A Timely Renovation Brings New Spirit to the Historic Aspen Times Building
For the several years the historic 1904 Victorian building beside the landmark Hotel Jerome stood empty, its 100-year-long tenant, The Aspen Times, relocated a couple of blocks away, locals wondered what might become of it.
So when word came that the Jerome’s owners, Auberge Resorts Collection, intended to restore and repurpose the building into a social venue with an underground, speakeasy-style bar, and that they’d hired Rowland+Broughton to do it, there was a collective sigh of relief.
“It was such an opportunity,” shares R+B Principal Sarah Broughton, whose team also oversaw the tasteful interior renovation of the Hotel Jerome itself in 2012. “The Aspen Times is one of the few original wooden storefront buildings left in Aspen. It needed to be respected while responding to the hotel in style and demeanor.”
Digging in and researching the evolution of the building from the turn of the century and working closely with the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission, the R+B team removed poorly done additions. Original wood siding was preserved and re-detailed (its historic blue color retained), historic windows replaced and a sliding barn door system added to a courtyard-facing wall.
As part of the process, the building was removed from the site to allow for a new foundation and the installation of a steel superstructure to enable it to once again stand on its own. Re-designing the hotel’s central garden courtyard and providing outdoor restaurant seating presented additional challenges, including raising the interior portion to improve accessibility and repositioning the existing pool. “On such a tight site, it was a surgical and high structural achievement,” Broughton notes.
Downstairs, the newly concepted and designed Bad Harriet speakeasy references both the Victorian period during which Hotel Jerome was built and today’s luxe design sensibilities. In collaboration with TAL Studio, the same interior design firm R+B worked with during the 2012 full interior renovation of the Hotel Jerome, the interior palette, millwork, finishes and furnishings also take their cue from the original hotel. Mirrored wall panels with polished accents pair with painted wood trim to create a sultry atmosphere for the intimate, 55-seat space, while a Bruna Terra Leather stone bar adds a solid contemporary edge.
In addition to the restoration and repurposing of the Aspen Times Building, R+B was charged with designing the adjoining, three-story Suites Building. Each element needed to respond to and highlight the hotel in style and demeanor.
– Amended from an article appearing in The Purist magazine.