Coming Home: A Family of ‘Nomads’ Finds Their Dream House, and Transforms it Into a Stunning Home

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Coming Home: A Family of ‘Nomads’ Finds Their Dream House, and Transforms it Into a Stunning Home

By Erin Spillane

The Clients | Jason Slosberg & Hannah Richman

Jason Slosberg and Hannah Richman describe themselves as nomads, and it’s not hard to see why. Over the years, the couple, together with their two boys, Caleb, 14, and Maddox, 12, have hung their hats in New Jersey, California, a 400-square-foot sailboat in the Mediterranean, Hawaii and New Jersey (again). In that time, they also visited Telluride regularly and found that no matter where in the world they were, they couldn’t quite shake the mountain resort town located high in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.

“When our kids were young, about 10 years ago, we spent a summer here and we just fell in love,” Hannah says. “We had this realization that we really wanted to be here.”

Adds Jason, “We travel a lot and no matter where we ended up, we said to ourselves ‘this is clearly one of our favorite places and we always want to have this as a permanent base, a place to come to’.”

So, Jason and Hannah set about finding a Telluride property that, initially at least, was intended to serve as a vacation home. Working with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty broker Banks Brown, Jason came to town and the pair spent a weekend tooling around the area, checking out properties. While Banks took Jason to homes in the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, it was the Aldasoro Ranch neighborhood that had intrigued Jason and Hannah most. Located about 4 miles west of Telluride, the area comprises the historic ranchlands of the Aldasoro family, Basque shepherds who emigrated from Spain during the area’s mining heyday of the early 1900s, and whose descendants still live locally. One of the listings there that Banks showed Jason was a large 1990s log structure. Notes Jason, “This was one of the first houses built in Aldasoro, so it has a prime location.”

He’s not kidding. Perched on the uppermost reaches of Aldasoro Boulevard, which wends its way up Deep Creek Mesa to the foot of dramatic, 13,000-foot Campbell Peak, part of the Sneffels Range, the property juts from a steep slope, providing for jaw-dropping views south across the San Miguel Valley to the Wilsons, a picturesque range of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks that includes iconic Wilson Peak, which appears in the Coors logo. Just as good, the pair had friends living in the Aldasoro Ranch development.

“I knew that this was the one,” Jason recalls, with Hannah adding that when Jason sent her the property’s address, she promptly searched for it on Google Maps. Once she saw its location, she says, she too knew it was exactly what they wanted.

The house had its issues, though. The structure and its interiors were dated and, unbelievably, failed to take advantage of those breathtaking views. “It had one small window in the dining room and that was it,” recalls Jason of the house’s south-facing side.

Favorite Spaces

For Jason, a self-described serial entrepreneur, the great room, with its soaring ceiling height and wonderful views, is his most favorite space. But tied for first, he admits, is the decadent outdoor shower, cleverly placed just outside the shower in the master bath. It’s also a tie for Hannah, whose professional life has focused on education reform and who currently serves locally on the board of Telluride Academy and as treasurer of the Telluride Education Foundation. She loves the kitchen, a sleek but warm family gathering spot that forms the heart of the home, as well as the loft where her office is located. From her desk there, Hannah looks across the great room to, you guessed it, those jaw-dropping views.

The pair, though, were undaunted, having in the past successfully completed an extensive, museum-quality restoration of a dilapidated Georgian Revival home in Montclair, N.J. “We’re not shy about doing the work,” says Jason. With Banks, he did a second walk-through and began to envision a substantial project, in particular on the house’s south side. “I said to Banks, ‘I just want to rip this whole side of the house off and eliminate any barrier between the interior and those views.’ ”

An experienced broker who has lived in Telluride for more than 35 years, Banks had just the team in mind. “Banks said, ‘I’ve got a guy’,” recalls Hannah.

Adds Jason, “We knew we wanted something really cutting edge, really creative, not conservative at all. We wanted to do something totally different, really edgy, and we wanted to find that juxtaposition of very modern and slick and sexy, but keeping the natural elements, like some of the wood. We wanted to keep the character of the house, but enhance it and open it to those views.”

Enter Narcis Tudor, a Telluride-based, award-winning architect, whose vision, it turns out, matched well with Jason and Hannah’s aesthetic. In-demand local contractor Ian Evans also came onboard, also a recommendation from Banks and friends. What followed was a gut renovation and transformation of their home, a project that began in 2017 and which took more than three years to complete thanks in part to the pandemic, but also to the complexity of the work. It was during those three years that Jason and Hannah realized that they didn’t just want a vacation home, but rather a full-time family home in a community they loved.

It’s just as well, because the transformation is astonishing. The project included incorporating steel framing inside the original all-log structure, in some instances replacing log supports altogether, as well as removing interior log walls in favor of bigger, airier spaces, and, crucially, the removal of the entire south-facing façade for floor-to-ceiling glass and steel. It has also seen the evolution of the property into a beautiful, welcoming, modern family home, at one with the natural environment and whose design blends those jaw-dropping views seamlessly with the interiors, providing its inhabitants with a sense of place at every turn.

And now? “We love it, we just love it,” says Hannah. Adds Jason, “It’s heaven.”

The Contractor | Ian Evans

Implementing the vision for the house fell to Ian Evans, a highly regarded local contractor who says his initial work was ensuring that the ambitious plan put before him was achievable. “Jason and Hannah were so excited and it all sounded incredible,” Ian recalls. “I told them I wanted in and that we would work together to get it done.”

With that, Ian and his team set to work. “We started at the dining room and worked our way from east to west, across the great room and into the main bedroom and bathroom.” The task was complex. “We would bring in pieces of steel and big timbers to support the roof, which was never touched, and then we came in with chainsaws and just started eliminating the exterior log walls. We had to do it in sections and make sure we had supports in place.”

Evans points to the expertise of Tom Bennett, owner of Ridgway-based Bennett Forgeworks. “They deserve a ton of credit. We would open up each new area and then Bennett and his team would come in and assemble the steel structure.” With the steel in place, the glass could be installed. “We just worked like this across the entire south elevation of the house. It was time consuming, it was challenging, but we never ran into anything that we couldn’t overcome. It was a very exciting project. Once we were through this technically challenging part, the rest was just making the home beautiful.”

Looking back on this project, Ian praises Jason and Hannah, who have since become close friends. “It took a lot of patience, a lot of trust, a lot of vision to achieve what they achieved. A project like this takes the right client — and they were the right client.”

The Architect | Narcis Tudor

Narcis Tudor’s involvement with the project got off to an inauspicious start. “It was a log home and as such there is not much you can do with them,” the architect recalls. “I often want to say ‘just buy a match, light it up and build upon its ashes’.” Narcis remembers that he agreed to stop by the property on the way to another meeting, but that he was in “no mood”. “I wasn’t interested,” he says. “I basically said, ‘Here is what I would do: I would cut the house in half and open the southern portion towards the views with steel and glass.’ I dropped this bomb and then I left, hoping Jason would be discouraged.”

Jason wasn’t discouraged, though. In fact, he was intrigued enough to call Narcis back a few days later to say he wanted to hear more. “I have to give the guy kudos. I like to think that I have great vision and that my dreams and inspiration are in the stratosphere, where very few people relate. Surprisingly Jason respected that and said ‘let’s do it’.”

Rolling up his sleeves, Narcis considered the house in more detail. “The good things about it were the location and layout, but it was built like a fortress. The general feeling was very dungeon-like with small punched windows and interior log walls breaking up the spaces.” Narcis quotes the Italian sculptor Michelangelo, who once said of his statue of David that all he did was remove the marble that was unnecessary. Narcis set about removing the unnecessary “marble” in Jason and Hannah’s home, seeking to both respect and deconstruct the original design while blending it with new technology.

But how? “Log homes are basically building blocks,” Narcis explains. “They took 10-inch logs with one-inch chinking, and put them together like a Lego set. I said, ‘Now, I need to come up with my own box of Legos’.” The result? Steel channels that were 10 inches tall with a one-inch gap. “I now had the rhythmic building components that echoed the logs. Opening up the spaces by replacing the heavy logs with the steel members that were thinner, linear, sexier and less organic — we expanded the views to the exterior and increased the natural light to the interior. After this, it was a matter of carrying everything through, blending it together in order to create a level of harmony.”

To ensure that harmony, the steel, which was painted black, the expansive glass, the older, greying logs, fresh white oak flooring and warming walnut accents were all incorporated to work with the natural light that was now flooding the interior space. “The only way we could use that palette is because of the generous natural light,” Narcis notes. “It is an unobtrusive, clean palette and my goal was to let Hannah and Jason, Maddox and Caleb let their personalities warm up the rest of it.”

Talk to those involved in this project and it becomes clear that central to the success of this ambitious design was the close, mutually respectful relationship between Narcis and Jason (“Those two were completely in synch,” says contractor Ian Evans. Says Jason, “I got him and I think he got me.”)

“It was always going to be a challenge,” Narcis says. “But we had a great team and Jason had the bravery — and vision of his own — to trust me. I love that guy more than he realizes; both he and Hannah. That’s the real success story.”

 

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