For a couple from the Buckeye State, the siren song of Colorado had been playing on repeat ever since their purchase of a Vail-area vacation retreat over a decade ago. Fast forward to today, and Vail Valley plays host to their permanent mountain home, a newly built custom abode with expansive views and ample space to house their art collection. The duo approached the project with a clear vision: Nothing typically traditional, no pastiche, no “mountain modern.” They yearned for a concept that mixed contemporary and midcentury modern elements. And with that directive in mind, architect Kyle H. Webb delivered a fittingly artful abode.
It took some doing, though, and a lot of thought. “They wanted something that was different but still belonged,” recalls Webb, who responded to their wishes with a design of board-formed concrete. “This house was sculpted on site, which is not usual here, but it’s an approach we often take.” The wife, a curator and art advisor, explains: “The light, the landscape and our art collection all impacted the way we configured both the interior and exterior of the house. We wanted something truly representative of our aesthetic, nestled within the landscape and giving equal mindfulness to the natural elements of the area and the art installed inside.” Working with project architect Stacey Goehring and builder Derek Halter, Webb devised a three-story home with sight lines out to nearby New York Mountain and Gold Dust Peak (the house is “aimed” at the latter, he notes). With the primary suite holding court on the top level, Webb devoted the main floor to public rooms and a secondary bedroom suite; the ground floor is dedicated to guest quarters, a media room and direct access to the pool terrace. And while there were a few challenges—the driveway’s steep incline required the specialist skill of civil engineer Luiza Petrovska, for instance—the house gently rests on its site, “with all the bells and whistles for monitoring energy consumption,” adds Webb of the largely sustainably built structure.
For the interiors, the homeowners collaborated closely with architect Greg Epstein, who had previously updated key design elements of their New York City pied-à-terre. “This is meant to be a multigenerational home,” Epstein explains. “They have college-age kids and wanted a residence where they could invite friends and maybe grandchildren down the road.” Furniture plans for each space in the home accounted for and highlighted the couple’s extensive art collection. “We didn’t necessarily acquire works for specific locations in the house, some just found their place and either created a dialogue with the view or activated the room,” says the wife. They did, however, commission a tapestry from Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser that disguises the living room’s television when not in use.
As the interior scheme came together, Epstein focused on finding elevated, quality pieces, many of which nod to a midcentury modern aesthetic, like the dining room’s Eero Saarinen chairs. “The clients wanted tactile works celebrating craftsmanship,” he explains, pointing to the Azadeh Shladovsky metal-wrapped oak side table in the living room. As the homeowners love to cook and their kitchen is visible from the dining-living room, Epstein dressed it up with walnut cabinetry and barstools designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. And near the bedroom suite, Webb and Epstein created a gallery for more delicate works on paper. “Each space has its own atmosphere, but they are united by the richness of the materials, the art and the furniture,” says Epstein.
The couple’s art collection, a nearly 30-year-long passion project that “represents our past and present lives,” the wife reflects, continues outside with a volcanic-stone sculpture by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes. “We wanted to experience the artwork from inside the home at a distance, as well as up close when relaxing by the pool,” she adds. To blend the house and terrace into their surroundings, landscape architect Dennis Anderson worked with Rocky Mountain Custom Landscapes to bring in juniper trees, serviceberries, sagebrush, rabbitbrush and yarrow. At the front door, metal planters with ornamental grasses and a specimen dwarf conifer add contrast. “The goal was to keep things native and make the land feel undisturbed,” Anderson explains.
“We enjoy all the seasons here,” shares the wife, noting that she has found the art-filled home as conducive to getting work done as it is to entertaining. “Art fosters conversation.” And so does the carousel of outdoor views that includes elk, foxes and even the occasional bear. “This house is extraordinary in how it embraces its surroundings,” says Webb. The wife concurs, stating simply, “It’s spectacular.”