Project Spotlight – Independence Retreat

Just in case you missed this award winning project…a look back at an Aspen retreat we designed for one amazing California family. Formerly a parking lot, the circular building site is shared with an adjacent home and guest house. In order to effectively fit the three structures, great thought was given to the positioning of the homes to maximize views, solar orientation, passive ventilation and afford them their desired privacy.

Clear Douglas Fir Beams integrated with steel gussets and knife plates are suspended from the vertical grain Cedar ceiling. Steel paneled interior columns with custom designed steel screws are seen throughout the home.

Continuing the warm yet contemporary feel, architectural grade stained concrete, glass, steel, efficient appliances, and passive solar and ventilation lend to the Owner’s program: providing generous entertaining spaces, comfortable guest suites, a contemporary mountain feel which speaks to its greater surroundings and respects the environment we live in. This home has won three prestigious architecture awards for design.

How do you like it?

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Creating the Ideal Master Suite

Working with a client to design their master suite is often one of our favorite design exercises. To start, we talk about how the client lives. Do they prefer the master suite to be central to the home, or perhaps in a wing or “pod” on its own. Some other topics we discuss are:

  • Does the client wish for an office space or sitting room in conjunction?
  • Is there an opportunity for an outdoor terrace or garden?
  • Does the client want one common bath area, or two separate spaces?
  • Where are the views?
  • How does the light filter in at various times of day?
  • How lighting, ventilation and technology come into play.
  • Does the client want a television – and if so, should it be concealed?
  • What type of furnishings do they wish to have in the room?
  • Does the client want one central closet or his & her closets?
  • Would the client like to include a washer/dryer in the closet?
  • How much storage should we plan for?
  • Does the client have any art pieces or antiques that should be worked into the space?

As designers we want to carefully design master suites, since its where our clients are able to retreat, to rejuvenate, and to rest. Lets face it – we can always use more sleep! Here are some of our favorite designs. For more master suite ideas, visit our Spaces page and come see us when you’re ready to design your personal retreat.







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Fourteen Sixty

We are in the final stages of an incredible new project in Aspen, that we cannot wait to show you. Until then a little sneak peek…


Anchoring the home it its site, a sandstone wall parallels the Rio Grande River and beautifully intersects the entire length of the home. No maintenance materials and glass form the exterior, allowing the sights and sound of the river to be experienced from every room. The bold forms, floating staircase, sculpture gardens, clerestory windows and 900 sq ft outdoor living spaces, make this home enjoyable during all four seasons in Aspen. We look forward to sharing this project with you this summer.

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Google Submits Incredibly Innovative Plans for New Campus

Blurring the line between buildings and nature, Google is set to change the world of architecture with their newly designed campus. Imagine being a City Council member in Mountain View, California and being charged with reviewing the plans.


Image by Google

Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Thomas Heatherwick, large translucent canopies will cover the sites. Inside Google will use movable walls to construct the buildings; allowing buildings to change shape as they develop new and innovative products. Inside the canopies, the sites will be beautifully landscaped with pathways, trees, gardens, bridges and cafes.

“Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas,” David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president of real estate, said in a blog post Friday. “Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air.”

For a first-hand look, check out their video here – its beyond fascinating!


Image by Google

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30 Bathrooms in 30 Seconds

Looking for some inspiration for your bath design? There’s no telling how many bathrooms we have actually designed, but here is a snippet of some of our favorites. Hidden televisions, views captured, heated surfaces, floating tubs, clever organization….we’ve done it all! We’re excited to show you some of the newly designed baths we’ve got in the works. Stay tuned.


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Architects Study Co-Housing in Europe

Its always inspiring to hear how Architects are designing for today’s needs in new and different ways. There was a great piece on this morning’s NPR broadcast about two young Architects who won a competition to re-imagine the Alfafar suburb in Valencia, Spain, based on an earlier thatched housing housing model  in rural India’s. In another story in rural England, people are sharing a central living room and kitchen at Threshhold Centre at Cole Street Farm. Its “assisted living” in a different outlook. Have a listen, its quite interesting learning about the new ways of co-sharing extra rooms needed at different times in one’s lifespan – and the great food that can go along with it!


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Take a Look Inside our Studio

Have you ever been curious what exactly goes on in an architecture firm? Take a peek inside our studio, recently named Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work. Our office is comprised of three levels, and is smack dab in the middle of downtown Aspen, Colorado. Just a few blocks from Aspen Mountain and across from the new Aspen Art Museum, our crew of 20 is hard at work.

With weekly meetings to review project schedules and deadlines, Beer:30’s to enjoy a little camaraderie, birthday lunches and design charrettes – we have a lot of fun while designing many of Aspen’s most beautiful structures. Working in teams, our projects benefit from a small group of individuals with the expertise and experience required by the high level of design. Charles is involved in every project, whether a large commercial project, residential remodel, a public space or small addition. He enjoys all facets of the design process and we often wonder how he fits it all into one day.

clc.standing pit richjim

For more on our studio, check out our website!

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Get to Know: Aspen Art Museum

HVYvPn2VThere are a lot or reasons to live in the City of Aspen, which can be found nestled in the Elk Mountains. There is the distinctive mountain landscape and surrounding countryside, plus the fantastic sporting opportunities available in the area. Another benefit of the Aspen area, somewhat overlooked, is its cultural opportunities.

In particular, Aspen Art Museum offers exhibitions that focus on the cutting-edge with an international bent.

The museum offers a wide variety of exhibits and events to satisfy art lovers of every stripe.

For more information on this and other great reasons to live in the Aspen area, please contact us at Charles Cunniffe Architects. We are available online or you can reach us directly at 888-457-6919.

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No Mountain Home Is Complete Without the Right Fireplace

Picture the perfect day at your mountain home. You spend a full day skiing outdoors, you jump in the hot tub to recharge your muscles, and then you grab a blanket and snuggle up in front of your fireplace with a cup of hot cider in hand. Notice anything in the picture? Could this day have been complete without the ideal fireplace.

We think the planning of a true mountain home isn’t thorough without these stone fireplace designs in mind:

  • Linear fireplaces are a contemporary way to illuminate a room and are also great for tighter spaces.
  • For a more rustic appeal, stacked-stone fireplaces are the perfect choice. An oversized fireplace immediately becomes the focal point of any room.
  • A dark fireplace nicely contrasts with light decor and neutral features, such as a cream-colored furnishings.
  • Outdoor fireplaces are ideal for enjoying the scenery. Any type of stone naturally compliments its surroundings.

For more information on designing the perfect fireplace in your home, please contact us at Charles Cunniffe Architects. We are dedicated to quality architecture and design.

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Get to Know: Challenge Aspen

Get to Know: Challenge Aspen

Challenge Aspen gives the disabled a fun chance to reconnect with nature. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2011, Charles Cunniffe Architects had the honor of working with this Challenge Aspen to design their 40-acre Wilderness Ranch, created to provide a state-of-the-art wilderness experience for individuals with disabilities, as well as their families.

Challenge Aspen is, as they describe themselves, “dedicated to impacting lives by presenting meaningful recreational, educational and cultural experiences to individuals faced with cognitive or physical challenges.”

The group got their start in the early-1990s through the shared vision of co-founders Houston Cowan and Amanda Boxtel. Cowan’s goal was to teach blind people how to ski. Boxtel, who became paralyzed from the waist down after a tragic Snowmass Mountain skiing accident, was committed to teaching and working with children.

Together, with the help of countless investors and volunteers, they have built Challenge Aspen into the internationally recognized organization it is today. Hosting a variety of camps, in both summer and winter, the highly trained and certified employees and volunteers at Challenge Aspen broaden the horizons of individuals with disabilities of all ages. We are proud to support this outstanding non-profit organization!

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