Step inside this Beaver Creek residence’s unassuming entry door and the drama is quick to unfold: A bright space highlighted by a sculptural chandelier suspended within an open, visually inviting steel-and-oak staircase offers a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come. This come-hither effect is very much by design, and the “reveal” becomes even more impressive as you ascend the stairs, notes interior designer Yvonne Jacobs. Upstairs in the main living space, a patinated metal fireplace surround soars to the 23-foot-tall ceiling. The color palette is muted yet the space is alive with texture. Everything on the interior is pristine while, outside, the views span out to the ski way and waves of trees backed by the Rockies.
The homeowners—avid hikers, skiers and snowshoers—were drawn to the home’s walking proximity to Beaver Creek village and easy connection to the area’s trails. But it took some imagination to believe that the abode, which was once decked in heavy drapery, elk chandeliers and a slew of rooster motifs, could ever be the sleek, minimalist retreat it is today. “It was immaculately done, but in a very dated ‘mountain’ style while our taste is more contemporary,” recalls the wife.
The couple called upon Jacobs because they loved her restrained take on mountain modern aesthetics. And while they anticipated a renovation, her team’s assessment of their space (which included replacing the closed-off spiral staircase with airy, industrial-style steps) opened their eyes to more extensive possibilities that would better suit their lifestyle and taste. Jacobs also suggested opening the kitchen to the main living space, which required significant engineering. “We were willing to take this home down to the studs, which is pretty much what we did,” says the wife. But the stacked, four-story design presented significant architectural limitations. Plus, the local homeowners’ association prohibited the designer from enlarging the footprint and limited her in altering the size and location of any windows. As a result, the transformation needed to come entirely from within.
Jacobs brought in architect Stephanie Lord-Johnson and general contractor Steve Boderck, both of whom she had collaborated with on prior projects. In addition to their plan to revamp the staircase, Lord-Johnson devised several tweaks to improve the flow, such as removing a superfluous hallway, eliminating a beam in the main living space and simplifying the lines of the ceiling. The architect also helped strategize an exterior change the homeowners successfully petitioned their HOA for: updating the windowed wall in the living area with fewer panes of glass and more functional doors opening onto the patio.
For the interiors, Jacobs’ main directive was to create a clean, clutter-free environment imbued with warm touches. To achieve the right balance, she paired a cool gray palette with a mix of oak and sunburnt barnwood that would read as an authentic alpine residence. “The owners are very design-savvy and love a modern look, yet wanted this to feel like a mountain home,” says Jacobs, “They asked for elements that only a Colorado home would have.”
Because the direction was more minimalist, the designer opted for materials and structural choices that were statements in themselves. For example, the new fireplace surround—a collaborative effort between Jacobs, Lord-Johnson, Gregg Mackell of 186 Lighting Design Group, and metal fabricator Raw Urth Designs—is crafted from a patchwork of metal panels interwoven with lighting elements. Situated atop a floating stone hearth, it reads as a large-scale sculpture and serves as the living area’s focal point.
The largest and most demanding task for Boderck involved connecting the kitchen to the main room, since Lord-Johnson and the team had designed a giant steel beam that would span the full length of the new opening. “Adjusting a space while maintaining an existing structure is always a challenge,” notes Boderck. But while this installation was a bit of a nail-biter, it enabled a “total transformation,” Lord-Johnson says. “We could have put it in a column,” she explains, “but that steel beam changed everything. It’s such a great connection.” As for Boderck, he is pleased that this structural element took center stage and that they chose to expose rather than hide the engineering. Now, the whole home enjoys a fresh perspective: The reconfigured layout makes it feel bigger and natural light pours into every corner. “Turns out we didn’t need any extra square footage,” Lord-Johnson concludes. “We just needed to amplify what already existed.”