The peaks of Mount Daly and its surrounding ridgelines dramatically announce themselves through the windows of this slope-side Colorado home in Snowmass Village–but it wasn’t always so. Before a recent renovation that amplified the views, heavy embellishments and dated features muted the scenery. “The way the house is sited, the layout and the window locations are really great,” designer Anne Grice says of the home, which was built in the early 1990s. “The big question was whether it could be made up-to-date and contemporary.”
It was a question that Grice’s clients wrestled with from the moment they purchased the home. From the beginning, the husband loved the structure’s stone walls, ceiling beams and extensive wood paneling, but his wife wanted something more streamlined. “She was worried about how the contemporary style she hoped for would integrate with the existing architectural features,” Grice says. In the eyes of the designer, transforming the residence was a matter of stripping away excessive details for the wife while retaining the craftsman-style elements the husband most admired.
Grice started with the faÃ§ade. The original exterior had hunter-green shingles with blond-wood columns, doors and trim. The wife asked the designer to darken the outside to a hue matching the very dark brown tobacco barns and horse fencing that are commonplace around the couple’s primary home in Franklin, Tennessee.
“At first, nobody knew what we were talking about,” the wife says of the nearly black shade, “But we wanted this color because it’s aesthetically pleasing with the green mountain slopes.” Architect Bill Pollock then specified a new standing-seam metal roof in the same hue. For Pollock, the project represented a full circle: He had worked with architect Tim Hagman on the original house. “The design and the layout really work, which is a testament to Hagman’s design,” Pollock notes, adding that the recent remodel provided opportunities to update finishes and fixtures.
To provide continuity, Grice brought the tobacco-hued shade inside incorporating it on the large ceiling beams. While those beefy beams remained, much of the existing rustic wood did not. The knotty-pine flooring, wainscoting, built-ins and cabinetry, for instance, had developed an orange hue over time, so Grice had the elements removed. A new white-oak floor was installed, and the wood ceilings were sandblasted to remove the orange cast and create a pleasing contrast with the now darkened beams. “All of this was a game changer because it really allowed us to clean everything up,” Grice says.
Next on the list was a revamp of the windows and exterior doors. Although their locations were perfect, their mullions and heavy trim fractured and detracted from the landscape. “We restructured the headers for larger doors and windows to better capture some of the views of Mount Daly,” says builder Greg Woods, adding that the new glass is double paned and thus better insulated. “The energy efficiency makes a night-and-day difference,” he says, noting that his team also replaced the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
As she mapped the interiors, Grice was careful to emphasize the views without creating distractions. Colors, for example, are in the wife’s favorite shades of soft gray and sedate blue. Another client request was for comfort and durability, so all the new pieces had to stand up to their active dogs and young grandchildren. Practically, that translates into plush seating and resilient fabric throughout the home. “All of these little things add up, so the house feels elegant, comfortable and like it all flows together,” she says.
Whenever possible, Grice commissioned artists to create custom works, including many furnishings and light fixtures of her own design. One of the most personal is a series of three encaustic paintings by Theresa Stirling in the living room that depict the clients’ horses back in Tennessee. Grice herself designed airy, sculptural pieces to balance out the weighty architecture, such as walnut-and-steel consoles set against the stone walls in the home’s entry and its long hallway, and the delicate blown-glass pendant lights in the beamed foyer and study.
In the end, Grice achieved the mountain contemporary look the wife was after while giving new life to the husband’s favored wood and stone elements, a fact they witnessed during a spectacular home reveal staged by the designer. The wife describes the first sight of the new home as putting to rest the initial concerns they had, saying: “When we saw everything–the house fully furnished and art hanging on the walls–it just floored both of us.”