Anyone who has spent time looking at houses on Colorado’s Front Range is familiar with a certain design vernacular, defined by large-scale interior architecture and many layers of wood finishes. Such was the aesthetic of this Castle Pines home when Ed and Ashley Brown first purchased it. “We loved the exterior; it looked like Snow White could live there,” Ashley says. And because the residence offered the amenities they wanted—including fantastic views and a location right on the Castle Pines Golf Club, for Ed’s favorite hobby—the Browns bought it and turned it over to their design team, led by Mark Tremblay.
Tremblay had six months to transform what he calls “a typical lodge-like home” into something brighter and more contemporary. “We had to be mindful of what we should remove and what we should leave alone because it already worked,” he says. “The house was in great shape and the owners liked the layout, so we didn’t have structural changes to make, which allowed us to focus on interior scale, finishes and fixtures.”
To that end, his team—including senior project managers Melissa Adair and Rachel Ortiz, who oversaw the interior detailing—squared up a sea of dated arches that defined the interior doorways and revamped a series of stodgy fireplaces that were too large for the rooms they occupied. The designers also removed nonstructural columns in the entry and the basement that chopped up visual lines through the home. By simplifying the architecture, Tremblay’s team created a clean backdrop.
“We really had to ‘de-wood’ the place,” Tremblay says, by which he means that the team deployed multiple strategies—including staining, painting or replacing the wood. In Ashley’s office, for example, the team reworked the built-ins by removing shelves and adding a mirrored backing. Across the room, an elegant marble-and-steel fireplace surround balances the look. “Keeping original elements was important to us all,” Tremblay adds, noting that simply staining ceiling beams darker, and therefore removing yellow undertones, preserved the textural charm of such details while bringing the space up to date.
Only two spaces got a complete overhaul: the primary bathroom and the basement. A warren of small, oddly shaped spaces prior to the renovation, the primary bath was gutted and reimagined as a contemporary oasis with his-and-her bronze- framed shower enclosures and a handsome copper tub. A shimmery copper screen hangs behind the makeup vanity, making “the most beautiful place for Ashley to sit and start her day,” Adair says. The basement bar area—which, before the work started, resembled an Olive Garden restaurant— became a contemporary entertaining space after Tremblay’s team removed wood floors and cabinetry and a stone arch above the wine cellar door. In their place, handsome black cabinets and modern glass-and-metal shelving—all atop a sleek honed limestone flooring—create a gorgeous space for the Browns to entertain.
Throughout, layers of textural finishes and decor make the rooms feel both cozy and elegant. Upholstered furniture in tactile linens, velvets and leathers, in mostly muted hues with shades of blue woven smartly into the mix, make for pleasing scenes. “We pulled furniture from countless lines,” Tremblay says, “which helps make the interiors endure the test of time.” Carefully selected wall treatments, such as the metallic raffia wallpaper in the basement living area and the painted walls with gold-leaf detail in the primary bedroom, are stylistic counterpoints to the warm white walls throughout most of the home. Against these ideal backdrops hang exquisite, sculptural light fixtures. “Our philosophy on lighting is ‘the bigger, the better,’” Tremblay laughs. “We found unique pieces, and nearly every room has one that takes your breath away.” His favorite: the Skakuff fixture that extends into the entry from the second floor.
Outside, the architecture remains entirely unchanged—enhanced only by fresh paint on the stucco, a light editing of the landscaping, and a contemporary stone sculpture by the Phillips Collection. While the Browns live primarily in Florida, the Colorado summers draw them to the Centennial State, where they relish their new pad’s fresh style and the opportunity to entertain, indoors and out. “When it’s just Ed and me, the home feels livable and cozy,” Ashley says. “But when we have company, the space is magnificent for entertaining. We use—and love—every space in this house.”