Amy Millisor wanted a new perspective on life, and she found it in the Littleton, Colorado-area neighborhood where she’s lived for many years. Amy and her two children loved what she calls their “super modern” home, but after her husband, Rob, died unexpectedly, it wasn’t the same. “After he passed away, I wanted a change,” she says. Amy turned to designer Andrea Schumacher—a friend, neighbor and the person who’d decorated their modern home—to help her envision an entirely new place for her and her teenage son and daughter. Luckily, she’d been able to purchase a nearby property that had the same stunning views of the lake and mountain horizon she’d long enjoyed.
The designer and architect Matt Stais collaborated on a design that spoke to Amy’s personality, with references to her roots in Cape Cod. “She’s fun, playful, young and she has a lot of spark,” Schumacher says, “She also wanted the home to reflect Cape Cod, so we incorporated all of those things.” The hydrangea-lined driveway leads to a shingled home whose exterior is illuminated by gas lanterns—all of it a nod to Amy’s New England upbringing. Inside, she gave Schumacher carte blanche to design a new environment for her and her kids.
The designer set the tone with a chic take on a ski-lodge fireplace, inspired by the couple’s 25 years in Breckenridge, where Rob and Stais developed a series of resorts. Here, a floating chimney is lined with a cobalt-blue wood veneer wallcovering that sets the home’s palette. “It’s the first thing you see when you come through the front door,” Schumacher says. But getting it there took some serious engineering. “The hanging fireplace was a big deal,” Stais says. General contractor Dan Fuller says his team had to add additional structure overhead so the ceiling could support its tremendous weight, in addition to steel and concrete bracing all around so it wouldn’t sway.
Schumacher showed the fireplace wallpaper sample to her cabinetmaker, who responded with cabinetry for the bar and kitchen in the same color. She then added feminine touches to the kitchen, like bumping out the blue drawers to resemble a bedroom dresser and incorporating a jewelry-like brass detail on the custom range hood, the barstools and cabinet hardware. The same combination is present in the powder room, where she commissioned a chinoiserie wallpaper on a gold background over a deep blue antique console retrofitted to be a vanity.
For the most part, however, the designer kept the interiors neutral to keep the views center stage. But that didn’t mean Schumacher had to abandon her artistic license, especially in Amy’s bedroom: “She wanted it to be soft in color, but at the same time, we gave her snakeskin wallpaper, and we rocked out her bathroom and made it girly. It is just for her, so it reflects her personality.” Schumacher also created a living space that could easily evolve over the years. Big white comfy sofas offer a crisp backdrop for new accent pillows, rugs or throws. “It has a chameleon-type of essence. You can play with pattern and colors and not have it be overly designed,” she says.
Equally important was the outdoor living space, whose prominent views are in front of the house. “It was really about how everything related to the outdoor patio,” says Stais, who situated it on axis with Mount Evans in the distance. He then wrapped the house around the patio with bedroom wings for Amy and the kids extending off the central living area. Glass pocket doors disappear into the walls to make the great room and dining area one with the patio, which is just as large as the interior space.
Landscape designers Nick and Elizabeth Pisani surrounded the patio with low stone walls, ornamental grasses, rose shrubs and dwarf evergreens. “We had to come up with some creative ways to give her privacy in the front but not block her views,” Nick Pisani says. Colorado River boulders throughout the landscape help to soften the home’s linear geometry.
Though nearly everything is located on the main level, there are two guest rooms and a
TV room downstairs. Stais jokes that he was personally invested in designing “really great” guest rooms because his family hopes to be frequent visitors, having become so close with the couple over the years. “This is a lot more than a new house for Amy,” he adds, taking a more serious tone. “It’s a way of moving on, and I took that very seriously.”