A Traditional Telluride Swiss Chalet Brings the Outside in
A remodel by Newberry Architecture expanded the view in this 1990s-era home
“God had given us the most beautiful painting; we just needed to frame it properly.” So says Ken Newberry, founder and project architect of Newberry Architecture in Houston, who took a gamble and decided to blow out an entire wall of a 1990s-era Telluride home to make room for a view. The venture paid off—opening up the wall could potentially increase the home’s value by a million dollars or more according to Newberry—and made a family of five from Texas extremely happy with an updated Swiss chalet with a jaw-dropping vista.
With their extended family already owning multiple homes in Telluride, the 50s-something couple wanted a place for themselves and their three college-age children in the idyllic community. After looking at real estate for months, Newberry and the homeowner got 15 feet into the front door of their future home project and turned to each other and smiled. “We hadn’t even seen the rest of the house,” remembers Newberry. “I said, ‘You’re going to buy this home.’ But when we looked and saw the solid back wall, we knew we had to make it all glass—then, it would be magical. We needed that mountain view.”
The 10,000-square-foot log home and detached guesthouse sit on 5.8 acres in Mountain Village, above the original mining town of Telluride. Though dated, the home had dramatic and strong elements that Newberry and project manager Hana Abuelaish addressed in tandem with Houston-based interior designer Kara Childress. Together they refashioned the house into a contemporary mountain residence that stays true to its Swiss chalet vibe.
In addition to adding the massive floor-to-ceiling steel-and-glass window in the kitchen, Newberry removed a spiral staircase in the primary bedroom and renovated the media room, bunk room, bathroom and kitchen.
For the soft furnishings, Childress used a “Brunello Cucinelli” palette, she says, referring to the Italian fashion designer’s preferred color scheme of taupe and warm gray with neutral green undertones. “Instead of patterns, I used textures and let the outside speak for itself. I didn’t want anyone to be distracted by the furniture, so I used smooth leathers, sherpa and bouclé wools,” explains Childress, who sourced 90 percent of the soft furnishings from custom vendors, adding a few high-end items from Gorsuch and Restoration Hardware. Everything is covered in stain-resistant high-performance fabrics for the next chapter … grandchildren.
For now, however, the sports-loving family uses the home just as much in the summer as the winter. Because the house is ski-in, ski-out, friends and family are continually stopping in on winter ski days. Says Childress of the homeowners, “They casually entertain in their slope-side residence, skiing in morning, and then setting out lunch and hot chocolate for everyone who stops by. It’s the perfect location for just coming in and out. You feel very welcome there. Nothing is pretentious or precious.”
The designer’s favorite spot in the home is the living room area by the crackling fireplace. “It’s a large and generous home with dramatic ceilings and beams, so I like the cozy space for conversation,” she says.
As for the homeowners, nothing beats the kitchen view. “The large window makes it feel like you’re sitting outdoors overlooking the San Juan Mountains range,” the wife says. “And if you look down the mountain, you are facing the slopes below. You’re inside but feel like you’re outside—in nature.”