Tour A One-Of-A-Kind Colorado Home Inspired By Nordic Design


Exterior shot of the back...

Granite serves as a through line in this Woody Creek abode that honors one of its owners' Finnish roots. The rattan lounge chairs are upholstered in Ecriture in Verde by Christian Astuguevieille for Holly Hunt.

Limestone steps going down a...

Landscape designers Ryan Vugteveen and Jane Lanter in collaboration with The Landscape Workshop, Inc. created steps cut from the same San Pietro limestone as the home’s hardscaping to ease the descent through the property down to Roaring Fork River.

A took banquette built in...

A window seat in the entryway of this Woody Creek abode was crafted using wood from the original house. For an interior granite wall, architect Luis Menendez and builders Mike Simpson and Ryan McGovern intentionally left drill marks exposed to display craftsmanship from the quarrying process.

Living room with two light-blue...

In the living room, designer Nasrin Nourian Menendez refinished and upholstered a vintage Widdicomb Furniture Company sofa set with Nobilis’ Velours Calder from Kneedler Fauchère and piping from Samuel & Sons. The wool rug was sourced via Integral Thread and the pendants are Secto Design.

Room with wood-paneled walls and...

In a den adjacent to the great room, a built-in desk is joined by a crimson sound-muffling panel and a chair by Studio Van Den Akker in a Josef Frank fabric. On the floor is Gan’s Kilim Catania rug from Studio Como.

Hallway with a colorful kilim...

An Uzbek kilim rug made in Afghanistan and purchased from Integral Thread adds a pop of color to an interior hallway. Strings of glass bubbles from Iittala bounce light around the space.

Sauna with wood ceiling, water-shaped...

At the heart of this boomerang-shaped home lies a sauna. Thanks to Luis’ architectural design, the owners’ spa experience melds into the landscape. A series of wooden Dropit hooks by Normann Copenhagen were selected for their artful water-droplet shape.

Bedroom with corner made of...

Near the primary bedroom fireplace is a Swedish design classic: a Lamino high-back chair and ottoman by Yngve Ekström for Swedese. The set is upholstered in sheepskin for a warm, cozy atmosphere.

Outdoor tub with bamboo decking...

Four steps down from the home’s sauna, an outdoor spa flanked by bamboo decking and limestone flooring takes advantage of river views through a gap in the tree line. A balance of native grasses and perennials helps blend the hardscape into the surroundings.

For one retired couple, the initial allure of their new Woody Creek, Colorado, getaway overlooking the Roaring Fork River was the quality of the area’s fly fishing—excellent, by the way—rather than the property’s aged log home. It had already borne several additions throughout its life span and, after replacing the roof, the duo called in a team of pros to rethink the residence completely.

“The house had a very convoluted floor plan, and we went through a few iterations trying to make it work,” recalls architect Luis Menendez who, along with his wife and partner, interior designer Nasrin Nourian Menendez, led the revamp. Eventually, they determined that it made more sense to start from scratch.

Out came the wish list. The couple wanted a single-story abode with room to host their four adult daughters (and maybe grandchildren someday, too). But since their family is close-knit, they were happy to have some of the guest bedrooms share baths. The wife, who is Finnish, also desired a classic sauna experience incorporated into the home. And, of course, the duo wanted to take full advantage of the property’s picturesque riverside perch.

Shaped like a boomerang, Luis’ new design divides the home in two. One wing contains the main living spaces and primary suite, while the other houses bedrooms for the owners’ offspring and guests, including a bunk room with two twin-over-queen beds. The house is oriented towards the river with the bedrooms angled to capture the sunrise, and an expansive sauna sits at the intersection of the two wings.

A subtle personal touch comes via the cedar siding, which is made up of boards of four different widths—one for each of the owners’ daughters—spaced randomly to symbolize “the unpredictable nature of raising children,” the architect explains. 

Stone became a key design element due to the many large granite boulders found on-site. They were of particular interest since the wife’s family operates a granite quarry in Finland. “We wanted to use that material to connect the site to her history in an interesting way,” says Luis, who imagined an exterior clad in cedar and a jigsaw-like arrangement of giant granite slabs.

For this ambitious plan, he worked closely with project manager Martin Taffarelli and builders Mike Simpson and Ryan McGovern. “The granite veneer was a unique challenge,” notes Simpson. A monthslong search for the right stone led the team to Millennium Granite, a small quarry in Maine.

To source the massive slabs required—some of the individual pieces weighed more than 2,000 pounds—the stone was extracted in large blocks with the faces sawn off for a cleft finish. Specialists from Suarez Masonry assisted with the install and were “masterful in the details, which yielded a one-of-a-kind result,” notes Simpson.

The stone-and-wood theme continues inside, where many interior surfaces feature European white oak. Stone accents appear on the fireplace, near an entryway window seat and within the sauna. The wife’s Nordic roots also inspired choices such as the Josef Frank fabrics on throw pillows and chairs, and the birch Secto Design light fixtures. And the homeowners’ love of travel shaped the decor in the form of Moroccan rugs, Moorish tiles and art they’d collected.

Outside, the couple tapped landscape architects Ryan Vugteveen and Jane Lanter to craft their immediate surroundings. Luis had determined where decking, limestone patios, a cold-plunge pool and a spa would rest in the landscape. Vugteveen and Lanter then took his visions to the next level by determining their precise locations and how each space would interact with the surroundings. 

For the plantings, Vugteveen and Lanter looked to the wilderness and selected a palette of mostly native plants. The turf lawn’s fescue sod was selected for its low water needs and because, when left unmown, it lies in whorls that lend the impression of movement.

And around the aspen trees and shrubs that ring the house, the duo sowed seeds for local grasses. “The homeowners appreciated the intrinsic qualities of their land and did not need it to become a garden,” explains Vugteveen. “They understood the beauty of embracing a less manicured ruggedness.”

The landscape architecture team also incorporated boulders, slicing some in half to turn them into benches and placing others in aesthetically pleasing spots. Working with The Landscape Workshop, Inc., Vugteveen and Lanter designed substantial stone steps—custom-cut from the same granite as on the façade—leading down to the riverbank. Which, in essence, brought the project full circle: It’s now easier and even more compelling than ever to grab a rod and stroll down for a fly-fishing session.