08 Nov Handcrafted Comfort
I’VE ALWAYS HAD A PASSION FOR THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT AND WILLIAM MORRIS,” says Carol Kelly, co-owner of the Portfolio Gallery in Breckenridge, Colorado. “When we had the opportunity to build our own home, I went to see the Gamble House in Pasadena — a gem. I loved the glass; I loved the lights; I loved the wood and the way it was set. Everything about it was just awe-inspiring, not ostentatious, just warm and friendly.”
She and her business partner and husband, Alan, wanted their future home to nestle into the Rocky Mountain landscape with an ambiance of warm wood, hand-laid stonework, and touches of iron. Like the Gamble House, they wanted nothing produced by a machine and most of the furniture and décor handmade, down to using fabrics that were hand-woven on a loom.
They partnered with builder Tom Begley of Breckenridge Lands and architects Suzanne Allen Sabo and Yves Mariethoz of Allen-Guerra Architecture. Following Carol’s lead, the design team took inspiration from the creators of the famous house she admired.
“Architects Charles and Henry Greene were two brothers from Southern California. Two of their homes designed in 1908, the David B. Gamble House and the Pratt House, were both inspirations for our architectural team on the Kelly Residence. In many of their homes, Greene and Greene introduced both alpine and Scandinavian elements, such as the Swiss-Austrian chalet roof forms and the Swedish attention to interior furniture and wood detailing,” says Sabo, adding that because of the home’s location, with expansive views of the high alpine ski slopes, a Greene and Greene inspired home was a perfect choice for the site.
Focused on bungalow-style architecture, they committed to using indigenous materials, incorporating local craft traditions, and designing a home that was unique but complemented the integrity of its mountain community, explains Alan Kelly. “Our maxim was understated and first class … with the overall impact to be warm and inviting,” he says.
The unique design, location, and Colorado winters presented challenges for the builders, but as a 25-year Breckenridge veteran, Begley anticipated the obstacles and notes that the home’s success was a team effort. “Suzanne’s team was very creative, as were the subcontractors, many of whom have worked with us for 15 years; we improvised on-site,” he says.
The Architecture became a catalyst. In this world of prefab and cookie-cutter interiors, the Kellys wanted to create an oasis where everything had been conceived by the human imagination. To achieve that, they engaged an entire community of artists and craftsmen. Beginning with favorite artworks from their collection of artists, such as Roycroft painter Julie Leidel, they expanded their vision both locally and at the National Arts and Crafts Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. “We met extraordinary people who have been intimately involved in the design of our home,” Alan says.
Interior designer Karen Hovde met the Kellys in Asheville and created several of the interior elements in their Colorado home, including a series of stained-glass box lights depicting the surrounding mountains. Working with a team of wood, glass, and copper craftsmen, she had glass pieces created in one state, metal crafted in another, and wood boxes created by a master Arts and Crafts artist in another. “It’s all going to work together like puzzle pieces,” she says. Hovde brought together the three artisans from different states to meet on the floor of the Kellys’ dining room and assemble the box lamps on-site. Each lamp creates a three-dimensional scene with all lines flowing into the next plane for a continuous image.
“The soft, subtle lighting — pools of light — made all the difference,” Carol says.
A talented Colorado woodworker, Ben Bridgewater, not only created much of the woodwork inside the home but also introduced the Kellys to his artist-wife, Sandy Bridgewater, who created art that is hanging in their home and is now represented by the Kellys’ gallery.
And with that, Carol and Alan brought their project full circle, integrating their passion for the arts into every surface of their family home, and bringing artists from their home into their gallery. By adhering to their mission and collaborating, they created a feeling of timelessness within their space.
“The Kelly Residence exhibits the same serenity that one can experience watching the silent cross-country skiers gliding on the trail just below their great room on a cold, crisp day in the Colorado winter,” Sabo says.
“The bungalow style at the front really fits into the landscape. When we moved in, I felt at home very quickly,” Carol adds. “Our exceptional team made it friendly, warm, welcoming, and inviting.”