The mountain home is evolving and now brings the outdoors inside rather than providing a shield to the high alpine environment. Although modern design elements have developed a reputation for being harsh, stark, and sleek, the modern mountain aesthetic creates balance in its juxtaposition and is not only warm and inviting, but also homey.
Back in the day, homebuilders and architects used only the local resources at their disposal in creating homes. Inevitably this meant homes were mostly made from large wood logs with dark interiors that provided warmth, shelter, and protection.
Today’s advancements in technology and the transportation of resources have invited interior designers and architects to be more creative in designing mountain homes while still providing the shelter, warmth, and security pivotal to living in a mountain climate.
Elements of this modern mountain aesthetic include:
- Bringing the outdoors in. The general architecture of modern mountain homes have open, airy floor plans that accommodate large windows that minimize one’s awareness of a separation between “inside” and “outside” while also providing a great source of natural light. The outdoors also come in with innovative design pieces, like a mirror lined with wood-inspired tiles.
- Warm and expansive outdoor areas. After all, the people who live in the mountains want to enjoy the fresh air and beauty from their home outside as well as in. Cool alpine evenings can easily be enjoyed with the installation of small, hidden radiant heaters that are strategically placed to only heat the people who gather on a patio rather than the surrounding air. Outdoor fireplaces are also a beautiful, functional design component that are found on many home patios.
- Local (often recycled) materials. Beetle kill wood, native timber, local quarry stones, and recycled glass or barn wood is often incorporated into the modern mountain home’s architectural and interior aesthetic design elements.
- Oversized windows and doors that bring natural sunlight into the home and provide magnificent views of surrounding landscapes and mountain ranges.
- Clean, simplistic lines and designs. Minimal trim and hardwood floors with lots of glass and steel elements to contrast some of the heavier design elements create balance.
- Concrete countertops. These are increasingly chosen over granite countertops for many reasons. Not only does it come at a lower price point, but concrete is also stain resistant, offers endless customization options (unlimited color options, it can be morphed into any shape with any kind of edge, and can be personalized with embedded items like seashells, glass, or pebbles), and it gains character over time because it is not a static material.
- Lighter color palettes that complement the heavier wood and stone design elements to create warmth and balance. Gray, taupe, brown and cream colors are prevalent in modern mountain homes, which provides opportunity to add character with smaller accents that can be swapped out seasonally.
This design and architectural aesthetic is not only prevalent in newer construction of homes, but it is also transforming the inside of established log homes. By extending the mountain lifestyle into the homes of those who live and love it here, a homeowner’s desire to connect with the surrounding environment is fulfilled in a whole new way.