Taking a 90s Ski Condo from Drab to Fab

In the 80s and 90s many ski town developers created condos that weren’t necessarily designed for a lot of use. After all, during the day everyone is on the mountain! These brown, boxy living spaces were utilitarian, yes, but relaxing and comfortable? Not so much. The good news is that transforming the drab condos of yesteryear into modern, fab abodes doesn’t require a massive renovation.

living area in condo in snowmass

Together with Stel House + Home Vertical Arts modernized a dated Snowmass condo into contemporary quarters through designer touches that added flare and character. With a focus on interior fixed finishes, furnishings and minor floor plan updates, the teams worked together to design and coordinate the entire install remotely throughout the pandemic. This successful approach provided an opportunity for this coveted service to reach clientele beyond Steamboat Springs, making the team’s expertise more accessible to the Western region and beyond.

“We love working in the mountains to help owners turn dated ski condos into places they love to visit or show off – from Steamboat to Snowmass and everywhere in between,” said Partner Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien. 

Located at the base of Snowmass Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, adjacent to Elk Camp and Village Express gondolas, this well-situated home itself lacked character. The owner was inspired to bring a new character to life through her favorite color: orange. The designers tastefully interspersed pops of this color through every room to create a cohesive unit, including modern orange wallpaper in one room, mail tray slots for book storage in the bunkroom, and an orange faucet in the kitchen. To complement the orange, the team layered in navy blue throughout, including an upholstered headboard in the main bedroom. The architecture team also created a more efficient floor plan and developed room for more people to flow freely.

blue and white bedroom

Even with the dramatic transformation, much of the bones of the home were kept intact and simply remodeled to avoid gutting the entire unit. Keeping this delicate balance of old and new, the team painted cabinets, redid countertops and replaced tile, as well as the flooring. Big visual changes also came from small touches such as painting the trim ebony and staining the windows dark black. The new aesthetic is crisp and modern, with odes to mountain life that include soft leather tones and mountain-focused art throughout the home. 

In the main living space, one of the biggest pain points for the owner was the original, bulky fireplace design. The team replaced the overwhelmed space with a new, linear and modern fireplace that features a narrow custom steel element with custom hearth and mantel piece, creating a dramatic contrast to the lighter, accented tones throughout the home. 

Serving as a transition space between the living area and kitchen, the dining table is able to transform to accommodate more people by sliding from the side of the room to the middle and using the accent chairs in guest bedrooms as additional dining chairs, seating eight total. To ensure the lighting always remains centered and to create scale, the design team collaborated with the homeowner to use a bracket that extends the light out as needed. The team also changed the old-school, two-tiered bartop to a waterfall countertop to create a more modern look in the kitchen complete with real cowhide barstools.

black fireplace and modern living room

The homeowner didn’t want to sacrifice coziness and comfort for the sake of a sleek, modern look and collaborated to add unique features like the bunkroom mail tray slots that serve as bookshelves. Character was added to the standard hotel white linens using accent pillows with pops of color. Creating ample and custom storage—including an in-wall wine niche in the kitchen, repurposed orange baskets at the entry for ski gear—and installing a custom powder coated boot dryer in the closet gave the home a more personalized, hospitality-like feel.

To make better use of the home’s space, the team enhanced existing closets or built new ones to add storage. A desk was added to the main bedroom for people who may rent the condo for a couple weeks and work remotely.

wooden bunk beds and orange bean bag chairs

Through a seamless remote design process – including the full design, fulfillment and installation – the team proved they really can work from anywhere! The homeowner appreciated that the team worked with what she had instead of insisting on a complete overhaul, which other designers had advised. She loved that the team focused on how to improve the space on a specific budget. 

“Whether your budget is small or large, our team can transform a space through seamless design that maximizes spaces and turns your condo into a completely new home,” said Retail and Procurement Manager Gina Silveri.

modern kitchen with orange detail

With so many aging condos in the Rocky Mountains, both Vertical Arts and Stel House + Home can help find a way to easily and fairly inexpensively redo your condo to increase its value – either for selling, renting or just because you’re tired of looking at the 90s. Working with a designer allows owners to  comprehensively transform a space. Our team would love to help you create a more modern space with a better flow that maximizes the space. Reach out today to learn how we can help you achieve this in your ski condo! Follow both @Vertical Arts and @Stel House + Home on Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest and Instagram for more projects and design inspiration.