The proverb that “A man’s home is his castle” is usually understood to be a metaphor. But, in the case of this abode just outside Carbondale, Colorado, the previous owners had taken it literally. Drawing inspiration from French châteaus, it had thick plaster walls, dark beams, wrought-iron light fixtures and oversized fireplaces. Then came in new owners, who possessed an eagle eye for good bones and a great location. Perched on a bend of the Roaring Fork River, the house offered imposing views of Mount Sopris and enough room to welcome their four adult children, along with their own growing families and friends. “It was the right square footage for us,” the wife explains. “We knew it would need some love.”
And so the renovation began, helmed by interior designer Denise Taylor of Aspen Design House, who worked in collaboration with senior designer Geneva Podolak Knox and Travis Jadwin of Silverado Builders, LLC. Instead of tackling everything at once, however, the couple decided to address the project in stages, allowing them to take advantage of the home during the summer and winter holidays. “Denise and Travis did a great job of making sure it would be livable during this process,” the husband recalls. And Taylor was on board with this plan. “People purchase a new home and they’re really excited to use it,” she comments. “It’s hard for them to wait 18 months to do that.”
The team ground down the home’s thick walls, washed them in a bright white and finished them in a smooth texture. Openings were also cut to accommodate new windows and doors. Tapping local stonemasons, they resized the fireplaces and removed arches on either side of the family room’s hearth. Now, with sliding doors stretching across the entire back of the house to reveal mesmerizing views of rushing water and snow-capped mountains, the refreshed abode is flooded with light, just as the couple had once imagined.
With the arrival of fall and the homeowners’ departure, part two commenced. The exterior of the residence was painted a light cream and accented with dark trim. The primary bath was overhauled and a freestanding tub was positioned to take advantage of the view. Meanwhile, the kitchen was gutted and new custom cabinetry installed, leaving a wide berth for the 5-foot Wolf range Taylor had ordered. Unfortunately, the reality of supply chain issues brought about by the pandemic delayed the stove’s arrival. With the entire family—and their guests—poised to return to celebrate the holidays, Jadwin jerry-rigged a solution: He reinstalled the abode’s old cooktop, slid the original oven into the empty space and created temporary cabinets to disguise the gaps. Later, when the range finally made its appearance, he cut the countertop stone to accommodate it.
The new year brought stage three. The small balconies off the kitchen and dining room were connected, creating one large deck that wraps around one corner of the house. And, to infuse this home with new life from within, lighting played a central role. Rather than a more classic fixture option for the staircase, the designer created a sculptural design reminiscent of a flock of birds. A similar version crowns the family room, where a sprawling sectional and two plump armchairs offer room for the entire clan to gather and relax.
Where heavy decor once ruled, simple clean-lined pieces and upholstery in creams and camels now keep the focus on the view. Exuberant wallpapers abound as well. “I kept pushing for more and more fun designs,” the wife recalls. “It’s a huge home so you really can’t have white walls everywhere,” Taylor concurs. Artwork also helps to break up the expansive surfaces. Augmented by hints of gold in the fixtures and accessories, the interiors’ new warm tones help to turn soaring stone fireplaces from overpowering giants to inspired focal points. The final effect is of a light, modern space designed for family, friends and fun. “Everything we thought about and had a vision for, we got,” the husband says. “The outcome is fantastic,” concludes the wife.