A 1960s ASPEN CABIN GETS A MODERN REDESIGN THAT HONORS THE PROPERTY’S HERITAGE AND ITS CONNECTION TO NATURE.
This heritage cabin in the woods is truly a sanctuary. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWDEN HOMES
THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATION and architectural evolution of The Sanctuary, a 1960s legacy cabin set high on Independence Pass, make it a property that could never be replicated in the 21st century.
The setting is idyllic: The cabin is built into a hillside of pine on 10-plus acres above the valley floor. Endless views of North Star Nature Preserve stretching to the Continental Divide fill the floor-to-ceiling windows. “The land is captivating. From this secluded perch, you look out over open green space and you don’t see another home,” says Bob Bowden, founder of Bowden Homes, the luxury home developer and builder in Aspen that’s remodeling the property. “It’s stunning.”
The original stone fireplaces and wood-paneled ceilings will be incorporated into the home’s updated interior design. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWDEN HOMES
But the views are only half the story. The 5,750-square-foot ranch-style cottage is set on land with two free-flowing, year-round streams. One of the waterways literally cascades beneath the cabin.
Like other homes built in the ’60s and with several different owners, The Sanctuary was built in an ad-hoc fashion. Over the decades, a wing was added, a private two-bedroom guest suite was constructed over the three-car garage and that space was connected to the four-bedroom main house by a covered walkway. The floor plan meanders organically through the landscape. “It has this wonderful dynamic roofline,” Bowden says. “It rambles a bit, but in a comfortable way.”
Bowden Homes is in the midst of a full interior renovation of the property and enlisted Habitat Studio to head up the interior design. “Our focus is opening up the home to create a connection between the indoor and outdoor environments,” says Habitat founder Tim Sack. The existing single-level floor plan and building envelope will be preserved and much of the existing architectural forms and volumes will remain intact, including the wood-paneled pitched ceilings and the two existing stone fireplaces crafted out of river rock.
The existing floor plan meanders organically across the hillside. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWDEN HOMES
“With the prevalence of water on the grounds, we are paying particular attention to the placement of operable windows to allow for the soothing sound of the running water to carry through the entire home,” Sack says. The design will also be oriented to capture the views from every angle.
“Our design aesthetic will take direct cues from the natural surroundings, balancing in hues of green and tan alongside natural woods and raw stone,” Sack says. Larger furnishings like sofas and beds will be custom-made to accommodate the existing floor plan, while accessory pieces like chairs and tables will be sourced from antique shops. “It will have a similar vibe to what they’ve done up at Kevin Costner’s Dunbar ranch,” Bowden says.
The home’s layout makes it perfect for hosting overnight guests, who can stay in the private guest quarters, set off from the main house. But when it’s time to gather, the large wraparound deck affords views of Aspen’s slopes. If skiing’s on the agenda, or maybe just window shopping downtown, you can be at gondola plaza in seven and a half minutes.
Floor-to-ceiling windows capture endless views. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWDEN HOMES
With water features framed by sculpted stone terraces, an organic floor plan and cozy interiors that connect to the outdoors, this cabin in the woods will retain its charming 1960s cottage feel. “We’re going to do everything we can to enhance and celebrate the land and the water,” Bowden says.
Located at 44481 Highway 82 in Aspen, The Sanctuary is currently listed for $19.9 million, and the renovation is slated for completion in summer 2024. Bob Bowden, Bowden Homes, bowdencustomhomes.com; Habitat Studio, inyourhabitat.com.