Stripped to the Bones and TBD (To Be Designed)

My husband and I just bought a house in Carbondale, near Aspen, Colorado. Although the photos posted on the MLS didn’t look all that great, I could see that the place has wonderful possibilities.I’m eager to start a design makeover on my Rock Court house, and I will be sharing my progress here in this blog.

Right after the previous owners moved out, I walked around the naked house and took lots of photos. The house has lots of potential, and it was easier to see it with the house stripped of its furnishings.

Talavera tile with cobalt blue insets - one of the handsome features of this house

It has good bones.

I have been looking for clues that would tell me what the house wanted to be.  As I walked through it, multiple details have caught my eye. It is as if the house has been whispering, “I feel a bit Latin.”

It wasn’t about to break into a Tango, but the clues were there: a handsome Talavera tile floor. A round arch in the entryway. Rooms clustered around a central social space.

It’s not built around a courtyard, as would be traditional in a Spanish house. (Those courtyards serve a cooling function in warm, Mediterranean climates. Here, we’re in ski country.) But all of the rooms do radiate off of a central, open-plan living room which serves a social function similar to the courtyard.

Granite inset in the living room - another nice detail.

This light fixture would look good in a New York studio or a very modern interior. But it's all out of whack with the Mexican tile --looks like the Jetsons landed at the wrong airport.

The house also has exposed beams and a nice inset of granite in the living room.

Best yet, the place is oriented perfectly on its lot; the long axis lies east/west, and the kitchen window and dining room, with its sliding glass doors, face south. This means that the house is appropriately oriented for solar heating and cooling, and I mean to take advantage of that.

Even though the interior is a bit dark, the orientation of the house should make it reasonably easy to improve amount of natural light available inside the house.

Dark interior colors have made the low level of lighting even worse than it might be. There’s a lime green entry hall, a cobalt blue accent wall in the dining room, and a half wall that is painted a dark brown. (When I posted photos on Facebook, a friend asked, “Did the owners have something wrong with their eyes? They seem a bit color-challenged.”

This interior is going to have plenty of color, but I’m starting by painting it all a warm, creamy white.

That’s the contractor’s second job. His first is to install insulation under the floors and to order energy-efficient windows. Replacing the windows is going to be a bit of a juggling act, with winter coming on, but we’re just down the valley from Aspen here and that’s a priority.

Although it’s not a priority, I couldn’t close this post without a nod to the infamous “Bronco’s Room” — aka “the man cave.” What can I say about this eye-popping spot? Maybe the realtor who wrote the copy for the MLS listing handled it with just the right note of understatement: “Wait until you see the Broncos room.”

The wait here will be very short. Just look below.


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