A Modern Farmhouse in the Colorado Mountains Teems With Art
The owners of V-Plan Residence are avid readers, writers, world travelers, and art collectors whose influences have been infused into one very well-designed corner in Aspen, Colorado.
But a new home wasn’t the initial intent. It all began while mowing the lawn, when a passerby made an offer on the owners’ former home. It wasn’t for sale, but the couple embraced the opportunity, sold the home, and embarked on a new journey to build anew with Studio B Architecture + Interiors.
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To understand the couple’s needs, and more importantly, how they live, Studio B explored the program via 13 pages of homework. What side of the bed do they sleep on? How do they want the rooms linked? Do they prefer a dark bedroom or one flooded with light? The results of these answers plus a design charrette led to four radically different designs.
"They were extremely open to exploring design concepts," says Scott Lindenau, FAIA, principal at Studio B Architects. "They were highly engaged clients."
Ultimately, they opted for the V-Plan, a modern take on a farmhouse, with views for days and understated materials and finishes.
"The house is about two volumes with a dialogue between them, mediated through this family room, which you see between both," says Lindenau. Deliberate consideration was given to the siting to provide both privacy from the adjacent neighbors, yet generous views of the courtyard and gardens. "The view right through the pubic space through the golf course was important to them."
Given that the volumes are tall and few windows flank the length of the home, Studio B kept the ends open with large spans of glass to maximize views and natural light. "Inside offers a bright and airy, light feeling," says Lindenau. "They wanted an interior that was warm."
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To achieve that effect, finishes were kept to a minimum. The same wood is used throughout the entire home, as is a level-five plaster. Built-in reading nooks hug the perimeter, adding to the warmth and lifestyle of the owners, who are involved with Aspen Words, the local literary foundation. "They like to read, and the window seats allow them perch into the gardens," says Lindenau. Additional built-ins around the fireplace enhance reading storage, and they each have offices filled with books, some even authored by the owner.
The design falls to the background of the rich, cultured life they lead. Warm and minimalist interiors allow artifacts from family travels to Africa and Indonesia to take center stage, an important aspect Lindenau was able to appreciate. Both the designer and owners take big trips every year, and those experiences were something Lindenau thoughtfully incorporated into the design. In the living room, inherited 8-foot wooden sculptures play a dominant role in the space, along with a significant collection of basketry from around the world and Native American art, including pieces by R.C. Gorman.
The warm interior complements the collection with an abundance of natural light. The wire-brushed, white oak floor, millwork, and cabinetry are quite the contrast to the sleek, solid black façade. "We pursued kind of a cloak effect," says Lindenau. The roof is made of non-reflective metal, and the siding is cedar treated with a patina stain that raises the grain. "It’s beautiful in certain light; you see the wood texture coming through," says Lindenau, who is always seeking out innovative building materials.
While the project was to be completed in two years, the homeowners made decisions quickly—so much so that Lindenau and his team completed it in less than one. "They cultivated wonderful relationship with everyone, and the project shows that," says Lindenau.
Ultimately, they brought the outside in—an extension of their natural surroundings but also reflective of their world travels. "We explored a lot of design, and we educated them along the way on options and ideas," says Lindenau. And on this particular adventure, he says, "They were excited to take the journey with us."
General Contractor: GF Woods Construction, Greg Woods
Structural Engineer: Evolve Structural Design
Civil Engineer: Woody Creek Engineering
Landscape Design: Mt Daly Enterprise, LLC