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Steamboat Magazine

Modern Interiors

12/01/2006 01:00AM ● By Kelly Silva

Winter 2006:

Modern Interiors

by Kelly Silva

  Clean lines, less clutter. If you look closely, the detail lies within the lack thereof. The misconception of what defines modern interior design tends to hurt its reputation. So let’s set the record straight: modern isn’t limited to sterile spaces filled with steel and concrete, or funky lamp shapes and crazy sofa patterns. Really, modern interior design just means clean and simple – less fuss, less detail and more solid surfaces. “Modern design doesn’t mean it’s going to be cold and edgy,” says Leslie Borstad, owner of Silver Creek Design. Yampa-Living.jpg While resort towns often embrace a predominant theme style, local designers understand that many want something different from the mountain look. Updating a living room may mean trading in the nail-studded leather couch for a micro suede sofa, but it doesn’t mean you need to throout the family heirlooms.   Designers say it’s fine to add an element of tradition. But be very aware of where you set things – placement is key. “An old piece stuck in the middle of a contemporary house is really effective,” says interior designer Nancy Jeffrey of Acanthus Design. Bruce Caplowe, owner of downtown stores Zing and Atmosphere, says a more sophisticated look may mean getting rid of that wall full of family photos. And, yes, even the Steamboat barn poster. Not every item you own needs to be seen in the house all the time. Bruce suggests changing out items every so often to give your home a fresh aura. Jerry Kozatch of Ambiente says contemporary is more practical for a lot of people here. “As we go further into the 2000 years, furnishings of the old West will look more and more strange.”   Whatever the neo-design aspects used in primary and secondary residences in Steamboat, one thing remains true: the simpler the detail, the cleaner the look. Nooks and crannies or a showroom of various materials are not ideal modern design aspects. Nancy and business partner Mary Litterman recently built a contemporary spec home in the Sanctuary subdivision. Despite the mountain exterior design, the interior bears a true contemporary ambiance.   Elements like frameless glass, sans trim and floating drywall, create this avant-garde atmosphere. The flat finish of the walls and the lack of baseboards and molding represent a natural, clean look. “Interior finishes have less drama or busyness, which is a framework for other things. Simple things have a lot more presence,” Nancy says. Leslie assures us that we can live comfortably in a modern atmosphere. Many times it’s all about the right colors and textures.   Warm, earth-toned hues create the perfect arena to add a “pop” of color to accent or highlight special features and really liven up the room. Nancy recommends red or plum. Leslie’s most recent project, also in the Sanctuary, has allowed her to floin this contemporary niche. The interior presents soft lighting, unique stone floor patterns and simple hardware; however the exterior represents a classic mountain style. “I see more of a mix – using traditional materials in a neway or nematerials in a traditional way.   It’s a hybrid,” Leslie says. Nancy adds that an element of stone in a contemporary house is a good way to warm it up. Although not necessarily the mainstream material in modern design, wood has always been considered a warm material, one that brings a sense of comfort so relevant in the mountains. Dovetail Designs owner Mike Roach works solely with wood and finds that with various styles and species of wood, he can accommodate his clientele looking for a contemporary design. To create a timeless piece, no matter what the medium or material, simple graceful lines combined with style and function are the focus Mike says. “Our mission is to establish a line of furniture that is transitional, like rustic contemporary.   We want our furniture to be a synthesis of the evolving nestyles of today combined with the techniques of yesterday,” Mike says, commenting on the traditional joinery that signifies dovetail design.Magazines and catalogues are inundated with this contemporary design that many remember from the ‘60s and ‘70s. “This look is just like anything else. Like fashion, like the cars we drive and the clothes we wear. Everything runs in cycles,” Bruce says. Bruce’s rules for redesigning to create a more modern look: “Less is more and clean it up. De-clutter for a first-class look.”