A Mountain Abode That Reaches New Heights

Above Aspen, an art-filled home offers seclusion, serenity and wraparound mountain views
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Guests are greeted with an Antony Gormley sculpture in a gallery-like setting with walls of book-matched teak. The stool is from Warren Platner, and the custom bench in concrete and bronze was created by artist Eric Slayton. | Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

When it was time to add interior décor elements into this well-designed mountain home situated on 20-plus acres high above Aspen, Shawn Henderson knew he needed a thoughtful approach.

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Modern art commands center stage in the home, including Theaster Gates’ piece made from decommissioned firehoses. A curvy Vladimir Kagan sofa is a great spot for gazing at the Elk Mountains. Modern art commands center stage in the home, including Theaster Gates’ piece made from decommissioned firehoses. A curvy Vladimir Kagan sofa is a great spot for gazing at the Elk Mountains.

Not only is the modern home by Scott Lindenau of Studio B Architecture + Interiors impeccably conceived, the homeowners own an impressive collection of art and furniture.

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The generous proportions of the living space called for furnishings on an equally large scale where family and friends can gather in front of the fireplace and watch the seasons change through floor-to-ceiling windows. The custom coffee table is 7 feet in diameter and is surrounded by multiple seating options, including a custom sofa from designer Shawn Henderson’s studio.

When describing what the Hong Kong-based couple wanted for their vacation retreat, architect Lindenau recalls, “The clients were very interested in the spirit of wood.” That resonated with him. “We define our work as calculated and restrained,” he says. “We strive to minimize our material palette with it being quiet and simple.” Lindenau chose chiseled limestone, granite, sustainably-harvested teak and true Japanese plaster for the exterior and used teak wall veneer inside for walls and the entry staircase; he used wire-brushed white oak planking for the floors. To further customize the interior, Lindenau flew in a team of U.S.- based craftspersons who had been trained in Japan to plaster interior walls in a technique called wara juraku, which incorporates straw for a textural effect.

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In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, furnishings include a clean-lined platform bed designed by Susan Okie Lindenau of Studio B. Adding a note of color to the otherwise serene space is Brent Wadden’s artwork combining handwoven fibers, wool, cotton and acrylic on canvas.

Those elements also appealed to Henderson, who says that he is inspired by how his clients want to live and tries not to compete with the views afforded by spectacular mountain properties. “The hallmarks of my interiors are that they are warm, thoughtful and comfortable,” says the New York-based designer, who launched his firm in 2003.

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A mix of contemporary and vintage design, the dining room features Martin Szekely’s table, Italian chairs from the 1950s and a sculptural David Weeks chandelier. An eight-part Tacita Dean photogravure fills one wall.

His first monograph, Shawn Henderson: Interiors in Context, was recently published by Monacelli Press and includes this modern Aspen home.

“All the architecture was done beautifully,” Henderson says. Sleek lacquered kitchen cabinetry and custom built-ins, like the platform bed and nightstands in the primary bedroom, executed by Colorado Custom Millwork in Glenwood Springs, underscore the home’s modern design.

The owners were able to use much of their modern art and midcentury Danish furniture in the rooms, but given the home’s size of 9,000 square feet and the generous proportion of the living spaces, additional furnishings were needed, Henderson says.

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Sleeklacquered cabinetry in cool white, designed by Studio B Architects and created by Colorado Custom Millworks, creates an inviting space for preparing and enjoying casual meals.

The house is rectilinear, and much of the existing furniture has curvy, geometric Midcentury Modern appeal, which provided the perfect counterpoint. “Working off of these forms is what helped inform my choices,” the designer says. “To me, the biggest challenge was coming up with an appropriate layout that made the house feel really comfortable and using a combination of textures that felt balanced.”

A gallery-like entry lends a strong first impression. “It creates a moment with the amazing Antony Gormley sculpture the couple has,” Henderson says. A bright yellow stool from Warren Platner is an artsy spot for removing boots, as is the stone-and-blackened- bronze bench by Eric Slayton.

Book-matched teak veneer walls and a teak staircase lead up to the large main living room, which has walls of glass on two sides that capture snow-capped vistas of the Elk Mountains. To create a sense of intimacy in the big room, Henderson divided it into two. “One is centered on the fireplace, and one is about experiencing the view—a place to sit and meditate.”

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A cypress soaking tub in the primary bathroom set in a limestone niche is one of several places in the residence designed for tranquility and reflection. Others are a meditation room with a fireplace and a rooftop deck for stargazing. Windows let the daylight pour in and offer a lens for appreciating the natural surroundings.

Henderson loves chairs of all kinds but is particularly fond of a classic original on display in the living room. A sheepskin-clad Tired Man chair, originally designed by Flemming

Lassen in 1935, sits next to a Hans Wegner Peacock chair. In addition, a pair of charcoal-gray upholstered armchairs and a Midcentury Modern custom sofa surround a custom coffee table that is 7 feet in diameter. On the other side of the room, a bright blue curved sofa from Vladimir Kagan faces a pair of Wegner’s wingback Papa Bear chairs, another of Henderson’s favorite seating options.

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Separating the seating areas is a 1970s-era vintage carved wood table. “What I tried to do was mix in natural and organic materials and match the architectural finishes,” the designer says. “I don’t want any of my interiors to feel too decorated. I want them to be balanced and serene.”

Another element uniting the room is a custom rug composed of multiple textures and layers. “In a modern home with walls of glass, it’s super important to make it feel warm by using soft, comfortable materials,” Henderson says.

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Surrounded by mountains and set on 24 acres high above the city of Aspen, the home has outdoor places for embracing the elements like this seating area with a fire pit.

The residence offers multiple spots for tranquility and reflection, including a meditation room with a fireplace, a cypress wood soaking tub in the primary bathroom, and a rooftop deck with wraparound views of the mountains and the Castle Creek Valley.

“There is a sense of appropriateness to everything that is in the home,” Henderson says. “The design doesn’t feel precious, even when rare or one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture are on display. Rooms can be very beautiful and yet livable and comfortable.”

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INTERIOR DESIGN Shawn Henderson Interior Design ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN Studio B Architecture + Interiors, Aspen and Boulder: Scott Lindenau FAIA Design Principal, Mike Piché AIA Project Architect, Susan Okie Lindenau Interior Design Director CABINETRY Colorado Custom Millwork

SHAWN HENDERSON: INTERIORS IN CONTEXT Photographs by Stephen Kent Johnson, forward by Mayer Rus

Interior designer Shawn Henderson’s new monograph (Monacelli Press, 2021) features 14 projects, from high-rise apartments in New York City to mountain retreats in Colorado, including two in Aspen

Categories: Interiors