A Beachy Home in the Roaring Fork Valley

Two Texas friends, one a designer, add spunk and seaside calm to a 1970s Aspen home
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Photography by Emily Minton Redfield


When Dallas-based friends Claire Dewar, a retired realtor, and designer Cathy Kincaid attended the Aspen Ideas Festival together in 2011, there was a problem with their summer getaway: “It was poorly decorated,” says Dewar, who interpreted the house’s subpar design as a divine signal to buy one of her own.

So during their time in town, the two walked the streets, talking and scouting. And on one of those neighborhood reconnaissances, they spotted this home—close enough to walk to downtown, but far enough away to be serenaded by the Roaring Fork River.

At first glance, they thought the house might be unsalvageable. “When we walked in, it was like a ’70s house—and not a great one,” Kincaid recalls. But Dewar saw beyond the Brady Bunch-era drawbacks. “It had the right kind of floor plan, and I liked that the living space has light coming in from four different directions,” she says.

What a difference a nip and tuck make. To start, Dallas-based architect David Benners kept the home’s same 2,430-square-foot footprint but reinvented a few areas, including the master bath, kitchen and covered outdoor deck. “Before, the house had interesting bones, but it had been let go,” Benners says. “It was an exercise in editing what was there and cleaning it up.” New sliding doors peep out onto the sleek alfresco pool Dewar added, and to lush, leafy gardens beyond.

She of course enlisted Kincaid to helm the interior redo. She found herself channeling what the friends refer to as “a Shelter Island aesthetic.”

“With a second home, there’s not as much pressure for it to be perfect,” Kincaid says. (Her book The Well Adorned Home: Making Luxury Livable is new from Rizzoli). “You can make it a little more fun.”

Throughout the interior, Kincaid injected a feminine sense of buttoned-up yet breezy East Coast style, reminiscent of Cape Cod, Southampton and, yes, Shelter Island. A playful color palette of blues and greens adds levity and especially pops in a town where mountain getaways typically brandish a more lodge-like feel. The effect? A beach- cottage ambience that’s always sunny, even when the flakes are falling.

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Dining Area A mixture of high and low was paramount in this getaway house. “The light fixture above the dining room is from Ikea, and it was less than $50,” Kincaid says. “My daughter put it together!” Using a banquette along one wall in lieu of dining chairs allows for more room in a relatively small footprint.

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Pool Evergreen trees and towering, purple lupine flowers flank a streamlined pool, turning the garden into a de facto spa. Adorning the lounge chairs with monogrammed towels is an ode to the more traditional stylings of the homeowner’s full-time residence in Dallas.

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Kitchen Vignette A taxidermied buck standing watch over the kitchen is a lone Colorado reference. It doesn’t feel cliché here, thanks to the white wall, flowery fabric and bold colors.

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Kitchen Installing open upper shelving in the ’70s-inspired kitchen modernized the look. “I like to have open shelves in the kitchen, because I think it keeps you honest,” Kincaid says. “It’s easy to access, especially in a vacation house where you’re entertaining a lot of people; you don’t want them opening cabinet doors to try to find a cup for coffee.” Kincaid used turquoise Formica for the countertop, “because everything then was Formica—and we thought turquoise was so pretty,” she says of the hue, which also calls to mind the colors of surf.

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Living Room “The homeowner’s rug is a Swedish flat weave from the 1940s, which are really beautiful and collected by serious textile and expensive-rug collectors,” designer Cathy Kincaid says. “It set the tone for colors in the house.” The sideboard is by Dallas furniture designer Tony Horton, a friend of the homeowner. “Everyone gravitates to the Egg chair and ottoman,” Kincaid says.

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Desk “We bought a lot of the furniture in Aspen,” Kincaid says. Dewar found the folding chair, covered with sari fabric, at Anthropologie. The buttoned-up bed skirt was made from a fabric Sister Parish designed in the 1970s.

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Bed An embroidered suzani textile Dewar found in Cairo adorns the master-bedroom headboard. “I like layering pattern for warmth,” Kincaid says. “That’s Claire’s little kitty, Sophie, who rules the roost.” The Venetian-glass lamp is by Jan Showers.

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Master Bedroom Kincaid recruited Dallas custom-lamp designer Charles Birdsong to make sari-fabric lampshades for Dewar’s lamps. Hard-wearing sea-grass wall-to-wall carpets underfoot have a fresh, barefoot- by-the-sea feel. The chest of drawers is by Tony Horton.

ARCHITECT David Benners David Benners Architecture INTERIOR DESIGNER Cathy Kincaid Cathy Kincaid Interiors LANDSCAPE DESIGNER Paul Pierson Paul Pierson Garden Design

Categories: Interiors