In a dream scenario, you receive a tip that leads you to scoop up a home on the same block as your closest friends, one of whom is a designer and the other an architect. In a double dream scenario, the former steps in to hone its interiors to your taste and the latter joins in on the fun too. Just how fortunate would that be?
Such is the story of Daniel MacDonald and Gregg Kaminsky’s arrival in Snowmass Village. The couple had been regularly vacationing to the area from their East Coast residences for over two decades, falling more and more in love with the Roaring Fork Valley each time. Then one night, at a dinner party, an acquaintance mentioned to Daniel that there was a fantastic renovated house for sale in Snowmass. He ought to check it out, she suggested. “This person, who I didn’t even really know, sketched out our home on a napkin—which I still have,” he says with a laugh. As luck would have it, this abode’s interiors had been envisioned by their dear friend, designer Kristin Dittmar Doremus. And it was located right by the home she shares with her husband, architect Ryan Doremus of Thunderbowl Architects, and their two young sons.
The proximity to the Doremus family convinced Daniel and Gregg that this residence was meant for them. “Kristin and Ryan’s children are our godsons, so it was very motivating to have a house nearby,” Daniel explains. The fact that Kristin had been the designer to shape its floor plan and finishes was simply the cherry on top. She’d opted for warm elements like wide-plank oak floors and tongue-in-groove oak ceilings, paired with contemporary touches such as a metal fireplace surround that plays off sculptural metal-beam details near the entry. White walls bounce around the sunshine that spills in from oversize windows, skylights and sliders. “It’s definitely a chic, airy space,” she comments. “Light and sophisticated, but easy to live in.”
When the couple took ownership of the property, the designer happily stepped back in, working with them to customize the residence to their tastes and needs. Daniel and Gregg chose to add a fourth bedroom and bathroom—with Ryan providing architectural assistance to plan out the spaces—and selected an array of elevated fixtures throughout. Furnishings are modern in scope, with pieces upholstered in sumptuous textured fabrics to give the home an appealing, approachable vibe.
And then there’s the art. Daniel, an avid collector for more than 35 years, has amassed an assortment of pop and contemporary pieces that is not only already expansive, but “always growing,” he quips. He picked works from their residences in Manhattan and the Hamptons and shipped them out to Kristin. The home quickly took on a gallery-like feel as she selected focal points for each piece—one of the most fun exercises of the process, she says. “I knew their collection was going to play so well in this house,” the designer comments, “but it was a lot of pressure, because they have all of this fantastic art and they’re my friends.”
The bold collection naturally drove the rest of the decor, with the house’s subdued hues serving as a foil for a rainbow’s worth of eye-catching wall hangings and sculptures. “I kept the palette pretty simple, so that the beautiful pops of color would all come from Daniel and Gregg’s art,” Kristin explains. “We sourced furnishings that would complement these items without being too loud themselves.” To wit, plenty of cream and gray fabrics play off light oak elements.
Today, the designer delights in being able to return and spend time in this house. And her boys love to drop by and hang out too—so much so that Daniel and Gregg have dubbed their home “Hunter Lodge” after the youngest Doremus son’s first name. “I get to see how this space really lives, how it works,” Kristin enthuses. “And I get to spend time with some of our very best friends.” For their part, Daniel and Gregg still can’t quite believe their good luck. “I judge a home by how much I like to be there,” Gregg muses. “I’m in the travel business, and we’re on the go a lot ourselves. But we love to be here. We’re very content in this house.”