Sunday night while in Aspen, I went to a party hosted by a guy whose family made a fortune from spaghetti sauce in a jar. My coworker Sarah and I tagged along with our client to a gathering of random people. We met cousins of Jarred Sauce guy, and a sprinkle of eccentric, wealthy people who spend their time between Aspen, New York and Palm Springs.
Just out of the ritzy part of town, we wound down leafy roads to a folksy iron gate at the property edge. A path wound over a wooden footbridge to a sprawling log cabin nestled around a pond. The lights were on and the door was thrown open.
A few steps through the Entry Hall, and you arrived in the Living Room, with its enormous vaulted ceiling and two working fireplaces. Legally, you're only allowed to build gas fireplaces in Aspen. These were beautiful, real, wood burning fireplaces that must have been a part of an existing house.
The larger fireplace had mantle about 20 feet long, made up of random grey stones. There was a firebox in the middle, and two openings to either side, each stacked with firewood. The mantle went all the way up to the ceiling, and across it, about 8 feet up, was a huge grey timber with an antique shotgun mounted to the front.
Littering the walls of the room were beautiful objects - wood skiis, snow shoes, deer antlers and wrought iron. There were five or six bedrooms (I lost count) that wound their way around the site, a breezeway, an open kitchen, and a game room with a full bar. An outdoor jacuzzi near the Master Bedroom suite faced a brook that ran under the house. Karen and I have seen a lot of fancy houses between us, but this one had a unique rustic charm. We both couldn't stop saying 'Wow.'
I usually take pictures of everything I can, but that night, after a very long day of travel and work over the client's dining room table, we were camera-less. Besides, it would have been bad form to take pictures. We spent the evening standing conveniently close to the homemade tortilla chips and guacamole, margaritas in hand.
And at the end of the evening, we bid our host good night. He pointed to the tattered doormat. 'That's what a bear done,' he said. 'You can't have handles on your doors cuz they're so smart, they'd walk right into your house'.
Darkness stretched on beyond the little footbridge to the car somewhere ahead. I took a breath. 'Okay Sarah, you go first.'
Photo by Penny Sanford Porcelains. For more great images, click here.