A Sustainably Designed Aspen Mountain Residence


For Aspen couple Scott and Alex Kendrick, the process of selecting an architect to design a house for themselves and their two young sons was a quick one. After interviewing just two firms, they made their choice: Scott Lindenau. “We love modern architecture and contemporary art,” explains Alex. “Scott had done some public projects and private homes that we admired, so it was a natural choice.”

Although choosing an architect was easy, the site proved to be more challenging. “The lot was just 30 feet by 100 feet, between a historic Swiss chalet-style house and an adjacent lot,” Lindenau says of the property, which was part of a historic lot split in Aspen’s East End. “As well as having to squeeze the house in, we had to work within the guidelines of Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission and adhere to a 20-foot height restriction.” To meet those challenges, Lindenau came up with a sleek and functional solution. He created a three-level structure that, in addition to living space for the family, also houses a two-car garage at the front. “Ideally, we weren’t supposed to have garage doors facing the street,” Lindenau says. “But with only a 5-foot setback on each side, we really didn’t have a choice.” Out of necessity as well, the entry was put on one side.

Lindenau laid out each 1,100-square-foot level carefully. In addition to the garage, the ground level houses the master bedroom and bath; a guest room, playroom and extra-large bedroom for the boys are set below grade. The public spaces are on the top floor, which the architect wrapped with a mahogany walkway and deck system. Mahogany railings were designed for privacy, but horizontal openings still allow mountain and treetop viewing. An exterior spiral staircase leads to a rooftop terrace, where built-in planters offer “hardscape design solutions that create structure and order and help define exterior rooms,” says landscape architect Valerie Yaw.

Apart from the site, sustainability was another important consideration. In line with that, exterior walls were finished with reconstituted concrete panels, and deep overhangs on the home’s south side were designed to influence cooling and heating. Energy-saving appliances and fixtures, as well as high-performance, low-e window glazing, help increase overall efficiency. “The design package was done with long-term durability and low-maintenance care in mind,” says builder Ants Cullwick, who worked with project manager Scott Billeisen. “That steered us toward certain material choices, which made it exciting.”

When it came to the interior design, which was handled by Susan Okie of Studio B’s interiors arm, Alex’s practical nature steered the way. “I’m very linear in thinking,” she says. “I like order, cleanliness, tidiness. The lines of modern furnishings all worked for us, but with two young kids, we also needed something that wasn’t too stark or hard.” Keeping those directives—and the couple’s art collection—in mind, Okie selected a neutral color palette for the rooms. “We wanted the interiors to be muted so that the artwork and furnishings would be focal points,” she says. “It created a gallery feel.”

Divided by a floating glassed-framed stairway, the top level features the living area and a fireplace on one side and the kitchen, dining space and a small sitting area on the other. The furnishings, as they are throughout, are marked by durable finishes and sculptural profiles. “They’re user-friendly, comfortable and functional,” Okie notes.

With their lives in full gear (Alex works for the Aspen Skiing Company; Scott owns Millennium Pack & Ship and ArtForward in Aspen), the Kendricks couldn’t be happier with their home, or about how it came to be. According to the lady of the house, “the process was so collaborative and fun that sometimes we joke, ‘When can we do another one?’ ” Lindenau is equally pleased. “This is a great house,” he says. “It’s an example of how good design can be achieved on any scale.”