Before & After: A Mountain Aerie in Aspen
This 20-year-old home, sitting at an elevation of 8,200 feet on Aspen’s Red Mountain, had plenty of room (7,600 square feet) and fundamentally good bones. But the interior had a dated, gloomy “Western lodge” feel that made the rooms seem claustrophobic and closed off from the glorious mountainscape.
Designer John Bossard, who is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and New York City, teamed up with Aspen architecture and interior design firm Rowland + Broughton. They left the footprint and exterior of the house—a European mountain chalet style with exposed beam overhangs—essentially the same, instead focusing on brightening the interiors and making them more usable and family friendly.
It’s all about the views. When Karin and Joe Luter bought their Aspen home in 2012, they went down in square footage from their previous lakeside Aspen house, but up in elevation. Their new mountainside house overlooks the entire Aspen Valley—from Independence Pass to Mt. Sopris—but when they bought the place, its interior spaces lacked the openness to take full advantage of the 180-degree vistas.
So the couple, who have a teenage daughter, hired designer John Bossard and local architecture firm Rowland + Broughton to take the house from dreary to dazzling.
“Originally this house was very dark—it looked like a Western lodge—so we lightened and brightened everything,” says Bossard, who had worked with the Luters on three previous homes. “Now the house is much more intimate and livable, more family oriented.” Much of that change in feeling was accomplished through the craftsmanship of Roger Moyer of Aspen Paint, who replastered the textured walls to make them smooth, reglazed the heavy-looking beams to give them a light white-oak finish, and pickled and bleached the living room ceilings. “We transformed it from a dark-brown cavern into a bright, voluminous space,” says Bossard.
Because Karin has a Nordic background, many of the interior furnishings have a Scandinavian look, with Bossard custom-designing specific pieces of furniture and adding touches of Nordic blue (“we call it Luter blue,” Bossard says) in curtains, chair fabrics, and area rugs throughout the home.
The outside of the home remained architecturally the same, but by lightening the color of the stucco and adding darker trim, the team was able to create contrast and volume. The homeowners also built a new turnaround driveway to “set the tone for a permeable, accessible family house,” says Sarah Broughton, principal of Rowland + Broughton.
“Now this house is homey and family-functional,” Bossard says, “but it’s not informal. It’s really all about casual elegance. We made it more current and, at the same time, more timeless.”
DINING ROOM BEFORE
DINING ROOM AFTER
In the dining room, Bossard’s team bleached the beams, replaced the iron chandelier with a more delicate fixture by David Iatesta, and removed the dark hutch on the far end, adding a built-in Scandinavian-style buffet, custom made by Brown Dog Designs with antiqued glass, that gives the room a more spacious, reflective feel.
Despite its grand scale, the master bedroom feels warm, thanks in part to the custom corona-style valance over the Hickory Chair Simone King Bed upholstered in Kerry Joyce Stratton fabric. The cabinet at the foot of the bed, built by Tim Whalen Custom Cabinetry, hides a TV that pops up like a toaster and swivels to accommodate viewing from any part of the room. The custom chandelier is by Paul Ferrante.
GUEST ROOM BATH
The guest room bath was made more open and inviting by replacing a cumbersome vanity with two pedestal sinks; the floor is travertine.
Bossard kept the kitchen cabinets as they were but built a new service island, topped in Caesarstone in Frosty Carrina and surrounded by Hickory Chair Marit barstools upholstered in Classic Cloth Sonoma Check fabric. He added handpainted, glazed antique Portuguese tiles from Solar Antique Tiles over the stove and topped it all off with a pale-blue Delaware lantern by Paul Ferrante.
FAMILY ROOM BEFORE
FAMILY ROOM AFTER
In the family room, a light wall covering was added to bring the focus to the French doors leading outside. The blue area rug is Scandinavian-inspired.
In the living room, Holland & Sherry wool curtains with rich chocolate-brown overembroidery surround an antique German pedestal table and frame views of Aspen Mountain. O. Henry House sofas are topped with Joseph Konrad Aubusson accent pillows; the club chairs come from Jasper Michael Smith, and the coffee table was custom made by Tim Whalen Custom Cabinetry. The antique 12-candle chandelier comes from Luxe Home Couture.
For more redesigns, SEE:
Before & After: A Beaver Creek Log Home
A Remodel of a Cabin in the Woods
Before & After: A 1960s Denver Ranch
Before & After Office Makeover: Children's Museum of Denver
A Denver Home Remodel Inspires an Art Collection