Vail Design at Altitude column: Thoughtful updates create a welcoming mountain retreat |

Vail Design at Altitude column: Thoughtful updates create a welcoming mountain retreat

The "before" living room felt dark and was not a gathering place for the family. By lightening up the color and adding swanky lounge chairs and new window treatments, the room is bright and welcoming.
Special to the Daily |

We love when thoughtful updates completely revamp a space. Sure, some homes ask for a full remodel, but others houses can be updated using a few key elements, keeping the bones, resulting in a house that feels totally refreshed and, well, like home.

Senior designer Frances Karsh and I took on this remodel in Bachelor Gulch. The house is spacious, with a large kitchen perfect for generations to gather together before a ski day or for a lazy lunch. The huge windows let the light flood the house and let the homeowners feel like they are part of nature.

Reflection of Lifestyle

However, there were definite design elements the homeowners wanted to change, primarily to make the house reflect their tastes, style and vibrant lifestyle.

They were fine with keeping existing backsplashes, fixed finishes (sinks, faucets, appliances and flooring) and the overall layout of the house — they didn’t want to make any architectural changes. This still left plenty of ways for us to infuse their home with updated design.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The clients have a classic-modern design aesthetic, and the furnishings that came with the house definitely didn’t reflect that. We sat with the clients and created a list of priorities, and right at the top was the obvious need for new furniture. We found stylish pieces and we re-created the living room space with a sizable coffee table, multi-purpose stools, light-in-color lounge chairs that don’t swallow the room and a luxurious blue-gray velvet sofa.

Cozy and Bright

Coupled with a new chandelier and minimal accessories, the room is both cozy and bright. The previous owners had heavy, dark valances and drapery. Once we removed that and added window coverings that were light in color and texture, we even saw bears, moose and deer. As with any design, proportions are important: We used a plush rug to set the stage for the seating.

Welcome to Our Kitchen

The kitchen became our next object of focus. We stretched the budget and shortened the timeline by repainting the cabinets from a deep blue that made the space darker and less inviting to white. Immediately, the room became bright and welcoming. We kept the existing tile and countertop — the key was to make sure the updates worked well with the existing pieces and style.

These clients have an amazing art collection. By painting the entire main floor a clean, neutral color and creating specific spaces for the art, we made sure the art was a focal point. We didn’t want to make the art fit existing spaces; we wanted the space to fit the art. Adding gallery-quality lighting further gives the art a prominent showplace and draws the eye inward.

By listening and creating a specific to-do list and budget, we were able to deliver a home that felt new without having to tear down walls and re-create what was already an excellent space.

Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She loves a challenge in the form of a remodel or designing a new home.

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