You could say Ron and Kathy Iverson know houses. In addition to having 30 years of experience in the Vail real estate business, the couple have built or remodeled nine homes for themselves. So when they were ready for their 10th go-around, this time in Edwards, not surprisingly they came to the table with a clear vision of what they did and did not like. “We didn’t want the traditional mountain palette of dark wood colors,” Ron says. “We wanted a see-through house with lots of light and glass that took advantage of the long valley views.”
In the right hands, the ski-in, ski-out site they purchased was poised to deliver on all counts. To start things off, the Iversons turned to their daughter, designer Katy Allen, and Rick Hermes, a real estate developer with a degree in environmental design. Hermes began by producing a hand-drawn sketch of a concept featuring an open floor plan and lots of windows. “Ron and Kathy desired elements like a large hearth room open to the kitchen to accommodate entertaining and visits from their children and grandchildren,” he says. “They wanted a fresh take on mountain style, and their vision allowed us to rethink conventional design and consider new ideas.” Some of those ideas came from Hermes’ longtime collaborator, South Carolina-based architect Tom Markalunas, who lived in Edwards for several years. Markalunas worked on the design with Hermes and then established the exterior massing, window layout and detailing along with the roof design. “Good fenestration, expansive glass and transparent elements were key,” he says.
Accordingly, a custom steel-and-glass window-and-door system within a stone barrel vault makes a commanding opening statement. As builder Greg Sands recalls, installing the overscale arched entry was not without its challenges. “The window and door package arrived out of sequence, which forced my team to erect the stone arch first,” he says. “They had to build the stonework precisely, so when the windows finally arrived they would fit perfectly—which they did.” To further enhance the entrance, the husband-and-wife landscape team of Jeff and Tomina Townsend crafted a bridge using Colorado buff flagstone. “The bridge crosses a dry stream bed and serves as an organizing element for the entry landscape,” Jeff Townsend says. “We also planted aspen and evergreen trees and shrubs to look as though they grew from the edges of the stream bed.”
Ever mindful of eschewing a heavy and dark aesthetic, Allen and Hermes incorporated materials that honored the keep-it-light theme. They chose a gray-green Colorado moss rock—dry stacked inside and out—to complement French white-oak floors Allen selected and had waxed for an old-world look. As a contemporary counterpoint, large expanses of windows with wood frames stained black match the iron on the doors to the entry and the wine cellar.
Against that sophisticated backdrop, Allen, the firm’s owner and the lead designer, coordinated with senior designer—and sister-in-law—Lindsey Iverson on selecting furnishings and accessories in a natural motif that reference the site’s aspens and evergreens. Rugs defined by hushed tones of cream, sage and taupe in the living room, kitchen and hearth room help get the job done. Also in the living room, a combination of leather wingbacks, upholstered chairs and a sofa in shades of cream and taupe with gray undertones continues the color scheme. In response to the area’s soaring 21-foot-tall ceiling, the designers selected seating in varying heights. “In such a voluminous room, getting the scale of the furnishings right is the number one priority,” Allen says. “Then you add in layers, like lamps and artwork, to keep the eye moving throughout the space.” As such, she suspended an iron chandelier from the ceiling’s antique beams for added intimacy.
To play off the home’s more contemporary moments—and in keeping with Kathy’s affinity for cottage-style elements—Allen and Iverson introduced unique objets trouvé. “I grew up on a lake in Michigan, so having a sense of coziness and charm was very important,” Kathy explains. The master suite, for example, opens with a sitting area that features a table with an industrial top and a carved wood base. Upholstered wingback chairs complete the welcoming nook. “My mother-in-law loves vignettes where we combined found items with cleaner pieces,” Iverson says. The unexpected pairings continue in the suite’s sleeping quarters, where a metal-frame bed is juxtaposed with a carved wood bench and found objects-turned-table lamps. “There are a lot of masculine elements in the room, like the bed and metal nightstands, but the florals carved into the bench and the vertical softness of the window treatments keep things warm,” Allen says.
The balance of design styles throughout the house, combined with materials thoughtfully selected to maintain a light and bright look, contributes to the overall success of the project. “It took a village to build this place,” Ron says, “but thanks to a great design team, we managed to get all the elements we really like into one house.”