Extraordinary settings sometimes require extraordinary restraint. Case in point: A contemporary home sited in the abundant natural beauty and sweeping views of Breckenridge, Colorado. This dwelling lives up to the landscape not with extravagance, but with streamlined simplicity.
Its occupants, a family drawn to the area by their love of nature and passion for outdoor activities, craved not just a vacation home for themselves, but a generous, open plan retreat that feels equally welcoming for close friends and extended family. And, although they wanted something appropriate to the location, they imagined a house that was slightly unexpected.
After settling on a lakeside setting, the family reached out to designers Rachel Hoback and Michaela Rodgers and architect Tim Hagman. Their design directive: Create a mountain getaway challenging the traditional aesthetic of a lake house, while remaining respectful to the site studded with towering pines. “We wanted to ensure that the house had a connection to its environment,” says Hagman. “This isn’t just a contemporary white box. It feels at home here.”
Materials like rough-hewn timber, logs and stones were jettisoned in favor of concrete, smooth walnut wood and industrial steel beams, yet the team always deferred to what drew the family here to begin with–the allure of the raw terrain. Balancing the powerful framework, the home eschews extraneous details and color, opting instead for hushed palettes and simple silhouettes that minimize distractions from the high-impact surroundings. “This house is right on a lake and has amazing views of the mountains,” Rodgers says. “It was specifically designed around that scenery. We incorporated straightforward natural materials inside. Nothing too flashy or colorful was used.”
In fact, it was discouraged. To put guests at ease, furnishings and fabrics are informal and inviting and are almost demure in nature. Graciously scaled sectionals upholstered in earthy, heavy-weave fabrics are quietly luxurious. Subtle accents of color–teal blues, reds and oranges–mirror the deepest hues of the nearby lake and the sunsets reflected on its still surface.
However, eschewing any hint of flamboyance is not to say that the opportunity for the occasional visual punch was ignored. Bold elements serve as design exclamation points throughout the house, such as the large-scale, concrete-clad fireplace surrounds in the living room and downstairs family room that are bookended by walnut shelves, with the warm tones of the wood softening the concrete’s hard edges.
It’s just one of the areas where opposites are used to heighten the design. “Contrast was very important here,” Hoback notes. “We incorporated a mix of materials–some warm, some cold, some heavy, some light. Contrast not only provides balance, but it creates focal points–and the mix of materials feels very natural here.”
In the kitchen, the juxtaposition of materials continues, with the local, natural beauty front and center in the form of warm woods and white-painted cabinets; concrete floors and Basaltina countertops. An undulating vein cut in the tile backsplash provides a hint of polished pattern. And, of course, an overscale island means both meal prep and meals become a family affair.
Formal and informal also find equilibrium here. Just off the kitchen, a cozy family room provides a casual counterpoint to the living room’s more sedate lines. Streamlined silhouettes in the form of a well-used window seat and low-slung table and club chairs create a zone built to encourage game nights and storytelling. The view–possibly the best in the house–finds no distractions but is, instead, embraced by the autumnal palette and wealth of glowing wood that seems to almost to be lit from within. “The driving force behind the design was really this family’s desire for comfortable spaces that still feel current,” Hoback says. “It’s welcoming and family friendly and is built to bring people together.”
Private spaces, including two master suites, four bedrooms and a bunk room that sleeps 10, reinforce the inviting nature that sets the tone throughout the house. Design details–wood-panel walls, leather benches and cantilevered bedside tables–provide an uncluttered sophistication personalized with touches alluding to the gracious family that spends time here. Colorful blankets from their home in Mexico’s Oaxaca region inspire earthy palettes. Vintage skis, skates, snowshoes and ski maps reference a passion for this place and the outdoor activities that drew this family here in the first place. All signal a love affair with Colorado and a desire to share the traditions that make this a true home away from home. “The lifestyle in the mountains is relaxed and informal–never flashy,” Hagman says. “This house embraces that; it encourages downtime simply spent with family.”