New York Couple Remodels Luxury Aspen Penthouse with Pops of Color

A New York City couple renovates a one-of-a-kind penthouse in the downtown core
Aspen Penthouse Living Copy

Living Room The living room features a Christian Liaigre sectional in Pollack midnight- blue cotton velvet, paired with custom chairs in a Kravet ivory bouclé fabric. The Troscan coffee table is walnut, wrapped in Kravet cappuccino leather. The bar is a custom design by Amuneal, while the Ortal gas fireplace is surrounded in Brown Fantasy leathered granite. The painting is by David Shrigley, and sculptures by Julian Opie. | Photos by Dallas & Harris Photography

Some people who live in dense, urban environments want to buy a vacation home in Colorado to escape the sheer craziness of their daily lives. They’re eager to purchase in areas with a wide expanse of land, fresh mountain air and a quiet sense of nature, and for good reason: To get away from the noisy hubbub.

Aspen Penthouse Dine

Dining Room A custom dining room table with a corrugated black metal base and stained rift oak top is flanked by Promemoria Bilou Bilou chairs in aubergine velvet. The chandelier is Frederik Molenschot from Carpenters Workshop, and the artwork is titled “Star Machine,” by Farah Al Qasimi.

Yet, New York power couple Billy and Julie Macklowe wanted the exact opposite. “We’re city people,” says Julie, founder of The Macklowe, the first American single-malt whiskey. “I hate driving a car. The reality is that we like to be central.” So when she suddenly found a four-story townhome for sale in Aspen’s core, the couple jumped. The location was one of the best, if not the best in downtown Aspen, one block to the gondola and just steps from world-class shopping, buzzy nightclubs and exquisite restaurants. And this was before they saw the two adjoining rooftop decks with 360-degree views of Ajax, Red Mountain, Independence Pass and Capitol Peak.

Aspen Penthouse Kit Copy

Kitchen Acustomaluminum Bulthaup kitchen includes a Dornbracht faucet, Miele refrigerator/freezer and gas range, Wolf microwave drawer, Gaggenau dishwashers, a Blanco Silgranit sink and a Marvel wine fridge. The barstools are Astele, with a stained oak base and Kravet navy leather seats with brass accents.

Within one week, the Macklowes had put the four-bedroom townhome under contract, thrilled with their light-filled, showstopper abode. Yet the home, built in 2012, didn’t quite live up to their New York City mod style, with its dated Swiss alpine accents and mountainy finishes. They decided to fully gut and remodel the 5,200-square-foot penthouse, hiring local interior designer Karen White to oversee the renovation and bring a cohesive look to the space and infuse it with luxury.

Aspen Penthouse Couch

Den The media room showcases a custom sleeper sofa in Lee Jofa green velvet fabric. The round ottoman is fabricated in Nobilis ribbed blue velvet, and the throw pillows are upholstered in Romo Black Edition printed jacquard velvet. The art is by Ira Lombardia, titled “Google Pattern: The Rest Is History.”

“They didn’t want the typical modern mountain look,” remembers White. “They wanted color on everything except the walls, which they wanted painted gallery white for their artwork. We designed a green velvet sleeper sofa, a vibrant blue sectional couch, aubergine dining chairs and navy leather barstools. It’s modern glam.”

Aspen Penthouse Lounger

Loungers On the upper rooftop deck, friends and family can relax on Kettal sun loungers with turquoise fabric cushions. The side tables are also Kettal, with a concrete base and gray aluminum tops. “With the outdoor kitchen, the lower deck is more for dining,” explains designer Karen White. “But the upper deck is for parties.”

It was move-in ready in March of 2022, and the result is exceptional, a timeless blend of custom and high-end designer pieces (think Christian Liaigre and Cassina), a Bulthaup kitchen, European hardwood floors by Arrigoni Woods—and Kettal furniture, a Danver outdoor kitchen and Tuuci umbrellas on the highest rooftop terrace allowed in the City of Aspen. “We are a design-focused household,” says Billy, a real estate developer. “We’re inspired by clean lines, form and function, and minimalism.”

Aspen Penthouse Ext

Exterior The exterior view showcases the four floors of the townhome, plus two rooftop decks and views of Red Mountain. “There’s an easy flexibility with being in the Aspen core — nothing is more than five minutes away, and there’s something so pleasant about that style of living,” says homeowner Billy Macklowe.

The Macklowes and their two daughters divide their time between their Manhattan residence, a sprawling estate in Sagaponack in the Hamptons, and Aspen, noting the similarities between the three properties in feeling, vibe, nature and ethos. But the penthouse was designed to be more durable and less precious, as it is a mountain home with a lot of foot traffic and active, outdoorsy guests, says Julie, who was born in Aspen and lived there until age 12. “We love the pops of color and wanted it to be fun and whimsical. It feels super modern and chic, but with its own charm and character,” she adds.

Aspen Penthouse Outdoor Kit

Outdoor Kitchen The primary rooftop deck—one of the highest in the downtown Aspen core— features Kettal bar stools and sectional with turquoise fabric cushions. The countertops are Dekton outdoor porcelain slabs with waterfall edges, and the stainless-steel refrigerator, ice maker and dishwasher are all by Sub-Zero. The built-in grill is Wolf.

Although White acknowledges some of the challenges with the remodel—for example, the hot tub and much of the furniture had to be air-lifted into the unit with a crane, with the city’s approval at every turn—she says it was exciting to design a home that took a clear departure from the neutral palette of today’s modern mountain houses. “The Macklowes were high energy and dynamic,” says White. “It’s fun to do something with color and vibrancy. It really is an extraordinary home for Aspen.”

Aspen Penthouse Bed

Primary Bedroom A custom upholstered, tufted headboard in Elizabeth Dow navy suede anchors the primary bedroom. The bedside lamp is Foscarini Lumiere, and the wall covering is Maya Romanoff gray felted wool. The bedding is Yves Delorme with decorative pillows in gray/ivory bouclé fabric. Artwork is Florian & Michael Quistrebert, titled “Aya Cynthia.”

And yes, while the prime location of the townhome speaks volumes, it’s the feeling and flow of the interior that makes it even more special, the Macklowes agree. “The middle floor is the central nervous system of the house with the kitchen and living spaces,” says Billy. “When people want their own space, they can have their own hideaways, but when everyone comes together, it’s simply gracious and accommodating.”

Aspen Penthouse Bath

Primary Bathroom Cabinetry in Shinnoki Desert Oak by Vonmod is highlighted in the primary bathroom, with countertops in Caesarstone Pure White quartz. The plumbing fixtures are all Dornbracht in polished chrome, and the MTI freestanding tub features a white matte finish. The cabinet hardware is by Top Knobs.


INTERIOR DESIGN Karen White Interior Design
PHOTOGRAPHY Dallas & Harris Photography

Categories: Interiors