Mountain Modern Design Turns Magical
authors Kim Berndtson | June 14, 2021
Littleton, CO — Other than its scenic views, this 1960’s era residence was relatively unremarkable and featureless, so when Laura Medicus was commissioned to reimagine its interior, she focused on giving it an extraordinary new life centered around a mountain modern design theme.
“The home is perched on the side of a hill in beautiful Morrison (CO),” says the designer/owner of Laura Medicus Interiors in Littleton, CO, who worked in collaboration with West Elevations for the home’s renovation. “While the views were stunning, the interior felt blank.”
In particular, the kitchen was tucked into a corner beneath a bland, drywalled ceiling that, at just under 8′ tall, felt and looked low. Furthermore, its mediocrity was exacerbated by the adjacent newly renovated and impressive double-height living space, which showcases a floor-to-ceiling moss rock fireplace and wall of windows.
“The kitchen opens into the great room, where people are drawn to the beautiful view,” the designer explains. “Conversely, the kitchen wasn’t as fun of a place to be, especially when my clients could be in the great room instead!”
The Fifth Wall
To create a more inviting, complementary kitchen, Medicus began its renovation by cladding the ceiling with tongue and groove aspen from Rocky Mountain Forest Products to give it distinction and serve as a foundation for additional material selections.
“The light-colored wood adds warmth and texture to create a modern, yet cozy space,” she says. “Plus, since we are in Colorado, aspen just makes sense. Once we had the ceiling figured out, the rest of the design fell into place.”
With the ceiling selection made, Medicus turned her attention to the rest of the kitchen. The husband loves to cook and he had a long list of appliances he wanted to incorporate into the medium-sized space, including a 48″ BlueStar dual-fuel Matte Black range with a Zephyr Monsoon II ventilation hood, built-in Miele coffee system, Miele PureLine speed oven and 36″ Sub-Zero refrigerator and 18″ freezer.
“There was a lot to include in a relatively small space,” she reports. “We had to maintain the original footprint…it couldn’t grow at all so it was definitely a challenge to get everything to fit and still give my clients some counter space.”
To accommodate, Medicus created an appliance/cabinetry wall that includes storage, the refrigerator and freezer and wall oven. Paneling the refrigerator and freezer helps disguise the equipment and keeps the wall ‘clean.’
“I’m thrilled we were able to panel most of the appliances,” she continues. “I think the room could have looked really commercial and cold if we had 54″ of stainless steel refrigerator and freezer in it.”
To tackle the always-present dilemma of how to address corners, as well as to provide additional storage for canned goods and small appliances, Medicus created a small step-in pantry concealed behind a door next to the steam oven. Including a second, small door at countertop height gives her clients the ability to easily grab certain pantry items without opening the full-height door. Flip-up hinges from Emtek provide easy access to top-level cabinets, which, like the rest of the kitchen, are ‘decorated’ with Emtek’s Trinity Brass pulls.
Medicus chose to sheath the appliance wall and perimeter cabinetry – which is Woodharbor Custom Cabinetry inset cabinets purchased from Sander & Sons Kitchen and Bath – in Benjamin Moore’s Van Courtland Blue.
“Once we figured we wanted to clad the ceiling with wood tongue and groove, combined with the white oak island, ventilation hood accent trim and floating shelves as well as the preexisting white beams and posts that we covered in white oak, we had a lot of wood tones,” she says. “To offset it all, we wanted to pop it with a fun color. The pale blue/green color also keeps it modern.”
As a complement, the designer incorporated Noir soapstone, from Dorado Soapstone, as a backsplash and perimeter countertop surface.
“My clients told me they loved soapstone, and it’s one of my favorites, too, because you can set a hot pan directly on it without damaging it,” she says. “It’s also antibacterial. And although it can chip and ding, those blemishes aren’t always noticeable…and you can buff them out.”
For the island top – which includes a cutout for the Blanco apron-front sink and Brizo Litze faucet – Medicus selected Blue Marine quartzite.
“It’s simply gorgeous,” she says. “Its brown veining sang with the wood tones used throughout the kitchen, and its blue/gray background coordinated with the painted cabinetry. We were excited to find it.”