Introducing The Renaissance Home - An Aspen Original
There’s nothing like it in all of Aspen — perhaps the world. An architectural masterpiece meticulously crafted over three years, where every detail is a work of art and each room has a story. Magnificent. Intimate. Glamorous. Monastic. Sophisticated. Rustic. All words that correctly describe this inimitable property, yet fail to capture — by themselves or in any combination — its essence. Original? Absolutely, but that’s just a word. Planned and built by some of the industry’s best design and artistic minds, The Renaissance Home was the only North American project of Uruguayan Horatio Ravazzani, one of Architectural Digest’s top 100 architects and designers, who defies categorization and designed with a rare personal passion. Among his touches — 17-inch concrete walls throughout the home, poured into wood forms complete with knots and imperfections for an altogether unique look and feel.
Famous for connecting his buildings to the landscape and his design to the art of living, Ravazzani placed at the center of the home a 3,250-square-foot all-glass pyramid that, with its lush vegetation, inset ponds, and automated windows (which open and close at certain temperatures) naturally brings in the outdoors. The greenhouse is as ideally suited for quietly reading a book as it is for holding a wedding — and everything in between.
Bisecting the greenhouse — which also serves to separate the family quarters from the guest wing — a 245-foot long “interior street” offers a journey in time and aesthetic splendor in addition to the physical passage. Lined with tapestries and other antiques and dotted with sitting areas for conversation or contemplation, the gallery is bookended by a massive three-story window that bathes the corridor in light and a stately secondary entryway graced by an ancient Roman urn.
Inspiring yet functional, the living areas are a testament to the grand visions and harmonious sensibilities of interior designer Steven Sills, who was named to Architectural Digest’s Top 100 list in 2014. All of the home’s woodwork, including magnificent beam patterns on the ceilings, was milled from iroko, a warm soft wood exclusive to the forests of the Ivory Coast. In the great room, the double-height ceilings and elaborate, swan-necked chandeliers evoke a 17th century aesthetic — with subtle touches of modernism such as floor-to-ceiling electric curtains, speakers embedded in the walls, and hand-etched window fixtures recycled from a high school library in Denver. A smaller, cozy family room doesn’t neglect the fine details — including a custom-finished white stone and plaster fireplace with a primeval castle feel.
Literally a work of art, the dining room is the home’s aesthetic centerpiece. Designed by renowned French furniture artist André Dubreuil, there is nothing ordinary about this room. Each of the four walls represents a season, and from the ceiling hangs Dubreuil’s whimsical metalwork art. But unlike a grand banquet hall, the dining arrangement is intimate and designed for ease of conversation between all — two square tables touching only at one corner minimize the distance one’s voice has to carry.
Day-to-day meals can be taken in the kitchen, designed by a world renowned chef and tailored to the needs of a chef, yet with a welcoming warmth and light-filled ambience. Directly below the kitchen is a restaurant-quality, 1,200-bottle wine cellar.
On the lower level, a state of the art home theater features 2,000-pound soundproof lead doors and an undulating wooden ceiling that enhances the flow of the acoustics — all controlled by a sound room that rivals those of the most advanced professional studios in the world.
Serenity and whimsy come together in the master suite, accessed via a Moroccan-tiled circular staircase and bridge over the gallery. The spacious bedroom with its centerpiece white-draped tester bed and chandelier evokes the ambiance of a chateau, while triangular windows and a private cantilevered deck with views of Aspen Mountain once again embody the delightful uniqueness of this property. The colorful Moroccan tile extends to the master bath spa, whose highlights include dueling marble tubs and a Dutch settee.
A three-bedroom, two-bath wing of the home offers more intimate space for children or extended family. Complemented by outdoor access to patios overlooking the waterfall from each bedroom, this part of the home has a cozy, cabin-in-the-woods feel. And that feeling of warmth extends to the two guest suites, with their rich décor and deep, fast-filling bathtubs. A light-filled workout room, octagonal artist’s studio, and separately accessed caretaker apartment complete the guest wing, along with a four-car garage and ski locker room.
The art of living extends to the outdoors — a breathtaking hilltop setting spread over a 15-acre forest of 77 evergreens and 319 aspen trees, streams and waterfalls circulating 3,465,000 cubic inches of water front the home, bordered with lichen-covered boulders and imparting a sense of discovery and wonder. And along an extensive stone path around the property, there’s more to discover: the meditation center, an aspen tree-ringed clearing with wood-hewn benches and a spiritual aura; a high point dubbed Lonesome Pine that offers solitude or the potential for romance; and a Charles Cunniffe-designed treehouse for the young and young at heart.
The outdoor entertainment possibilities are endless. A stone patio can serve as a stage for a jazz ensemble — with enough room left over for a bar and a dance floor — and the adjacent outdoor dining area comfortable seats 32 around a Donald Judd-designed dining table. From lounge chairs on the lawn or an expansive deck complete with hot tub, enjoy spectacular Rocky Mountain sunsets or a night sky teeming with brilliant stars.
An Aspen original, The Renaissance Home is a masterpiece of creative splendor and a monument to the art of living.