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Shadow Mountain House Design Process

Exterior Shadow Mountain House

Shadow Mountain House is located on a compact lot at the edge of downtown Aspen, Colorado, within close walking distance of skiing, shops and restaurants. The home is tucked up against the base of iconic Shadow Mountain, which provides unique forested views.


For our design team, a primary goal was addressing the owners’ desire to capture the best views possible, including of the overhead treetops and the mountains across the valley. Combined with a compact lot size, the goal drove the architecture vertically, with main living spaces placed on the upper level and rooftop, and the bedrooms on the lower levels.


As the form is tucked into the mountainside, the upper level offers a gracious walk-out terrace for outdoor entertaining. A “form follows function” parti was created to incorporate large picture windows aimed directly at primary views.


In a compact footprint, essential programmatic elements vie for attention compositionally. So as not to divert attention from the views, a neutral palette of plaster, white oak and minimal detailing was chosen. Glass guardrails on the stairs were selected to allow for more natural light to filter uninhibited to the lower levels and for the transparency they provided. Another design challenge was the detailing required for the unique angles driven by the aperture windows. Rainscreen cladding techniques and internal gutters were employed so that the standing seam metal was siding used consistently around the openings.


Inside, the furnishings palette was devised to help explore and embrace the owner’s love of bold colors. Each level was provided a central color on which an analogous color palette was developed. Accordingly, the lower level is purple, the main floor is blue and the upper level is green. Green was chosen for the upper level to pull the rich greens of the surrounding forested views inside. Throughout the home, bold and expressive artwork was located in areas that allow them to be celebrated independently of the views.