How do you transform a dark, dated log cabin into a contemporary retreat? Erinn Morgan discovers a Telluride getaway that combines natural materials, industrial accents and an abundance of glass
When Jeff Moody stumbled upon a “tired, old log cabin” for sale in Telluride’s Mountain Village, he knew it had the makings of a uniquely modern vacation home for his Toronto-based family. Built in 1980, it was one of the only two original log cabins in this enclave. But it had pristine views and spectacular ski-on access located 50 yards from the front door for this ski family.
“It was a weird six-bedroom cabin that looked like a ski dorm,” says Moody. “But it was on a sunny lot with great views and great ski access. We loved the logs and wanted to keep them but give the house a mountain contemporary feeling. So, we tore everything out but the logs; that was the start of it.”
With a fast-paced lifestyle as an executive at a boutique wealth-management firm, Moody savors his time off in the mountains. And, after making the rounds vacationing with his family at the West’s best ski towns, Telluride became the clear favorite.
“It’s a very special place,” Moody says. “We love that the locals and the visitors all get along there. It’s not about ‘What do you do?’ It’s about ‘What did you do today?’” Which is exactly why the Moodys chose Telluride when they decided to set up a more permanent vacation stop. “When I decided to buy something I told the real estate agent to send me everything that no one was interested in,’” says Moody, who was focused on finding a property to remodel into a vacation home that suited his family’s style — and lifestyle.
When they purchased the cabin, the Moodys had also received an architect’s remodel plans for the home. But, when Moody flew into Telluride to look at the plans, he knew they were not heading in the right direction. He then started interviewing architects.
“The house was a real little, simple, single-gable roof structure with logs,” says architect Luke Trujillo, owner of Telluride-based TruLinea Architects. “I remember pulling up to the driveway and thinking ‘Oh, my. Am I really going to interview for this job?’ But it was serendipitous, and I got a client that became a friend.” In fact, Trujillo and Moody recently returned from a motorcycle tour of the Italian Dolomites on Ducatis.
The two also worked well together on the cabin remodel, which was focused on maintaining the character and integrity of the log home while infusing it with a modern, livable look. “We wanted to design a house that was like a watch with hands on it — not a digital watch,” says Trujillo. The project involved adding on a huge wraparound deck on the exterior and building on an entire second floor with a master suite. This brought the original 2,500-square-foot house to 3,200 square feet.
In addition, Moody wanted to open up the dark cabin with lots of windows. “You got inside and all you could see was the log,” he says. “One of our goals was to bring the outside in, see all the views — and when it’s snowing, be a part of the mountains, not in a dark log cabin.”
It is one of this remodel’s defining features. TruLinea designed a unique, contemporary log home with an abundance of glass. The cabin also taps into urbanity with weathered steel interior accents, slate floors, steel beams across all the trusses and a large, steel kitchen commissioned from Aspen.
With the idea of creating a modern family-friendly space, the cabin’s interior was also opened up with a loft- like design. “It’s big and open and airy — and it’s everything you don’t expect from the outside,” Moody says.
Trujillo says this unexpected surprise is his favorite feature of this project. “You pull up on the street and there is this little benign cabin sitting there,” he says. “And, every person that I bring there opens the door, and they say ‘Whoa!’ The best feature is the unexpected.”
Trujillo adds that this home truly fits Jeff and Joanne Moody’s personalities — while they live a high-profile life in Toronto, he says they are “very humble and great, normal folks.”
“The cabin had this great personality for them because it was this humble thing in the middle of all these gargantuan structures in Mountain Village,” Trujillo says. He adds that the overall aesthetic kind of “just happened” through pragmatic decisions about the project’s details. The million-dollar-plus remodel also placed a focus on green building. “We always try to limit waste and also incorporate passive solar and good mechanical and structural systems,” says Trujillo. “We designed the house to last a long time and take a beating from the weather.”
The Moody family also tapped into Telluride-based Studio Frank for their vacation home’s luxe and modern interior design.
As the Moodys have spent more and more time in Telluride — they now vacation there at least two months throughout the year with their two teenage children — they found they needed additional garage space on the home, which originally had a one-car garage. True to form, TruLinea is currently planning a notably unique two-car addition that will be accessed from the home via a tunnel. “We wanted to fit some motorcycles plus we have ATVs and a couple of cars — we just decided we needed the space,” Moody says.
Since the new structure had to be placed away from the house but the Moodys wanted it accessible in all types of weather, they decided to employ a tunnel to connect the two. Two bedrooms will also be built on top of the tunnel. This new addition will bring the home to approximately 5,000 square feet.
But with an eye to more time spent in Telluride during retirement, this addition will come in handy. “Our whole family is a big out- door family. We like to ski, snowshoe, mountain bike and hike,” says Moody. “And, we’ve just fallen in love with Telluride. Now, it really is home.”
Spending a weekend in Telluride this summer? Click here for our ideal itinerary.