6 Tips for Stylish Mountain Design

The designers at Stēl House + Home offer their take on Mountain Modern

Photo by James Ray Spahn

Designers Sarah Tiedeken and Gina Silveri of Stēl House + Home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, know high-altitude style. But what exactly is the secret of mountain design? Layers. Just like the beautiful vistas of the Mountain West—which meld sky, peaks, trees and valleys— mountain-style layers materials. The right mix should create comfort, according to Silveri. “It should feel like you’re at home, relaxed and in your happy place. It’s almost like feeling you’re on vacation.” Stēl House + Home offers these tips for creating your peak bliss.

Va Fox Temple Knoll 08 27 20 Wall Shelf Detail Web

Beautiful built-in shelving displays organic elements, including wood and stone. Metallic accessories, earthy objects and empty space make the shelves inviting. | Photo by David Patterson

Design the space using your personality

Good designers should listen to what you like and pull those things together for you. “Mountain design depends on the client. You want to end up with a style that is unique to them,” Silveri says. “It should be a delicate balance of keeping it personalized while trying to add mountainy elements,” Tiedeken explains.

Blend textures and choose organic materials

“We use a lot of texture,” Tiedeken says. Add pieces that incorporate contrasting materials, including leather, wood, forged iron, knotty cable knits, faux fur, animal hides and wool. “Wool became a mountain thing because people milled their own wool. It has a rustic, mountainy aesthetic.”

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Sleek and shiny finishes in the bathroom contrast with rustic wood paneling. A sheepskin rug adds warmth and softness. | Photo by David Patterson

Choose hardy materials and finishes

When people come in from hiking and skiing, they track in mud and snow. Materials and finishes in mountain homes need to be tough. “We tend to use performance fabrics,” Tiedeken says. She also recommends engineered wood floors and hardwoods such as oak and hickory. “I tend to steer clients to wool area rugs because they’re easier to clean and they last forever,” Silveri adds.

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The experienced team at Stēl House + Home works with homeowners to create a personalized vision of mountain style. The secret to Stēl designs is mixing materials to create multi-layered spaces. | Photo by David Patterson

Add pops of color

“A little color can go a long way in adding personality,” says Silveri. “Little moments of being bold can make the space.” She recommends opting for neutral colors for the main furniture and surfaces, then injecting color through secondary pieces like table lamps, pillows, throws and accent chairs.

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A stacked-stone wall gets dressed up with glass shelves, copper mugs and geometric pendants. Faux fur and wool pillows add texture to the sofa. | Photo by David Patterson

Incorporate a variety of styles

“Try not to commit yourself to one style,” Tiedeken says. Keeping to one style can easily date the home. Instead, layer different styles and materials. “The floor doesn’t have to match the trim and doors. We go into houses where everything is the same; it doesn’t have any depth or layering, and that makes it feel it’s from a specific era.”

Create comfortable, usable spaces

Don’t spend a lot of money on a white couch if you’re going to worry every time you drink red wine. “You don’t want to feel like you’re living in your own gallery,” Tiedeken says. “We’re always trying to create spaces people just want to be in.”


Categories: Interiors