Sophia Loren with a martini,” says Holly Peterson of the sexy, 1960s spirit that drove the design of her family’s vibrant Aspen vacation abode. “Many homes here have a traditional mountain feel, but I wanted to depart from that.” The wife, mother and self-described serial entrepreneur (she founded wellness company Physique earlier this year) wanted something more glamorous. For interiors that brought the bling, she called on her longtime designer, Samantha Todhunter. “The Petersons purchased the property sight unseen,” explains Todhunter. “The interiors were dark because of overwhelming brown paneling and heavy beams—so the goal was to move as far away from that as possible!”
To help realize the project, the clients brought on architect Sarah Broughton, who appreciated the property’s vertical layout that put public rooms on the top floor in order to enjoy the view during the day. “We gutted the home, but it was less about moving walls and more about selecting fresh finishes and maximizing daylight,” Broughton explains. The team, which included project manager Todd Biekkola and now-retired general contractor William Baker, utilized fresher, lighter materials with character, including reclaimed wood in the recreation and bunk rooms and white Italian marble in the kitchen. White plaster walls, large skylights and bespoke light fixtures the designer likens to art have transformed the rooms into glowing spaces that let the owners’ personalities shine through. “Aspen has always had trendsetting design and there’s a definite push for maximalism these days—but a more restrained and edited version. It’s not pattern and color just for the sake of it, it’s purposeful,” the designer notes.
To create spaces with volume and drama, Todhunter played with black-and-white hues. “We used white as the dominant color but the massive black lacquer library we designed grounds the space and enhances that sense of scale,” she says. Subtle nods to traditional mountain style are peppered throughout the property, such as the dining room’s antler-inspired chandeliers, but they are the exception. “Essentially, the home became a wonderful canvas for bold furniture and art that I hope creates an interesting conversation about what one expects of a mountain home,” Todhunter says. Design classics like Vladimir Kagan sofas take center stage in the living room and Pierre Paulin chairs hold pride of place in the downstairs kids’ quarters, but there are surprises too. “There are witty pieces like the Haas Brothers side table that sits cheekily between the black Woolly Bella chairs by Videre Licet,” the designer says. “Clever details underpinning sophisticated elegance is our studio signature.”
“Samantha takes a classic approach, but also adds style and glamour,” notes Holly, who shares the home with her husband, Karl, and their twins. “You have to know what you like for a designer to do his or her best work, and I’m very clear on my vision. I tell Sam the look and feel I want, and she captures it. She knows the best sofa, the best designers and the best showrooms.” Holly says this knowledge came in handy, since she requested a home that’s “exceptional,” but also very livable, as it’s used year- round for family sun and ski adventures.
One glittering through line is gold tones, with the hue running from the living area and cocktail bar into the kitchen, and perhaps most strikingly, the main bedroom, where the couple’s monumental four-poster bed might make the ever-glamorous Loren swoon. “All the brass details add a dash of luxury to an already luxe combination of fabrics and textures, creating really handsome spaces,” Todhunter says. Another striking use of color is in the bathrooms, which are all done in a palette of black and white. “I love dressing a whole bath space in tile—across the floor and over the ceiling. It adds drama and takes away from the utilitarian nature of the space,” the designer notes. The children’s level was another place to play. “Everything had to be fabulous, but still suitable for its use as a ski house, so we used elements like the four huge double bunks in the son’s room so everyone could pile in for the weekend,” Todhunter explains.
This is their third project together, and the joy Todhunter and Holly share in creating this home is palpable. “It’s a bold, brave and confident design full of artwork, color and pattern,” says the designer. In other words, a place where a family can live comfortably, but also like Italian cinema stars—just as Holly envisioned.