A Whimsical Custom Home Matches Mountain, Farmhouse and Modern Design

Our hard work on the stunning Clark Retreat custom home recently made the cover of Mountain Living. Enjoy learning more about this farmhouse-inspired mountain getaway nestled in an Aspen grove in Clark, Colorado, with excerpts from the article.

Exterior Primary Bedroom

A feeling of rejuvenation embodies the primary bedroom, which features a large wall in honey-brown stone, an elegant bed from Anthropologie and plenty of fresh air via glass doors that open directly to the great outdoors.

After a lifetime spent in Chicago, a couple decided to retire to a home on the range. Incredible views of the Continental Divide and great sun exposure made the 50-acre site in Clark, Colorado, the ideal spot to downsize into a farmhouse-inspired mountain getaway that a pair of empty nesters had always dreamed of. And though the homeowners had only visited the Elk River Valley twice before, they instantly felt an affinity for the land.



 Incredible views of the Continental Divide and great sun exposure made the 50-acre site in Clark, Colorado, the ideal spot to downsize in a farmhouse-inspired mountain getaway that a pair of empty nesters had always dreamed of.

Once they found their lot, they hired our team to build their dream home and we took them through our Envisioning Process to help determine preferences for different design styles, palettes and textures.

“They wanted a smaller-scale house with everything mainly on one level. And while they wanted something beautiful, it also had to be practical and functional—something that wasn’t going to take a lot of work to maintain,” said Vertical Arts Partner Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien. “They weren’t interested in anything over the top or at all pretentious.”Our team was able to blend rustic and modern styles into a treasured mountain home. While the interior serves clean and light, the exterior of the custom home provides a rustic charm. With an earthy, soft and simple palette complimented by a crisp silhouette, the rustic exterior fits nicely into its environment.


Stunning floor-to-ceiling walls of windows flood the interior rooms with light that’s balanced by subtle, rustic touches like the dark oak flooring and reclaimed accents. Layered nature-inspired light fixtures in fluid shapes complement the steel detailing in the custom trusswork.

With the goals of the home and overall design aesthetic in place, the home began to take shape starting with the exterior, mixing reclaimed barnwood and rusted Corten steel. Many of the finishes complement the unobstructed, exquisite views of the Continental Divide, including reclaimed wood walls, Douglas fir ceilings and the fieldstone-adorned double-sided wood-burning fireplace. Inside, the team worked with the homeowners to dial in the color palette. 

Originally, the homeowners had their hearts set on Montana stone, “but it’s very expensive and hard to get,” said Sarah. So she ended up taking her clients to a local mason where they selected something in a warmer tone. “It has a lot more of a honey hue to it. Once we got that selected, we were able to hone in on the rest of the palette, which led to chocolatey brown floors, crisp white walls and pops of blue throughout.”  The beautiful, warm color palette speaks for itself, with various wood tones working together, in the floors, trusses, cabinets and ceiling. Pops of mustard and rust, and grays and blues against cream accents setting the mood for the home – a liveable, cozy and welcoming abode. The result feels harmonious, airy and bright.


 An abundance of stylish touches in the wide-open kitchen—including cabinets and a large island painted a cool gray-blue, opalescent Zellige tile and a trio of contemporary light fixtures —makes for an inviting spot to cook while entertaining guests.

Our team also ensured everyone’s voice was taken into account when it came time to furnish the home. Says the wife, “My husband wanted the home to have a Western feel, but I felt like this is our home, not a vacation home. We already had a lot of rustic elements in place, so I wanted some modern touches.” 

Modern farmhouse proportions are seamlessly integrated with rustic detailing, creating a cozy, liveable home that feels fresh and inviting. Leaning into the homeowner’s whimsical taste, the design team mixed feminine style with elemental mountain architecture generating a softness out of the hard materialsTo that end, the interior design team brought in sculptural lighting, clean-lined furnishings and cool pops of color. “It was all about balancing the masculine and feminine. Even the pillows on the sofa in the great room are a mix—a wooly Pendleton, a nubby boucle and some jute,” said Sarah.


The lovely blue-gray hue makes a return appearance on the bookcases in the library, along with an inviting sofa and a wood-burning fireplace with handy log storage.

The gorgeous blue cabinetry in the kitchen matches the blue built-in bookshelves in the sitting room and eclectic throw pillows tie the palette together. Wrapping into the sitting room, the fireplace looks different from each side and boasts an aesthetic nook to store firewood.


The views are one of the main draws of Clark, so the Vertical Arts team made sure to spotlight them everywhere they could—including in the primary bathroom. “We installed a stone spine and shower on one side and a freestanding tub grounded in front of a beautiful stone wall,” said Sarah. “We had to make sure the windowsill was situated low enough so that you can see outside even when you’re relaxing in the bath.”


Relaxation comes naturally in the spa-like primary bathroom thanks to a free- standing bathtub, a beautiful wall composed of fieldstone, and bucolic views just outside the well-placed window.

Overall, it’s a great example of the “leap of faith” it takes to trust experts like Vertical Arts to keep homeowners’ best interests at heart. The result is a perfectly blended rustic, modern and quaint home in the hills. See the full story from Mountain Living and more of our media coverage here.