This Modern Aspen Home Is a Masterful Blend of Concrete, Steel and Glass

After spending countless holidays on the Aspen slopes, an out-of-state couple purchased a pair of adjacent, 3-level, duplex condos not far from the village’s charming downtown. They commissioned the Los Angeles-based firm KAA Design and Pauline Moghavem Interiors to stitch them into a single seamless dwelling with a decidedly more modern design. 

“We stripped it down to its purest essence, which was two gable forms, and completely changed the material palette,” explains KAA Design founding partner Grant Kirkpatrick.

aspen exterior
Formerly two duplex condos, the house’s spacious great room opens to a large deck that overlooks the mountains. All photos by Manolo Langis.

Previously covered in a nondescript plaster, the reimagined abode is now clad with exposed concrete, which is accented with vertical cedar siding, steel-encased bays and standing-seam metal roofing. In place of standard-sized, plainly framed windows, large, metal-framed walls of glass flood the interior with natural light.   

aspen exterior
Linear steel-clad window bays, a standing seam metal roof and metal windows balance the wood and concrete elements.


aspen kitchen and dining area
Echoing the snow-covered landscape, the interior sports a neutral palette that includes warm woods, light upholstery, stone and metal.

The effect is especially pronounced in the expansive main living area, where the living room, dining room and kitchen all flow together.   

We went through a series of engineering gymnastics to take out the wall that separated the two units,” says KAA Design partner Duan Tran, noting they respected the existing roof form, which mimics the silhouette of the mountain peaks beyond. “We treated the ceiling almost like a white cloud hovering over the rest of the materials.”  

aspen stairway
Texture-rich, board-formed concrete was a key material in the design. 

Indeed, an illuminated ceiling reveal over the kitchen and fireplace elevations makes it feel as if the origami-like ceiling is floating. The warm light highlights the texture of the vertical tongue-in-groove cedar wall paneling and the board-formed concrete that houses the appliances.   

It’s a beautiful way to light the surfaces without being overly dependent on the downlights,” Tran says.  

aspen living and dining area
Laid in a herringbone pattern, the reclaimed oak flooring mimics the origami-like planes in the angular ceiling.

Reclaimed oak flooring laid in a herringbone pattern likewise defines the living area, where tailored sofas and a minimalist rocking chair surround a low-slung, horizontal firebox. The firebox is encased in an organic, floor-to-ceiling black Travertine surround that was selected by the interior designer, Pauline Moghavem.   

aspen rocking chair
Dressed in fur, a rocker walks the line between mountain and modern.

“Pauline introduced a level of sophistication with beautiful marbles and stones and other organic materials that really balanced out the overall look and feel,” Tran says.  

In between the living area and the kitchen, a multi-pendant glass chandelier reminiscent of icicles cascades down from the ceiling, softly lighting a marble table surrounded by leather chairs.   

aspen living room
Accented by cedar wall paneling and reclaimed oak flooring, the floor-to-ceiling black Travertine fireplace surround adds richness and depth to the open living room.

Steps away, a sofa nestled into a wood-clad niche creates a spot to sit and watch the action in the open kitchen, which is outfitted with streamlined, flat-front cabinetry and a monolithic stone island.   

aspen kitchen
An illuminated reveal highlights the cedar-clad wall in the contemporary kitchen, which is outfitted with sleek perimeter cabinetry and a massive stone island. At night, “there’s a beautiful warm glow,” says architect Duan Tran.


aspen elevator
A glass-framed elevator “adds drama,” says architect Grant Kirkpatrick. Beside it is a bent steel stairway with floating treads.

A sculptural steel stairway with floating treads connects the penthouse-level living areas with the bedrooms on the lower levels. Coupled with a glass elevator, these elements “add a bit of drama,” Kirkpatrick says.   


aspen bunk rooms
Illuminated wall niches elevate the simple wooden bunks in one of two kids’ rooms.

A serpentine exterior staircase leads from the main terrace to the patio off one of the 4 bedrooms, which include 2 primary suites. In addition, there are 2 kids’ suites, equipped with bunk beds, on the lower level. It’s plenty of space to accommodate the family’s children as well as their friends; the rooms sleep a dozen.  

aspen bathroom
A bathrooms in one of the two primary suites.

Modern and light-filled, the reimagined home earned high marks from the owners, who have already engaged KAA Design for another project elsewhere.   

“This house is quiet and graceful, with great light and mountain views,” Kirkpatrick says. “It fulfilled their vision of a forward-thinking family home.”

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Tate Gunnerson

Tate Gunnerson is a Chicago-based freelance journalist with an equal appreciation for natural beauty and good design.