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Respect for the Past Inspires a Whimsical Restoration of Stein Eriksen's Former Starwood Home

By Linda Hayes | September 6, 2018 | Home & Real Estate

Respect for the past inspires a whimsical starwood restoration.

views.jpgDouble-height windows frame a million dollar view

In architectural terms, a “folly” is a nonfunctional structure erected to enhance the natural landscape. A folly is precisely how Rowland+Broughton architect Sarah Broughton thought about the uniquely shaped stone building she was entrusted to restore and renovate by owners Alexa and Blaine Wesner. “We came in to enhance it, to make it current and breathe new life into it.”

One of the first properties developed in Aspen’s exclusive Starwood neighborhood, the 30-year-old folly was once a part of the home of legendary Olympic champion and Aspen ski pioneer Stein Eriksen. Neither that nor the fact that it was built by Eleanor Brickham, Aspen’s first female architect, was lost on Broughton. “Preserving Ellie’s original architecture and coming in, channeling it and bringing honor to her legacy and work was important to us and to our clients,” she says. “A lot of people would have ripped it down.”

stone-architecture.jpgThe stone structure was once a part of Stein Eriksen’s Starwood home

While the rustic exterior, consisting largely of native stone brought down from Ruedi Reservoir, was only marginally touched and Eriksen’s original front door retained, the trilevel 3,197-square-foot interior was recast as a thoughtful blending of old and new elements. A clean, modern palette of finishes and materials, including white plaster walls and white-oak flooring and millwork, was installed to complement original wood beams, unique patterns in the existing flooring and bookshelves and stair handrails with fanciful, handcarved details.

Accommodating the intended usage of the building as a gathering place within a large legacy property, Broughton and her team custom designed key furniture pieces for living and dining areas. A small kitchen area and a powder room were upgraded. And a lower-level space was transformed into an entertainment area with a game room and state-of-the-art media room.

minotti-sofas.jpgThe main living space features a pair of Seymour sofas by Minotti

Reflecting back on the project, Broughton is pensive about what has become an overriding goal for both herself and her Aspen-headquartered firm, which turned 15 in June. “It’s all about stewardship,” she says. “Uniting the past of a building with the technical processes of today, while appreciating and respecting the people who were here before us.”