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.
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.
THE MAIN LIVING AREAS
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a Chicago-based freelance journalist with an equal appreciation for natural beauty and good design.