Harmony in the Hills
A custom Aspen build, and 2021 Home of the Year finalist, offers a luxurious second home for a multigenerational family
THE PLACE: Mountain Retreat is a modern lodge-style home set in the Five Trees neighborhood at the base of the Aspen Highlands ski area. Expansive, 270-degree views include vistas from the Hunter Valley and Red Mountain, down the Roaring Fork Valley, and up to Maroon Bells. The design process began in 2015, and the home was completed in December 2020.
“This is a family house, so we didn’t want it to be too precious. They wanted to be able to have big family gatherings, but also intimate spaces when it’s just the immediate family.” —Architect Sarah Broughton
THE PARTICULARS: The 10,750-square-foot home contains four similarly appointed bedrooms (there is no designated primary suite) and one bunk room. Exterior elements include natural stone veneer and wood slat siding, sheltered by a standing seam metal roof. Additional elements include a wood slat screen at the entry, timber rafter tails, steel lintels, and a green roof over the living room. The original parcel was a heavily wooded lot on a steep mountain slope in a forest of aspen and fir trees, so the architects carved the home into the hillside, effectively creating a “bench” by building a retaining wall along the south elevation. This allowed for the generous motor court for bikes and play, and also created a flat landing for the pool terrace off the living room.
THE PROJECT: “This is a multigenerational extended family, so our goal was to have lots of public spaces and different seating areas where the whole family could be together,” says Sarah Broughton, principal architect at Rowland + Broughton in Aspen. “They wanted to come here to create memories.”
“I love everything about the living room: the outdoors, art, fire, and wood. It’s the perfect combination of everything in perfect harmony.” —Architect Sarah Broughton
For Broughton, flow was critical in designing the house, so the architectural design team made sure to take advantage of the streaming natural light and built a covered outdoor living space that connects to the indoors.
To achieve a feeling of both space and calm, Broughton says they didn’t go overboard with massive scale and glass. Instead, they designed modest 10-foot ceilings to create intimacy and included solid walls amid the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sliding doors to allow for a sense of enclosure.
“We are conscientious about not being trendy to create lasting design that is timeless.”
—Architect Sarah Broughton
Because the neighborhood has stringent design review polices based on National Park Service rustic architecture, the house was designed with traditional proportions and forms, and incorporated both modern detailing and timeless elements.
Broughton defines the style as organic contemporary. “We built this as a legacy home, so we used materials that would get better with age and patina, like the cleft-cut sandstone that will naturally weather, and 1.5-inch-thick stained wood siding that will wear beautifully over time,” she says.
The interior design combines splurge-worthy custom pieces (i.e. Holly Hunt and David Weeks) and off-the-shelf, quick-ship items from Room and Board, Design Within Reach, and Restoration Hardware. “The main color palette is the wood and millwork and floors, but we wanted to have fun with pops of color,” says Broughton. “We didn’t want it to be too serious. We were more interested in the unexpected.”
ARCHITECTURE/ INTERIOR DESIGN Sarah Broughton, Rowland + Broughton CONTRACTOR RA Nelson MILLWORK Villarreal Rasmussen (VR) Cabinet Makers LANDSCAPING Design Workshop FLOORING Arrigoni Woods