The owners of this Aspen home live primarily in Houston, but they have a special place in their hearts for the Colorado Rockies where, with help from their longtime designer, Charlotte Moss, they created a relaxed and elegant getaway for themselves, their two children and three grandchildren. The wife notes that the promise of family time was the main reason they purchased the home. “We all love skiing, golfing, hiking and fishing,” she says.
But although the clan appreciates the great outdoors, their Colorado home is free from an expected mountain aesthetic. “They wanted something that felt like Aspen, but that wasn’t clichéd,” says Moss. Inside the stone-clad house originally designed nearly 20 years ago by architect John Rowland of Rowland+Broughton, the rooms are filled with a welcoming mixture of warm colors, rich textures, comfortable upholstered furniture and some antiques. Having designed their Texas abode, Moss knows the owners well, noting their taste, like her own, runs traditional. “I like patina and I like layering—and so do my clients,” she says.
The entrance to the house, with its high ceiling, limestone floor and steps that lead to the living room, is striking, but it is the backside of the dwelling—home to the living room, main bedroom and kitchen—where something magical happens. Moss notes that, in these areas, the residents enjoy views of Aspen Mountain and, because the sky changes all day long, the spaces provide front-row seats to an ever-evolving nature show.
In the living room, with its 22-foot-high beamed ceiling, fabric in warm tones of terra cotta and camel covers the furniture, harmonizing with the client’s antique rug and the existing stone fireplace, over which the family added a Bavarian deer head. “The goal was ‘warm,’” the designer says. “I would never consider using cool colors in a room where everyone goes after skiing.” Moss also lightened up the dining room, where she replaced dark wood paneling with blue-green plaster walls, a limestone fireplace mantel and a pair of iron- and-brass sconces.
Moss made the biggest changes in the kitchen, which she essentially gutted, replacing a large fireplace with a wall of cabinets and adding a dining table along with an upholstered banquette. The palette of the room went from dark and heavy to light and bright, with the walls and cabinets painted a color the designer calls “French vanilla,” and the addition of a colorful Portuguese tile backsplash. She also added an arched doorway to the living room to better connect the spaces. The kitchen, Moss explains, is how the family enters the house after coming in through the garage and then the mudroom, which has the same pigmented-plaster walls as the dining room, along with engravings of birds of prey and a wall of lockers for sporting equipment.
A sense of serenity characterizes the private spaces in the home, such as the main bedroom, with its walls of linen painted in shades of pale green, gray and white. In one corner of the room, a comfortable armchair and a lamp offer the husband a place to read late at night, and an adjacent, wood-paneled study with a fireplace provides a cozy spot for him to work. But downstairs, in the large family room, a sense of lively merriment reigns. There, Moss designed a red leather-covered, brass-trimmed bar, on the other side of which is a high-tech golf simulator— not a surprising addition given the family’s enthusiasm for the sport. Off the family room, a powder room is animated with a paper-backed fabric in a playful pattern that the designer likens to a “blown-up version of a Moroccan tile.”
Moss recalls that the wife said she never thought a house as large as this one could be warm until she saw what the designer had created. The key is a design that defers to what Moss describes as “breathtaking views.” As she says, the rooms “frame the landscape” rather than compete with it, while also fostering the sense of community she observed the first time she met the family at the abode. As she recalls, “everyone was gathered in the kitchen, making pancakes together.” Now, the husband says the family tends to spend the most time in the living room, but the feeling is no less amiable. “With the children on the floor, playing games, it’s more than a living room,” he says. “It’s a family room.”