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An open floor plan allows the kitchen to flow into the dining room. Photo by Draper White


Elevated Style

By Linda Hayes



A modern Aspen home provides a natural respite for a Houston designer and her family.

For Erin and Michael Maggi and their architects, Rich Carr and Simon Elliot of Cottle Carr Yaw Architects in Basalt, designing a modern Aspen home that so perfectly fit both lifestyle and landscape was a purposeful, two-yearlong project. It started with a three-day charrette. “We brought upward of 20 different design books to our first meeting with Rich and Simon, and poured volumes of tagged, inspirational images onto the conference table,” says Erin, an interior designer and co-founder with her mom, Gail Taylor, of Taylor & Taylor Designs in Houston. “It was like a wave of ideas that kept coming from the
very beginning.”

   Informed by the desire for the home to blend in with the site, a saddle of land overhanging Maroon Creek and boasting mountain and valley views, the concept of designing a low-slung trio of pods connected by glassed-in walkways and topped with subtly “tipped” roofs came into play. “It was an intensive process that’s typical of how we work,” says Carr. “We rolled up our sleeves, listened and engaged about how they imagined using the house, did site-fit diagrams and floor plans. Sheer vision came of it.”

   Pods house all the “trappings of bliss,” according to Erin, for the couple’s five children (four of whom are under 9), kitchen, family and common areas, and the sanctuarylike master suite, respectively. Exterior materials, primarily dark-painted board form concrete, weathered cedar and zinc, in a palette of varying gray and charcoal tones, were chosen to complement the natural grasses and scrub oak that surround it.

A marble Thorntree fireplace in the master bedroom. Photo by David Marlow

   Inside, while fixed finishes such as cabinetry, closets, flooring and countertops, were selected collaboratively, Erin’s interior design taste and expertise ruled. “Erin being in the profession meant a lot,” says Elliot. “It added an extra level of interest into the whole process when it came to thinking about materials and furnishings. She was able to see the finished version in her head.”

   Neutral, quiet colors follow the home’s overall theme. “We drew from the colors of the surrounding environment and blended them with the neutral palette that Taylor & Taylor Designs often favors, and the floor-to-ceiling walkways usher outdoor color in,” says Erin. Her appreciation for highly designed playfulness shows through as well. In the main living pod, for instance, the kitchen is particularly dynamic, anchored by a monolithic black Copacabana brushed granite slab island with a waterfall edge from Aria Stone Gallery in Dallas. Overhead, a futuristic trio of Roll & Hill single loop pendant lights are suspended by white ropes.

   Off the kitchen, in a breakfast nook, an unconventional gray-lacquer Mr. Brown table is paired with a functional banquette. A few steps down, the open living and dining space features a large-enough-for-the-whole-family Rene Cazares sofa, with practical Perennials indoor-outdoor fabric and quilted napa leather bolsters. A playful swing is suspended by chains from the ceiling, and Erin notes, “I love having the swing in the main area so the kids can be nearby while I’m in the kitchen cooking or prepping to entertain.” Sliding glass doors that stack back or disappear into the walls allow for easy indoor-outdoor flow to the terrace and lawns. “Our favorite time in the house is when the doors are open and the house is full of family and friends enjoying the scenery and the mountain air,” she adds.

Photo by David Marlow

   That experience is further enabled in the master pod, where the landscape may be viewed—unobstructed by an open, honed marble Thorntree fireplace or a television on a hydraulic lift system concealed in the floor—from the extra-high, upholstered Shine by S.H.O. bed. In the summer, the Maggis’ morning ritual includes opening windows and doors to a balcony that overlooks the river valley below.

   At just under 10,000 square feet, the home is especially notable for its intensely livable feel and human scale. (It also caught the eye of industry leaders, earning the American Institute of Architects Colorado West chapter Award of Excellence.) “The pod configuration keeps it feeling airy and open, while offering distinct spaces for the children to play while the adults relax and have a glass of wine,” Erin says. “The glass walkways are true galleries that serve as windows onto the dynamic, living artwork of the outdoors and flood the home with light. I love that we get to travel through the landscape when simply moving from room to room. It’s the perfect manifestation of our ideas.”


CCY Architects

B&H General Contractors

Studio NYL Structural Engineers