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The Fun & Funky Dancing Bear




“I wanted something different for Aspen,” says Los Angeles-based designer Shayne Smith. “Modern, but not sleek.”  That was the starting point for the lobby design at the Dancing Bear Aspen, a residence club in the heart of the upscale mountain town.

When the owners gave Smith free reign on the look and feel of the new space, she, along with Yvonne Jacobs of Slifer Designs, jumped at the opportunity to create something that would set it apart from the other hotels in town.  Inspired by European hotels that have that “funky, hip style with pieces that look like they’ve been collected over centuries,” Jacobs says that she and Smith took their cues from different time periods. The result is an eclectic mix of old and new, contemporary and western. 

The key, says Smith, is using traditional, organic materials and applying them in a modern way. Case in point: the sofa is traditional in shape, but rich chocolate velvet upholstery, yellow accent pillows and a faux-fur throw give it a modern edge. Same with the wall behind the desk–cowhide is quintessentially western, but dye it red and apply it to a wall and you have something fun and unique.  And what about those amazing red floor lamps? “Not everyone likes them,” says Smith, “but they’re definitely conversation starters. Just as good art and design should be.”  

Get the Look funky mountain style doesn’t have to be complicated or pricey. Try a few of these designer tips to bring this look home: Make small changes for big impact. “Just buying new pillows or other small accessories with bright, fun colors and designs can quickly update a room,” Smith says.Embrace the Darkness. This lobby has very little natural light; Smith used the darkness to her advantage by choosing warm, rich colors and textures. “It’s the perfect environment for après ski after a cold day on the mountain,” Smith says.Take a big idea and scale it down. Larger commercial spaces can handle dramatic, oversized pieces, but homeowners can get the same feel on a smaller scale. “The checkerboard floor may be hard to live with every day,” says Jacobs, “so bring in a smaller dose of the same pattern through artwork or accessories.”Modernize the “mountain” look. “If you have amazing mountain views right outside your door, why do you need pictures of mountains inside?” asks Smith. “Go with abstract art instead. And if you must have that antler chandelier, update it with black or red lacquer.”

Get the Look Funky mountain style doesn’t have to be complicated or pricey. Try a few of these designer tips to bring this look home: 

  •  Make small changes for big impact.“Just buying new pillows or other small accessories with bright, fun colors and designs can quickly update a room,” Smith says.
  •  Embrace the Darkness.This lobby has very little natural light; Smith used the darkness to her advantage by choosing warm, rich colors and textures. “It’s the perfect environment for après ski after a cold day on the mountain,” Smith says.
  •  Take a big idea and scale it down. Larger commercial spaces can handle dramatic, oversized pieces, but homeowners can get the same feel on a smaller scale. “The checkerboard floor may be hard to live with every day,” says Jacobs, “so bring in a smaller dose of the same pattern through artwork or accessories.”
  •  Modernize the “mountain” look. “If you have amazing mountain views right outside your door, why do you need pictures of mountains inside?” asks Smith. “Go with abstract art instead. And if you must have that antler chandelier, update it with black or red lacquer.”      definitely conversation starters. Just as good art and design should be.”I wanted something different for Aspen,” says Los Angeles-based designer Shayne Smith. “Modern, but not sleek.”  That was the starting point for the lobby design at the Dancing Bear Aspen, a residence club in the heart of the upscale mountain town.When the owners gave Smith free reign on the look and feel of the new space, she, along with Yvonne Jacobs of Slifer Designs, jumped at the opportunity to create something that would set it apart from the other hotels in town.Inspired by European hotels that have that “funky, hip style with pieces that look like they’ve been collected over centuries,” Jacobs says that she and Smith took their cues from different time periods. The result is an eclectic mix of old and new, contemporary and western. The key, says Smith, is using traditional, organic materials and applying them in a modern way. Case in point: the sofa is traditional in shape, but rich chocolate velvet upholstery, yellow accent pillows and a faux-fur throw give it a modern edge. Same with the wall behind the desk–cowhide is quintessentially western, but dye it red and apply it to a wall and you have something fun and unique. And what about those amazing red floor lamps? “Not everyone likes them,” says Smith, “but they’re definitely conversation starters. Just as good art and design should be.”

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