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A River Runs Through It

coldwell banker mason morse

150 Difficult Ln Exterior

A river originates from a small stream, usually on high ground, and gradually expands the farther it flows. You might say the same is true for great design: it starts as a concept, the flickering spark of an idea within the expanse of an architects mind, and expands into a vast, material monument of wood, steel and stone. This was the case for Morningstar, a modern farmhouse set along Aspens Roaring Fork River and recently brought to market by Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate.

Someone is going to buy this house because of its design, and the river is an added bonus, concludes Wells. You can picnic on the private beach you own on the bank of the Roaring Fork River. You can raft, kayak, hike. Morningstar offers that beloved Aspen lifestyle.

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Designed by Zone 4 Architects and built by Brikor Associates, the 5,126-square-foot residence was patterned after old European farm structures with a contemporary twist, describes Wells. Architects Bill Pollock and Dylan Johns were commissioned by their clienta London-based couplewith the task of making the buildings look like they had been rediscovered and renovated using the materials in place. The inspiration for the house design began with the concept of finding a historic group of structures on the site, and whatever modern interventions were made to those buildings to update them would be expressed in a more contemporary language of concrete, steel and glass. recalls Johns.

Pollock and Johns programmed the house around four distinct podsa central core great room, a master wing, a guest wing and a garage. Punctuated by strong angles, stone bases, barn wood siding and copper roofs, each building blurs the line between rustic and modern. Inside the great room pod (which includes the living room, kitchen and dining room), for example, a minimalist custom-stacked steel panel fireplace and Bulthaup kitchen contrast with dry-stacked stone walls and reclaimed timbers. Expansive glass hallwaysanother modern touchlead from the great room to the bedroom pods. The adjacent dining room also features a dramatic wine storage wall.

The same level of modern that can be found in the kitchen is not carried through the entirety of the house, but there are very clear instances of the modern intervention theme throughout, notes Johns.

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Living Room

The home engages with its alpine setting at every turn. Walls of glass in the great room open to a large outdoor terrace. (Even the landscaping, designed by Richard Camp, was designed to fluidly intertwine with its surroundings, thanks to stone retaining walls that define outdoor spaces and mimic the riverbanks.) A 10-foot-high wall separating the living room from the kitchen lets in just enough natural light, yet leaves visitors desiring more as they walk through the house. Explains Pollock: We wanted a more Zen feelingalmost delayed gratificationwhere you enter the space and then have that moment of experiencing the view. Almost every room in the house directs its view to Independence Pass, something the owners were passionate about incorporating into the design. Recalls Johns: They wanted their home to connect to the land. Adds Wells: A serene, bucolic feel permeates every space in the house. You can look out over river to the snow-capped mountain peaks. And yet, the vistas are very private.

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Master Bedroom

If there is any question of this claim, one only needs to look to the master suite. Its quietly elegant barn wood detailing, fireplace, calming neutral color palette and views of the river have earned it praise in the design world from websites such as Houzz. In 2014, the house itself was named in Houzzs Design Workshop: Materials That Tell a Story, and the master bedroom was featured in Dream Spaces: Bedrooms with Amazing Views. The house was also featured in the May 2014 issue of Luxe magazine. The lighting designby Robert Singer & Associatesalso won in the Residential category of the SOURCE Awards competition by Eaton's Cooper Lighting business.

Its hard to imagine this custom four-bedroom, four-bath house was once only a tiny vision, brought to life on blueprint before reaching its final resting place at Roaring Fork River. There is a very fine line between good design and great design, but the difference is the creation of something memorable and meaningful. Morningstar has achieved both. By Alyson Baumbach

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