New Frontier in Colorado


Modern Ski Home in Vail Valley

Two side-by-side Vail Village condos are transformed into one striking modern residence.

The designers at Worth Interiors—the Vail Valley design firm with a satellite furnishings shop, Worth Home—are reimagining the venerable mountain aesthetic one room at a time. And the design that Eddy Doumas and Vicki Glotzer recently devised for homeowner David Brantley at The Lodge at Vail in Vail Village is a magnificent encapsulation of that progressive vision—modernist style infused with organic elements that pay tribute to the area’s rich history and landscape. “Design in Vail has moved away from a traditional Western sensibility to something more contemporary,” says Doumas, the firm’s owner and principal designer. “Natural materials installed in a clean way create a new mountain look that’s very sophisticated.”

David, who works in finance and lives full-time in Austin, purchased not one, but two units at The Lodge when he found himself regularly visiting Vail. “I’m an avid skier and lived there briefly after college,” he says. “I love the mountains.” He was drawn to The Lodge for its ample amenities and proximity to the slopes, but the architectural style of the building—which strikes a fanciful note in the vein of a European chalet—didn’t resonate with David. “I wanted something modern,” he says. “But when side-by- side condos became available, I had to grab them. I knew I could knock down the wall that separated the units, strip them to the studs and start over.” And David called on architect Michael Suman to do just that.

After gutting the two condos, Suman transformed the space into a single four-bedroom residence with a den and a combined open kitchen, dining and living area. “The Lodge at Vail is an icon,” the architect says. “The exterior has remained largely untouched over the years. Because I started with a clean slate inside, there was a real opportunity to create something that flowed and captured the views.” Builders Steve Elicker and Sarah Wyscarver managed construction and helped to unify the space by removing existing columns in the public areas. “We replaced the posts with a 34-foot steel support beam,” Wyscarver says. The builders “had to crane it up on the roof,” adds Elicker, “and it took about 16 people to bring it in through a skylight and position it in place along the ceiling.”

Suman did leave one room divide in place, however. He swapped the original units’ side-by-side fireplaces for a sculptural four-sided one—clad with gray basalt and blackened steel—that partially separates the living and dining areas. “I wanted it to be new and fresh yet appropriate for The Lodge and all of its charm,” he explains. “I did plate steel because it is modern in style but speaks to the mountain aesthetic. Basalt is a natural stone that’s textured and gives a regional as well as elegant feel, and it’s laid in rectangular slabs that climb the height of the fireplace’s simple form.” Natural light pours into the dining and living areas through new expansive windows, which frame an epic vista of the mountains, sky and village.

Complementing the interior architecture, Glotzer, who led the project, mixed artful and contemporary furnishings with pieces evoking an updated mountain vibe. “David likes industrial accents, but he also wanted it to be comfortable,” the designer says. “So, I juxtaposed the modern, architectural elements with organic pieces.” Leather-upholstered armchairs, a live-edge walnut coffee table and a long-wool shearling rug soften the steel of the fire surround in the living area. “The linen on the sofa is another natural material,” Glotzer adds. “Layers of different textures create visual and tactile interest.” In the dining area, a black anodized-aluminum pendant counters a wood-and-resin table and walnut chairs with wool-covered seat cushions. Across from the fireplace, Glotzer brought more tactile layers to a bar area, where David can entertain his friends. “Sheet metal cut and pieced together in an ashlar pattern clads the front of the bar,” she says. “And the backsplash is covered with a Phillip Jeffries wallcovering that looks like liquid metal.”

The textured layers come together within a neutral palette. “Grays, taupe, black and white create a clean, sophisticated backdrop,” Glotzer says. “And they allow you to add pops of color with the art and accessories.” The designer tied the kitchen to the living and dining areas by collaborating with Suman and Nicole Bradford of Elegant Cabinetry and Design to create gray-toned laminate cabinetry that references the gray basalt of the fireplace. “The kitchen was a really strong piece of the puzzle because it’s open to the whole unit,” she says. Walnut pendants and stools with caramel-colored leather cushions balance the coolness of the gray. For two of the guest rooms, Glotzer designed silvery-taupe velvet-upholstered beds, which she dressed with gray washed-silk bedding.

Altogether, the new interior reclaims the enchantment of Vail’s rich past with new materials that make a current design statement and still relate to the powerful surroundings. “I love Vicki’s use of steel panels on the bar and the fact that Michael chose sheet metal for the fireplace,” Doumas says. “The industrial feel of the steel combined with the live-edge details on some of the furniture and the distressed-leather-upholstered elements is so wonderful and interesting. This is new modern-mountain design.”