Five Keys to Creating a Cozy Family Getaway

How to bring modernism to your mountain home
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Gathering Space The living room was the most crucial space to get right for the homeowner, as she wanted it to be comfortable for her entire family when they come in town. The seating is arranged to take full advantage of both the fireplace and the TV, as well as the views of Lionshead beyond. Swivel chairs are custom designed from Lee Industries; the sofa is custom-designed from dowe-studio; the rug is from Scarab. The coffee table from Phillips Collection is another great example of blending traditional materials with modern form. | Photography by Kimberly Gavin

Bringing modernism to your mountain home can be a tricky endeavor—all those clean lines and airy spaces can end up feeling as cold and stark as the winter peaks.

We love how Erika Dowe Fitzgerald from dowe-studio in Edwards designed this exquisite modern Vail condo.

And so, we asked her to let us in on how she transformed this blank canvas into a warm family getaway, without compromising the homeowners’ avant-garde sensibilities.

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Breakfast Nook This casual breakfast nook doubles as a game room (the homeowners love doing puzzles together and playing cards). A cowhide rug from Yerra Rugs grounds the space in the mountains, while the Modloft table and chairs, and Barbara Barry chandelier are decidedly modern.


Leverage as much natural mountain light as possible to create a clean, warm ambiance. In this condo, Dowe Fitzgerald traded traditional thick draperies for sheer window coverings that let the sun set the room aglow.

“All of the draperies are more ethereal than what you would typically see. We wanted the light to come through.”

In lieu of solemn leather furnishings, Dowe Fitzgerald chose low-slung couches and chairs in a light color palette to give the space levity.

“We tried to select furnishings and fabrics that were an ode to the mountain life, but also very clean and luxurious.” They also make the space really nimble, she says, “easy to update with fresh pillows or fabrics.”

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Master Bedroom In the master bedroom, the custom chaise lounge by Lee Industries is the perfect spot to bury your nose in a book. The sheer drapery fabric is by Rogers & Goffigon, and the blackout drapery fabric is Pollack.


To add interest and warmth while using a neutral color palette, Dowe Fitzgerald suggests layering textures.

The custom chaise in the master bedroom, for example, is modern in form yet its sumptuous faux-fur upholstery makes it right at home in the high country.

The white couches and chairs in the living room also are accented with neutral patterned pillows and throws, and the solid white rug is ridged with high and low fiber piles.

When you’re working in muted colors in the same vein, says Dowe Fitzgerald, you can be as adventurous as you want when it comes to texture: Knobby, furry, ribbed, fuzzy, hatched—it all goes together.

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Bedroom A bright aspen painting is cleverly bookended by ceramic animal heads. Table lamps by Arteriors; nightstands by Brownstone; bed in Edelman leather by dowe-studio; pillows by Schumacher and Metaphores; custom throw by Casamance.


Accents with creative takes on conventional mountain décor are a fun, cheeky way to pay homage to mountain style while keeping things fresh, says Dowe Fitzgerald.

For this condo, for example, she found “taxidermy” animal heads made of white porcelain, and a bedside footstool that’s made of transparent acrylic.


While most people think finding art that goes with everything else is one of the last steps in the design process, Dowe Fitzgerald loves to make that her starting point.

Finding pieces of art that speak to you helps give your space originality and personality, she says, which is a big part of adding warmth to any room.

In this case, the homeowner loves art, and pieces like the wall hanging in the entry made from black and white ceramic discs helped set the tone for the entire space. “Finding one-of-a-kind, quirky things that she was drawn to was a really fun part of it,” Dowe Fitzgerald says.

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Living Room The homeowner had the Love artwork custom made, which adds just a splash of color, and Dowe Fitzgerald chose organic Moooi basket chandeliers that frame the space and separate it from the living area. Dining table by Restoration Hardware; dining chairs from Camerich LA; rug by Loloi.The custom wall hanging by Michele Quan sets the tone for the entire condo. “I enjoy finding unique pieces of art that suit our style and that warm the space,” says the homeowner. The kitchen’s walnut cabinetry and granite slabs were both pre-construction selections.


Above all, coziness comes from being comfortable, so every furnishing should be chosen with that in mind.

The living room, for example, boasts an open layout that ensures plenty of relaxing reading nooks and conversation squares for the homeowners’ growing family. (With their children grown, the Vail home is now their primary gathering place.)

The luxurious custom couch and swivel chairs were all chosen for curling up on game night, an après-ski glass of wine, or reading a good book.

The RH Modern barstools are deep-set and high-backed, perfect for reading the paper over coffee, and the Camerich LA dining chairs are elegant yet encourage lingering over dessert.

INTERIOR DESIGNER Erika Dowe Fitzgerald, Owner/Principal; dowe-studio

Categories: Interiors