Style File: Modern Mountain Style
With expansive vistas, sprawling forests, and towering mountain peaks, the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains create a natural backdrop of serenity and grandeur. Famous for its refuge within a box canyon of 13,000-foot peaks in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is an idyllic community that has served as a rustic mountain retreat for vacationers and permanent settlers alike.
It began as a mining town for gold and silver during the late 19th century and later struck gold in the form of a major ski resort in the 1970s. But Telluride is more than an old mining town. In fact, with its majestic beauty, its tight-knit community, and a flourish of cultural attractions from visiting ballet companies to its annual Bluegrass Festival and the exclusive star-studded Telluride Film Festival, the town has gained a reputation for being one of the best-kept secrets on the western slopes of the Continental Divide.
In such an inspiring environment of natural beauty, it's no wonder that the overarching theme for Telluride design draws extensively on the aesthetics of nature. But while mountain living has long garnered a reputation for showcasing heavy stained timber with large rock and a darker color palette of greens, maroons, and browns, Telluride showcases a brighter side to mountain style that blends lighter palettes and natural components that invite nature indoors.
"We're seeing a significant trend into what has become 'mountain modern.' Details are not as heavy. They're lighter and there's a lot more open air," says local real estate broker Brian O'Neill of Telluride Properties. "Things are more vibrant, festive, and fresh, which may have to do with the youthful, active demographic of the town."
In keeping with the town's mining heritage, plenty of iron and steel accents appear throughout the architecture and interior design, but in a much more subtle and refined way. Local interior design firm Tweed Interiors has focused its work toward modern and minimalist style. Business partners Robyn Shaw and Victoria Crawford blend both contemporary and antique elements to display originality, and they love to use white for a clean look but emphasize the importance of color to bring life to a space.
"We steer away from the heavy Western look and focus more on native prints, clean lines, and spacious rooms. A lot of our clients are younger families who want lighter spaces or people looking to freshen up what they already have. So we try to start basic and clean and then add layers minimally," says Crawford. She adds that there's a benefit to hiring a designer in Telluride-they'll know how to get hard-to-find items in the isolated small town. "We'll use a number of things from larger retailers, but for unique local finds, you have to know where to go."
- Interior Design