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Understated Elegance: Copper is ideal material for Colorado penthouse

The three-bedroom “Heart of Telluride” penthouse is situated between the 75-year-old Nugget movie theater and the119-year-old Sheridan Opera House on Main Street in downtown Telluride, Colo.

Architect Lynn Taylor Lohr, AIA, L. Taylor Lohr Architect PC, Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas-based interior designer Kari Demond, worked hand-in-hand to transform a 1987 hodge-podge commercial building into a premier property that from the outside now fits perfectly into Telluride’s historic Main Street fabric, yet signals a fresh and young vibe with a soft, mountain contemporary interior that is evident the minute you walk through the entry. The goal was to create a nest of beauty that inspires visitors to “grab a book, a special glass of wine and curl up.” Lohr and Demond wanted to do this without bold colors, antler chandeliers, busy prints, predictable architecture,uncomfortable scale or anything jarring. Instead, they created a one-of-a-kind penthouse in serene colors that has an understated elegance with a spectacular rooftop deck with 360-degree views.

The architect utilized approximately 800 square feet (74 m2) of copper from Chicago based Ryerson Inc. throughout the residence, including on the façade’s copper cornices, the penthouse deck’s parapet walls which are clad with simple flat seam copper sheets and parapet cap, in addition to standing-seam copper roofing above the Hope’s steel door bay and the façade’s window bay. Additionally, the rear decks have copper ceiling panels on several levels. Copper details are also located along the interior, including elevator cab walls, curved copper range hood and a curved copper inlaid kitchen island. The home, which features seven custom fireplaces, has one designed by Lohr with a multicurved copper surround that was fabicated by Welfelt Fabrication Inc., Delta, Colo.

“I incorporated copper throughout the building’s interior and exterior features,” Lohr said. “Though not an historic structure, the building resides within the Telluride National Historic Landmark District. The redesign of the front façade complements the architectural character of the surrounding historic structures, while remaining clearly contemporary. The upper cornice and lower belt cornice details are traditional though fabricated in pre-oxidized copper. The cornices will continue to patina naturally.”

The juxtaposition of opposites was a key guiding principle in creating the “Heart of Telluride” penthouse. Rough stonewalls contrast with shimmering silk drapes. Fragile antique beveled glass windows pair with strong Douglas Fir timber beams. Old antique sconces share space with a new contemporary chandelier made entirely out of amber Swarovski crystals. A translucent ribbon staircase melds beautifully with the dense rich hand-scraped walnut floor planks that make up the staircase. Interior curved walls complement the straightness of steel doors, shiny Venetian plaster and banded copper shingles that comprise the interior surface of the massive outdoor living area. The goal of juxtaposing ancient and modern can even be felt when standing on the penthouse’s outdoor deck, which features a high-tech hot tub.

“It was our architect’s idea to incorporate copper on our magnificent rooftop deck. We hesitated at first because of the cost, but sh convinced us that copper would be the ideal material to give us the look we wanted: understated elegance,” said Katrine and Bill Form by,the owners.

“All copper has a natural, subtle preoxidized finish, so Telluride’s dramatic scenery can be the focal point,” Lohr said.

Heart of Telluride Penthouse, Telluride, Colo.

Owners: Katrine and Bill Formby
Architect: L. Taylor Lohr Architects PC, Portland, Ore.
Interior designer: Kari Demond, Austin, Texas
Fabricator/installer: Welfelt Fabrication Inc., Delta, Colo.
Copper: Ryerson Inc., Chicago,