Five Keys to Creating a Cozy Family Getaway
How to bring modernism to your mountain home
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.
1. KEEP IT LIGHT AND BRIGHT
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.”
2. TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE
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.
3. PUT UNIQUE TWISTS ON TRADITIONAL
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.
4. LET ART DICTATE YOUR DIRECTION
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.
5. MAKE COMFORT KING
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