When Ken and Michelle Stiller decided to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City behind to make Aspen their full-time family home, it was those two words—family and home—that ultimately inspired the extraordinary design of the 7,800-square-foot six-bedroom house they built on Snow Bunny Lane. The couple wanted something modern, but also warm, livable and functional for life with two kids. The result was a fusion of styles that evokes a true example of mountain modern.
The project began with the lot and its location, in the heart of one of Aspen’s most familycentric neighborhoods. “The parameters were to keep it contextual. They wanted something modern, but not so modern that it would be out of place in such a residential neighborhood,” says Bill Pollock, owner and principal at Zone 4 Architects. The result was a contemporary abode with a nod to mountain style, what Pollock refers to as “interconnectivity.”
They combined features like gabled, peaked rooflines typical of a traditional mountain house with a more horizontal shed roof in between. There were also the mixed materials: wood siding juxtaposed with composite panels, steel and glass. The two-story gabled “towers” house the master and children’s bedrooms in one tower and master guest room and office in the other, separated by the main living space.
“There were a lot of views that were on the diagonal, like Red Butte and Aspen Mountain, so we cut the windows around the corner on both gable masses that are on the north and south ends of the house to maximize that,” Pollock says. Those windows also showcase the extraordinary interior architecture finishes like the intricate steel-and-wood screen on the main staircase railing. “They wanted various elements to be special and very elegant,” says Richard Mullen, managing partner for Demesne, the Aspen firm that handled all interior architecture. Mullen custom designed a steel and pivot front door that was so heavy it required a magnetic locking system. “They wanted it to be a showpiece. The only people who come through the front door are their guests, so they wanted to put their best foot forward,” he says.
Overall, the interior featured a gallery feel, achieved with white oak flooring throughout and white plaster walls to create a backdrop for the furnishings, fabrics and art. “We tried to keep the palette as simple as possible and very restrained,” he says. The ultimate backdrop is the natural beauty that comes through from the outside. “Everything was designed for the views and to allow natural light to come through,” Mullen says. Since moving to Aspen full time, the couple have become immersed in the Aspen community through their work with local nonprofit organizations including the Aspen Education Foundation and Aspen Youth Center. They achieved that something special, evident to anyone who enters through that spectacular front door.
Exterior photos by Michael Brands; Interior photos by EmIly Redfield; all photos courtesy of Zone 4 Architects