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IT'S HARD TO PINPOINT exactly when living in exotic locales with regular side trips to Europe and Southeast Asia gets to be too much, but somewhere between London and Tokyo, John and Annemarie Jodlowski knew it was time to come home. But where home would be was not as easy a decision. John, who grew up in Chicago, was clear about his desire to live in the mountains, while Annemarie professed, "I'm from a small farm town, and I was taken aback at the thought of leaving the city. After visiting an array of places in Utah, Idaho and Colorado, they found one town that sparked their souls.
"Telluride is small but has a cosmopolitan flair, and it's a destination resort with lots going on, says John, an independent options trader. His wife was equally enticed by the year-round tourist activities and the possibility of putting her marketing degree to work for the town's renowned film festival. The thought of world-class skiing at Telluride Mountain Resort, just a few miles from their front door, sealed the deal.
After dismissing downtown housing—"Everything's too close together, saysAnnemarie—the search for the perfect place to build ended at a two-acre site in Telluride's Ski Ranches development, located on the back side of the resort. Just10 minutes from town and even fewer from the gondola, the treed property at the end of a cul-de-sac had another bonus: It backed onto an open-space park, guaranteeing unfettered vistas.
By the time they hired architect Bruce Wright, John and Annemarie had two small children and another one on the way. Their growing family swayed them to go with an open floor plan, but their desire for an "uncluttered, modern, sparse look was a direct result of their years in Asia. "Log cabins are not our style, says Annemarie. "We wanted a Frank Lloyd Wright—meets-Tokyo look that would highlight the trees outside.
Wright responded with a plan that incorporated the simple, clean lines synonymous with the Arts and Crafts movement with the more practical considerations of maximizing privacy, views and solar potential. "I oriented the house away from the neighbors and made the garage subterranean, so it wouldn't be seen from the road. That way, you would just see a very modest profile of the house, Wright says of the two-story design fashioned from reclaimed wood siding and local Dakota sandstone. The home also takes advantage of passive solar energy. "There are broad overhangs designed to grab sun in winter and filter sun out in summer, the architect says.
Visitors enter through a mudroom with heated concrete floors where, in keeping with the Japanese tradition, they remove their shoes. From there, it's three steps down to the kitchen and dining level and another trio of steps down to the living room and sunroom. "The home stepping down with the land is one of the primary design responses to the site, which slopes radically to the west, Wright explains.
At the homeowner's request, the interior palette was limited to concrete, granite, natural slate, wood and Venetian plaster walls. "I don't like houses where there are 15 materials in 15 different rooms, says Annemarie, who made most of the interior decorating decisions. "For the most part I like things monochromatic and low key, but I do have a passion for red—so there had to be some red in every room.
[NEXT]Throughout the house, the windows and varied ceiling heights are critical design elements. "I made the volume as small as comfortably possible without sacrificing mountain or forest views, says Wright.
Indeed, with greenery visible from just about every window, the effect is akin to living in a luxurious treehouse, and at the end of the day there's no place John and Annemarie would rather be. "It's very inviting, she says. "From the front door you can see the whole space right out to the trees. There's nothing overwhelming. It's just an easy place to live.
Location Telluride, Colo.
Closest skiing Telluride Mountain Resort, a 7-minute drive
Square footage 4,200
Lot size 2.1 acres
Architect Bruce Wright, One Architects Inc., Telluride
Builder Tom Dolezal, Wodehouse Builders, Telluride
Design strategy Harmoniously sited with the landscape, the rooms in the house are located according to natural light and the path of the sun. This passive-solar design cuts down significantly on energy usage, and connects the home to the surrounding wilderness. The home's open floor plan maximizes space for active family life.