When a house has expansive windows that offer panoramic views of towering mountains, blue sky and miles of trees with green and gold leaves, it needs little else to be a sanctuary. Inspired by that idea, one Aspen couple decided to reevaluate the design of their 1960s home, which had been remodeled in an Arts and Crafts style in the 1990s. The structure’s look and feel needed to be simplified, so they called on designers Barbara Glass Mullen and Richard Mullen to reimagine the furnishings and the interior architecture. “The home hadn’t been remodeled for almost 20 years,” Glass Mullen says. Adds Mullen, “The clients wanted a more modern design, so we pointed them toward working with the architectural vocabulary of the original 1960s features.”
Per their clients’ request, Glass Mullen and Mullen— who have since started separate firms, Barbara Glass and Demesne, respectively—worked together to update and brighten each part of the home. Mullen, who handled the interior architecture, began in the combined living, dining and kitchen area, where he transformed the aesthetic by recreating the original pyramid ceiling in the open-plan room. “The space had original wood beams that weren’t in good condition and had been covered with drywall,” he says. “A skylight had also been removed in a previous remodel and covered with drywall.” Mullen stripped every inch of drywall and then covered the beams and ceiling with new material. “We wrapped the ceiling as minimally as possible in new wood of the same species, which was Douglas Fir,” he says. “The idea was to feature the wood and restore the ceiling to what it was originally.”
Although transformative for the structure, the ceiling was a challenge to execute. “We spent countless hours trying to figure out how to make the beams look the way Richard envisioned them,” says builder Max Filiss, who managed construction with rm president Dean Filiss and superintendent David Ice. “It was grueling but so worth it. That ceiling turned out to be a special feature of not only the room but the whole house.” The element now feels like an umbrella of warmth and texture from the expansive wood, which Mullen countered by refinishing the living area’s fire surround with steel and plaster.
The updates continue in the kitchen, where Mullen and Glass Mullen collaborated with kitchen designer Daniel R. Ellis of Ellis Design to enlarge and reconfigure the space. “We relocated the appliances and the sink so the arrangement worked better for the homeowners’ lifestyle,” Mullen says. They then added luxurious materials—“The backsplash and the range hood are covered with Calacatta marble,” Glass Mullen says—and replaced the dated pine cabinetry with white oak finished with dark and light stains. “It’s very clean and acts as a foil to the marble, which has a lot of veining,” Mullen says. Floors throughout the house are now also a lighter white oak, as are the master bathroom’s new tub surround and the media room’s new built-in desk and cabinetry.
Glass Mullen, who oversaw the furnishings, dressed the revised interior architecture with rich layers of texture and form. In the living area, she placed a pair of barrel chairs and a sinuous wood coffee table near a modernist sofa, all beneath a circular pendant. “The ceiling light fixture is from Ralph Pucci International and, like the coffee table, it has curves,” she says. “It balances the sharp geometry of the room. I like a softer approach to modern; it adds character and is more comfortable.” The designer covered the barrel chairs and sofa with different fabric blends, including cotton and linen, and customized a wool-and-silk rug for the space. “Using layers of different fibers creates dimension and richness,” she says. “You sit on these fabrics, so they should feel amazing.”
When it came to selecting a color palette, Glass Mullen took a “wintry approach,” she explains about the mostly blue, gray and white hues used throughout. “The owners had a lot of existing art, and I didn’t want the furnishings to compete with that,” she says. A sculpture of golden butterflies by Paul Villinski, for instance, hangs above the living area fireplace and plays off the calming tones of the surrounding textiles. In the adjacent dining area, the designer countered the hefty silhouette of a white-oak-and-stainless-steel table with traditional-style chairs wearing a silvery linen-and-viscose blend. Continuing the subtle palette in the master bedroom, she covered one wall with a muted but textural grass cloth as an anchor for a custom bed upholstered with another linen blend.
Though the exterior of the residence received a minor update with fresh paint, the interior displays a completely new experience. The clean lines, rich materials and sophisticated palette create the perfect backdrop for honoring the structure’s sweeping views. “Our clients asked for something much cleaner and lighter,” Mullen says. “We paid homage to the home’s modernist roots but also brought it into the 21st century.”