“Monastically simple”—that’s how homeowner Rachel Moore Weller, who grew up in Colorado, described her vision for the Telluride family retreat that she tapped architect Eric Cummings to design and general contractor Paul Ricks to construct. While the interiors are much more striking than the average monasterial cell—and definitely more spacious—the surroundings are certainly praise-worthy and spiritually moving.
Tucked within Box Canyon, the house offers panoramic vistas of the area’s two beloved waterfalls, Bridal Veil Falls and Ingram Falls, and the mountains that rise steeply around them. “It’s national park-quality scenery outside,” marvels Ricks, who worked closely with project manager Mike LeBlanc.
To respond to the site, Cummings designed the house to be primarily oriented toward Bridal Veil, between mountains visible to the north, east and south. This configuration allows the central great room’s extensive wall of windows to fully capture the area’s dramatic scenery. “Everywhere you are in this space, you see that landscape and—I swear—it makes people behave better and feel happier,” Rachel says with a laugh. To keep the focus outside, the residence’s interior architecture is pared down to geometric shapes and key materials such as concrete floors, exposed steel beams and wood.
“Those sights were a wonderful challenge,” says designer Paul Sherrill of the furnishings and decor he put in place in collaboration with José Solís Betancourt. “We wanted the interiors to be strong enough to stand up to this wonderful attribute,” he notes. The pair chose rich, textural neutrals that would enhance the home’s architecture without drawing attention away from its picturesque outdoors. Blues, grays, coppers and browns—all shades drawn from the landscape—define the palette.
Because the homeowner’s brief prioritized comfort and low-maintenance materials and surfaces, the designers employed indoor-outdoor fabrics on many upholstered pieces. A Great Outdoors fabric by Holly Hunt was chosen for the Ferrell Mittman sectional, for example, and the duo utilized solution-dyed acrylics that won’t fade in the intense Colorado sun. Rachel also wanted the team to incorporate Southwestern fabrics in order to honor the area’s history and its people, the Diné Navajo. “We used many textiles as artwork,” Solís Betancourt notes. “The fine weave adds warmth to the walls in a visual way.”
Yet the interior designers didn’t shy away from bold decisions. Notable pieces include the dining area’s 1,900-pound cast-bronze table crafted by artist Stefan Bishop. “It has hand-textured surfaces and overlapping amorphous shapes,” describes Sherrill. “It’s a wonderful, horizontal sculpture,” concurs Rachel. Meanwhile, the mix of chairs surrounding it imparts a level of casualness that she also desired, all the while allowing it to welcome up to 10 guests. The designers crowned the piece with a chandelier of cascading slumped glass from Charles Burnand, giving the room a gentle glow and echoing the movement of the waterfalls outside, Solís Betancourt explains.
Whenever she desires a quieter spot, the homeowner moves to what she calls the “book nook”: a much smaller room with a wall of novels from beloved Argosy Book Store in New York. “They’re mostly 19th-century English novels,” she says, “from Jane Austen, who’s more late 18th century, through Henry James.” Here too, the designers married form and function, with an Amuneal media center holding Rachel’s personal library, a pair of comfortable club chairs and an ottoman covered in a Navajo textile. “It’s the perfect place to escape and read,” she enthuses.
There’s no doubt the house responds impeccably to its context—as Cummings intended—and imparts comfortable, low-key sophistication—as Solís Betancourt and Sherrill devised. For the owner, the real delight is in the abode’s appeal to her guests: “What was important to me was for my house to accommodate at least two families, and that even teenagers would want to be there,” Rachel shares. “It’s a home base in the mountains for the people I love, and a place that I hope will endure for a very long time.” Simple enough.