Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

  • 01 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    Allegra Muzzillo is the owner and proprietress of the Brooklyn-based boutique, You & Yours Fine Vintage. This design maven has been a writer for Real Simple and editor at Cottages & Gardens publications.

    For this installment of the Design Mashups series, we tour a magnificent eight-bedroom Aspen, Colorado ski house—overlooking majestic Aspen Mountain—in which bi-coastal designer, Frank de Biasi worked his magic.

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  • 02 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    In order to accommodate the homeowners’ prolific art collection, four children (and two staff members), the chalet needed to be able to meet all of the needs of a busy, sporty family while remaining an open, flexible space in which artwork could be easily rotated on a regular basis.

    The project relied heavily on de Biasi’s background in, and knowledge of, contemporary art and antiques. The designer started working in appraisals at Christie’s New York in 1987 and later designed interiors for architect Peter Marino. An aesthetic developed in such sophisticated environments made it easy for de Biasi to get a sense of what the homeowners wanted. “It’s important for me to try to get inside a client’s head,” says de Biasi, “to better understand the way they live and work with them to achieve the perfect marriage of old and new pieces.”

    In the living room, a custom made polka dot carpet spans nearly wall-to-wall—warming the space. The contemporary rolled armchairs are intentionally mismatched with the sofa, giving the space a relaxed, eclectic feel.

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  • 03 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    Each room of the home has near-panoramic views of the breathtaking landscape. Rustic, natural elements— like the wood-paneled walls and the tree-trunk table—echo the great outdoors, while helping the eye transition from inside to outside. The designer effortlessly positioned traditional, antique pieces like the black-lacquer sideboard alongside mid-century gems like the burgundy upholstered leather side chairs. Orange accent lamps look as if they’re composed of actual amber, and perfectly harmonize with the collage hanging above.

    “Many designers try out new, high-value objects and new furniture on a ‘for-approval’ basis before purchasing,” says de Biasi. “This way, clients get a good feel for how new pieces work in their spaces.” As long as the pieces you buy aren’t customized or final-sale, you can definitely try this designer’s trick at home.

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  • 04 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    The kitchen is definitely the heart of the home, framed by reclaimed-wood beams and wood-paneled custom cabinetry. Modern amenities like stainless-steel appliances and practical quartz countertops are a cool contrast. Seemingly limitless, unfettered counter space (and Knoll’s Bertoia barstools) beckon guests to linger. One can just imagine how many yummy, pre-ski breakfasts happen here. 

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  • 05 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    In this turquoise bedroom (just one of the chalet’s eight) cathedral ceilings are a boon—and not only for the watercolor painting that adorns the wall. They convey a sense of grandeur while framing a serene private oasis. And while other designers may find them awkward, de Biasi uses low-lying furniture to draw eyes upward, further enunciating the room’s magnificent height. Wall-to-wall diamond patterned carpeting and a faux-fur comforter add warmth to an otherwise cool space. A laser-cut metal chair is just another example of the playfulness that’s exhibited throughout the home. “I’m inspired by culture—from travel and fashion to history,” says de Biasi, who loves mixing old items with newer ones, infusing homes with incredible artwork, and creating fabulous spaces to entertain in.  The designer also enjoys “focusing on the finer details of design, like a great rug that compliments an amazing painting or sculpture.”

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  • 06 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    On the main floor, a stunning bathroom overlooks the heated pool and the inimitable Rocky Mountains. Reclaimed-wood paneling is given a sophisticated makeover by the designer’s use of marble—on virtually every surface, including the floor. An antique, carved-wood Indian meditation chair and ottoman offer respite next to the built-in gas fireplace and natural goat-hide rugs that offer added warmth. A designer tip: two of de Biasi’s favorite online sources for vintage and antique items are 1stdibs.com and Wright-now.com.

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  • 07 of 07

    Design Mashup: a Modern-Rustic Aspen Mountain Retreat

    Upstairs, the homeowners settle down in a comfy space that accommodates the whole family—and more. Again, low-lying furniture emphasizes cathedral ceilings and antiques—like the early 20th-century giltwood chandelier. These pieces are positioned alongside 1970s gems, like the hand-woven Beni Ourain shag-wool area rugs from Morocco. Sheer roman shades accentuate the stunning views; their black trim coordinates with the two mid-century leather-and-rosewood dining chairs flanking the game table.

    To achieve de Biasi’s signature blend of old and new in your own home, the designer suggests making an investment in classic pieces you like and then mixing in trendier, less expensive ones. “This contrast is what makes for interesting decorating,” says de Biasi. “The key is to focus on timeless items you love and swap out less expensive items whenever you feel the need to update.”