she says. “They had undertaken many home renovations and have exquisite taste in art. All these qualities made the design process dynamic, exciting and incredibly productive.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Jim Powell, J. Powell and Associates, Inc., Avon, CO, 970-748-0383, jpowell.net; Suzy Page, Twenty Three 07 Austin, Texas, 512-477-2307, spage@twentythree07.com ENTRY BENCH Brushed Steel and Acrylic Bench, Madison Seating, New York, NY, madisonseating.com ENTRY/ LANDING ART Asian Photography, Ina Jang ENTRY RUG Tufenkian, Prati Rosebury, Ruggs Benedict, Edwards, CO, 970-949-5390, ruggsbenedict.com SECOND FLOOR LANDING BENCH Swedish antique bench, Marburger Antique Market Marburger, TX, 800-947-5799, roundtop‐marburger.com SECOND FLOOR LANDING CHAIR French antique chair, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com SECOND FLOOR LANDING TABLE French antique; 1st Dibs, New York, NY, 1stdibs.com SECOND FLOOR LANDING RUG Dhurrie, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com THIRD FLOOR LANDING CHAIR French antique, 1st Dibs, New York, NY, 1stdibs.com THIRD FLOOR LANDING TABLE 1st Dibs, New York, NY, 1stdibs.com LIVING ROOM AREA RUG, Tufenkian, Ragweave Rosebury, Ruggs Benedict, Edwards, CO, 970-949-5390, ruggsbenedict.com LIVING ROOM COUCH Custom-made couch with mohair, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com LIVING ROOM COFFEE TABLE Mid-century French antique, Blue Print, Dallas, TX, 214-954-9511, bluprintstore.com LIVING ROOM BENCH 1920s white cowhide Swedish bench, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com LIVING ROOM PORTER CHAIRS 1960s Italian white leather chairs, 1st Dibs, New York, NY, Istdibs.com LIVING ROOM TV STAND Custom-made TV stand, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com LIVING ROOM STOOLS Outpost Original, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com LIVING ROOM SIDE TABLE Antique side table,1st Dibs, New York, NY, Istdibs.com LIVING ROOM BAR Black bar with marble top, Antique E&L Alexandria, Bellport, Long Island, NY 727-742-2709, elalexandria.com LIVING ROOM SCONCES Parrot Sconces, 1930’s Mason Charles, First Dibs Paris, Istdibs.com LIVING ROOM BAR BOWL Canoe bowl, silver, Inside Out, Edwards, CO, 970-926-8185, insideoutfurnishings.net DINING ROOM WALL COVERING, Ralph Lauren # LWP30571W Marlowe Floral- Sterling, Folia, ralphlaurenhome.com DINING ROOM PAINTING, artist Diane Delgado, NY, dianadelgadostudio.com DINING ROOM TABLE, Custom-made table with zinc top and iron base, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com DINING ROOM CHAIRS Janssen, 1st Dibs, New York, NY, Istdibs.com DINING ROOM CHANDELIER Custom-made iron and silver leaf chandelier, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com DINING ROOM LAMPS Custom-made glass cylinder, Twenty Three 07, Austin, TX, 512-477-2307, twentythree07.com DINING ROOM BUFFET Late 19th century French antique, 1st Dibs, New York, NY, Istdibs.com KITCHEN TABLE Custom-painted Vematino marble top table, Room and Board, 800-301-9720, roomandboard.com COUNTER STOOLS Bertoria kitchen stools, Knoll, 1-800-343-5665, knoll.com KITCHEN RUG Tamarian, Fiona Mocha Blue, Ruggs Benedict, Edwards, CO, Ruggs Benedict, Edwards, CO, 970-949-5390, ruggsbenedict.com BED 1940’s French bed, Fruitwood. Joined two twins by Brian David Johnson, Austin, TX BEDROOM SIDE TABLES Side Tables, 19th Century Fruitwood BEDROOM CHANDELIER French Antique, First Dibs Paris, Istdibs.com BEDROOM AREA RUG Nargezian, Laksana-Grace Note, Ruggs Benedict, Edwards, CO, 970-949-5390, ruggsbenedict.com MASTER BATH SILVER STOOL Silver log stool, West Elm, 888-922-4119, westelm.com WHITE MASTER BATH WHITE STOOL Acrylic stool, Allan Knight Vanity Stool, Egg and Dart, Denver, CO, 303-744-1676 egg-and-dart.com; fabric from YOMA, Hummingbird 9300-92 Glace, 212-431-4794, yoma.com DESK  1930’s Argentina desk, Maison Jansen DESK CHAIR  1960’s Maison Jansen, Fabric from Kravet, # 28820 color 16 Crosshatch stone, kravet.com OFFICE PAINTING artist Shahram Karimi, LTMH Gallery, New York, NY, shahramkarimi.com

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