Telluride Gold stone and reclaimed boards from Guinness stout vats add natural warmth and Western ambience to the intimate living room. Plush chenille couches and chocolate leather chairs beg guests to relax by the fireplace. Mark Rohrig’s acrylic on canvas “When the Soul Has Spoken,” and a pottery vessel reminiscent of a woven basket, by Michael Wisner, add subtle character to the room.
Cool and contemporary, the kitchen features fir cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. Adding another dimension in texture, a long glass bar and glass backsplash complement the home’s modern façade, while a stainless-steel table and chairs add visual punch.
The master bedroom, with its curved ceiling, is an intimate oasis of form and function. Besides adding warmth on a chilly night, the fireplace also serves as a resting place for a Darcy Ferrill glass creation. Hanging above the bed is Ashley Collins’ charcoal on wood “Ever.”
The view from the entry hall reveals the natural creek, which was the impetus for the home’s design.When most people envision a mountain retreat, they immediately conjure lodge-style architecture, complete with rustic beams and Western ambience. But for these Midwestern homeowners, their mountain getaway in Snowmass Village is a stunning example of contemporary appeal meets Western chic.
Capturing the essence of the natural landscape, the house was designed around a stream, which gracefully winds its way beneath the entry hall down the south side of the mountain. With such a rare natural focal point, the home is firmly grounded in the Western aesthetic, while the architect’s extensive use of glass and steel also pays homage to the paired-down stylings of the contemporary vernacular.
CH&L’s 2007 Home of the Year was chosen not only for its distinct interpretation of the setting but also for its peaceful coexistence with its natural surroundings. We sat down with the homeowners and John Cottle of Cottle Carr Yaw Architects, who breathed life into this contemporary creation, to reveal the design attitudes of this majestic mountain retreat.
CH&L: What was your initial vision for the home?
John Cottle: The homeowners knew they wanted a nontraditional home on a ski-in/ski-out lot with a creek but they did not have a conception of what that would look like exactly. Homeowner: We knew we wanted the architecture to envelop the natural surroundings and complement nature.
CH&L: How did you meld the Western aesthetic together with the contemporary architecture?
JC: We combined contemporary attitudes and materials, such as an exposed steel structure and very large areas of glass, with traditional, natural materials, such as stone and wood.
CH&L: You’ve mentioned “attitudes” quite a bit; how would you describe this home’s attitude?
JC: I like to think in terms of design attitude rather than style. For this home, we looked at the attributes of the site and devised a plan. We wanted to create a forward-thinking building that respected and paid homage to the region.
CH&L: What unique touches did you incorporate?
H: I wanted concrete floors throughout, but my husband really wanted wood. Our builder found a flooring product that was made from recycled Guinness stout vats. Being Irish, my husband loved it immediately.
JC: Our challenge was that the Guinness vats were really dark and bold, so we mixed in some boards from cider vats. But overall, this was a great example of a natural material that added texture and significance to this contemporary form.
CH&L: During the design and build phase, did you encounter any construction challenges?
H: The primary reason we bought this lot was because of the creek, and it turned out to be our biggest challenge. We had to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to devise a way to build our home without disrupting the natural flow of the creek. We found a way to have the best of both worlds by spanning the creek and adding to the surrounding natural plants.
JC: We also had a lot of building restraints that made this construction envelope very tight. In Snowmass, there is a maximum floor limit of 4,925 square feet, and we came within two feet of that limit; we were also right on the height limit for the area. In mature Western resorts the pressure to build is very strong, so the local communities regulate construction for the protection of the greater community.
CH&L: For such a contemporary residence, how did you make it feel warm and inviting?
H: We designed the house to have small bedrooms and larger gathering areas so our whole family could be together in one space. Because of this, the house exudes warmth. Instead of a huge, vacuous home, we wanted something that would be comfortable for just the two of us, but that could contain the wonderful chaos of family. Our home is simple and unpretentious, like us, but it is really our family that gives it true character.
Cottle Carr Yaw Architects
Blue River Construction
Mt. Daly Enterprises, LLC
custom glass accents
Barbara Sigel Interior Design
Jeffry Mann Gallery of Fine Woodworking