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Photography by: Peter Valli. The private wine cellar.

The Dancing Bear

by Linda Hayes | Aspen magazine | September 26, 2012

"It’s not your typical mountain design,"says Shayne Smith, design director of Shayne Interior Design Group in Los Angeles, with a laugh. She’s referring to the bold interior concept, tagged "mountain fusion,"she created for Parkside, the first phase of the Dancing Bear Aspen residence club set across from Wagner Park.

Every residence is equipped with top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, ready for entertaining on a moments notice.

While the building’s exterior—red sandstone with black slate, steel, and copper detailing —reflects the surroundings, the interiors make an entirely different statement. Three elements came into play: Smith’s penchant for color; low ceilings due to building-height restrictions; and founder, developer, and local entrepreneur Tom DiVenere’s desire to create a singular getaway for a small community of owners. "It’s easy to make everything grandiose in large spaces, but working with 9-foot-tall ceilings can be challenging," explains Smith (who worked for Edwards-based Slifer Designs when she started on the project). "We set an attitude, created a place where people can come and have fun."

The first hit of color comes at the whimsical entry, which introduces the palette of the public spaces — black, red, and Smith’s signature Mystic Gold. The entry also sets the tone for the club’s furnishings. “Most of the people who come to Aspen are world travelers who buy things to remind them of their trips,” Smith says. “We tried to impart that feeling by using eclectic pieces from different parts of the world.” Adjoining Brexi brasserie (which Smith also designed), the lobby features standing lamps wrapped in red silk, a crocodile-skin table, Ralph Lauren chairs, an Italian leather sofa, and a red iron-oxide fireplace surround.

For each of the nine three-bedroom residences, which average 2,100 square feet, Smith incorporated organic materials, such as leather, wood, granite, and silk, and toned the color scheme down to warm, rich tones of brown (accented with hits of color from custom pillows, rugs, and throws). Loveland-based Genesis Innovations completed this look with alder and hickory throughout. Furnishings and artwork all came from respected designers, suppliers, and artists, such as Richard Serra and Donghia.

Outside of the residences, there’s no shortage of entertainment venues. They include a modern Italian-style wine and boardroom for private parties and dinners, as well as a kid-oriented game room done in bright geometrics, and a plush private theater. The upper level features a pair of lounges with breakfast and banquet facilities.

The real kicker? A rooftop terrace with Japanese soaking tubs, oversize canopied chairs, an LED-lit fireplace, and views over Aspen Mountain, town, and up to Independence Pass. “Come summer,” Smith says, “it’ll be the hottest place to be.”

ARCHITECTS: Stryker/Brown Architects, Aspen, 970-925-2100,; O’Bryan Partnership, Frisco, 970-668-1133,
CONTRACTOR: Shaw Construction, 970-242-9236,