Design Elevation in Aspen


Design Elevation

Set in an aspen grove, a Beaver Creek ski chalet is updated for modern-day living without losing any of its European-inspired charm.

New England Exterior in Colorado

The rustic exterior features hand-hewn Douglas fir siding and Douglas fir beams. Landscape designer David Probst planted the window boxes with red and yellow Supertunia.

A Wooded Entryway

Interior designer John Cialone and architect Douglas M. DeChant updated a Beaver Creek residence for their clients, for whom DeChant originally designed the structure for in 1998. Select wood panels on the entry doors were replaced with glass to introduce more natural light into the interior space.

Colorado Hearth Room

In the hearth room, just off the kitchen, a custom skirted sectional by Tom Stringer Design Partners is upholstered with a Carleton V Ltd. teal linen-and- wool fabric. The custom swivel chair is covered with a Cowtan & Tout floral, and the rug is an antique.

French Doors in Foyer

On the lower level, French doors lead into an entry space just off the ski room. The walls display plasterwork by Kern Plastering, and an indoor-outdoor rug is positioned on the floor made of Colorado buff sandstone.

A Refreshed Terra-Cotta Living Room with Painting

Cialone freshened the living room by reconfiguring the owners’ existing furnishings and adding new accessories; he kept the room’s floor-length draperies made with a bright terra-cotta check by Colefax and Fowler. A painting by Kim Douglas Wiggins hangs on the commanding fireplace, and the rug is an antique.

Redesigned Kitchen with Subtle Bronze Accents

The redesigned kitchen now opens to a new L-shaped, enclosed porch. Aren Design crafted the cabinetry as well as the mahogany countertop on the center island. Lake Placid quartzite from Stone Source in Chicago crowns the perimeter cabinetry. The custom stools are upholstered with a blue Edelman leather and accented with bronze nailheads.

German Inspiration with Bold Yellow Dining Room

The dining room displays furnishings from the clients’ existing collection, including a striking Baker cupboard painted with German-American inspired motifs. The flooring was refinished by Arrigoni Woods to flow with other areas, which were replaced during the remodel.

Ski Room with Colorful Fabrics

The lower level of the home includes a ski room with built-in shelving for storing equipment. The Colorado buff sandstone flooring was installed by Colorado Mountain Masonry. Colorful fabrics, including a red linen blend and geometric cut velvet, mark pieces from the owners’ collection.

Enclosed Porch with Fireplace

A custom Kachelöfen, built by Jessica Steinhäuser of Stonehouse Pottery in Ontario, Canada, is the centerpiece of the new porch. A light wood used in this space—constructed by Bryan Brubaker, the builder for the remodel—plays off the darker woods elsewhere. The custom bench was made by Aren Design.

Cohesive Patio Feel Surrounded by Trees

The same Colorado buff sandstone that was used as flooring in the new porch addition was carried outside to pave a new patio for a cohesive feel. The alfresco space, appointed with existing furnishings, is encircled with towering aspens.

Converted Bedroom with Converted Accessories

A small bedroom and study were converted into a larger guest bedroom suite, where Cialone hung a reverse-painted- glass-and-wood mirror above a Baker chest. An antique bronze statue was converted into a lamp.

Guest Bedroom with Asian Influences

For the guest bedroom suite, Cialone worked with Aren Design to refinish the deep green lacquer on an existing bed to a soft sage with gold accents. A Japanese silkscreen hangs above.

It’s as if the house belonged to a New England ship captain who sailed the world and picked up treasures along the way,” says Chicago-based interior designer John Cialone when describing the collected and worldly aesthetic of a vacation retreat he designed for longtime friends and clients in Beaver Creek. “It’s a ski chalet with global influences,” he adds. “You could pick it up and put it in the Swiss Alps and it would feel right at home.” And although the couple wanted to update the home they had been using for years, they didn’t want to lose its traditional European flavor and casual feel. “The goal was to keep the original aesthetic,” says Cialone, “but have it function better for family gatherings.” 

With that in mind, the design team took great pains in reimagining the spaces in ways that would feel original to the house. In addition to Cialone, that top-notch team included architect Douglas M. DeChant, who originally designed the house for the owners in 1998, along with builder Bryan Brubaker. The latter two worked together on a previous remodel of the home for the clients. “We were on the same page from the beginning, which made the process much smoother,” says Brubaker. This remodel turned out to be extensive, and almost every room in the house was updated and modified. New lighting and furnishings were also added throughout. Per the clients’ charge, the changes, while substantial, are almost imperceptible. “They wanted their family and guests to sense that something was different,” says DeChant, “but not be able to put their finger on exactly what it was.” 

That concept is exemplified in the kitchen, which the homeowners were crazy about but found too small for their frequent entertaining. The wife hoped for greater functionality and “to bring the outside light and aspen grove into the space,” she says, “but still have it look and feel like Grammy’s house.” DeChant, along with colleague Ryan Wolffe and Cialone, physically and visually enlarged the space by pushing it back and adding an L-shaped porch behind it. The enclosed addition, which can be accessed from both sides of the kitchen, leads directly to a new covered exterior living space and the outdoors, increasing the gathering areas and drenching the adjoining spaces in natural light. “It’s like a traditional European sun porch with exterior stone paving on the floor and lots of windows to emphasize an indoor-outdoor experience,” says DeChant. Outside, landscape designer David Probst worked with the owners to add new plant beds and native grasses. “We created a more elegant and simple feel without making it seem overworked,” says Probst. 

Inside, Cialone elevated the kitchen’s aesthetic by infusing it with multiple colors, textures and finishes. Warm walnut cabinetry is paired with an aqua-and-celadon-painted island and quartzite countertops, which were flamed softly rather than honed for a less-precious appearance. The range hood is plastered over to match the wall finishes so that it disappears and allows a backsplash of red, green and Crema Marfil marble inlaid tiles to become the focal point. The original cabinet hardware was saved and reused to echo the previous iteration of the space. 

In that main level and throughout, woods and architectural details such as hefty moldings, soffits and exposed ceiling beams, were retained and help to temper the large scale of the house and maintain its cozy quality. “The interior was influenced by enduring, sophisticated European styling,” says the architect, who laid out the house with an open- plan main level containing the public areas, the master suite above, and a family room and guest suites below. 

In furnishing those volumes, Cialone was mindful about maintaining his clients’ preference for a collected and comfortable appearance. As such, there are no sets of furniture, and the designer worked with a skillful combination of the couple’s existing pieces, custom designs, antiques and unique reproduction items. “All of the new furniture was bought around the same time,” he says, “but the goal was to make them feel like they had been found and collected over time.” Fabrics, such as linens and nubby chenilles, were chosen for their depth and texture, woods were hand-scraped or planed to expose their grain, and existing furnishings were updated with a patinated finish for a timeworn appeal. The architecture influenced Cialone’s choices, as well. “Our team researched Gustavian and Scandinavian design as well as publications on European mountain living,” says the designer. “We were conscious that while the period details from Europe were important, they needed to fit into a house built for current living.” 

Cialone also subtly weaved brighter hues into the color palette of khaki, red and hunter green found in the clients’ existing furnishings. He introduced aqua to lighten the greens and corals to soften the reds. Large furniture pieces were upholstered in soft, textured fabrics so that the fresh new colors, the homeowners’ art and the alpine views could share center stage. “Everything seems warmer and brighter,” says the wife. “It’s such a happy place.” Cialone kept the red checked draperies in the living room and had a paprika-colored bar cabinet made to complement a cupboard painted with German-American motifs positioned in the dining room. In the hearth room, a sectional was custom-designed and paired with an upholstered armchair custom-made to match an existing chair for the space. “The new pieces are beautiful and subtle and complement the clients’ lifelong collections,” says Cialone. “The concept in mixing the new furnishings in with the existing ones was to not be able to tell what had been added.” 

The same could be said about the whole remodel. “The house is an improved version of itself,” says Cialone, who is quick to note the successful collaboration among the entire team that made that possible. “I’m always amazed at the variety of architectural styles and interiors that fit the mountain aesthetic. This ski house is unique, as it combines the best of European sensibilities with the comfortable feel one expects from a mountain home.” 

Terri Sapienza