Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, this home is no 10-foot by 15-foot cottage in the woods. Aptly dubbed the Walden House, 705 Whiskey Ridge in Edwards, Colorado sits on 70 acres and was built in 2009 by George Schaeffer, now Shaeffer Hyde Construction. Designed by award-winning architect Annabelle Selldorf, the Walden House embodies the spirit of Thoreau’s original Walden cabin by integrating seamlessly with its stunning natural environment.
New York–based, German-born architect Annabelle Selldorf, along with her firm Selldorf Architects, is perhaps best known for her work on David Zwirner’s 20thStreet Gallery in New York, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, and her firm’s current project, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. Known for a restrained, understated modernist style, Selldorf understands the importance of pairing humanist design with a sensitivity to enduring impact.
The Walden House is situated in West Lake Creek and surrounded by National Forest with views of Vail’s Gore Range and the New York Mountain Range. Partially a ranch-style home, this seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom work of art also features a three-story tower that looks out over the property’s pond. Accessed by a private floating dock, the pond is ideal for a number of outdoor activities: settle in for a morning of fishing in the summer or bundle up for an afternoon of ice skating in the winter. The exterior of the house is constructed with locally-sourced beetle-kill pine for a unique log-house style effect, which is accented with copper shingles and Anasazi silver stone.
The home’s sleek, modern interior is warmed with wood-paneled ceilings and dark, stained-wood doors, and kept bright and airy by fresh white walls. The neutral tones are balanced by pops of vibrant color in the royal blue closet doors and aqua-tiled bathing nooks.
Enter the dining room and for a transcendent experience: the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows and patio doors ensure that diners are in direct conversation with nature no matter the season. Unique touches like Moroccan-style hanging lamps give the space an eclectic, worldly feel, and elegant, mid-century modern furnishings keep the focus on the food, the company, and the view. The kitchen is a chef’s dream with a butcher-block-topped island and contemporary stove range hood. Hanging copper lamps softly illuminate the space and echo the copper detailing of the exterior.
The home’s living spaces surround an interior courtyard, greenery visible from nearly every vantage point. Large, wooden-framed picture windows wrap around the home to highlight the property’s lush grounds, expertly planned by landscape designer Edwina von Gal. The sleek fireplace and heated floors keep the great room cozy and welcoming through the winter, and there is no shortage of corners for quiet contemplation.
This sense of tranquility extends to the bedrooms, which look out across the pond and the mountain ranges beyond. Settle in with a good book on a long, built-in window seat, or indulge in a luxurious soak in one of the deep tubs—the well-appointed bathrooms flooded with natural light.
Once outside, find a perfect patch of sunlight in one of the many lounge areas, carefully laid out for entertaining or moments of solo reclining. A rectangular, contemporary pool is the ideal spot for summertime laps and sunbathing, and the adjacent glass-encased fitness center inspires an active lifestyle year-round. The property is surrounded by a nine-mile network of private and semi-private trails, and the world-class ski slopes of Beaver Creek and Vail Village are temptingly close by.
The Walden House is both an architectural marvel and serene mountain retreat, guaranteeing its inhabitants a one-of-a-kind Colorado experience. This home is truly a world away from it all, far surpassing the quaint literary cabin that inspired it.
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