[Decor] The chic ski resort of CHARLOTTE MOSS
When Colorado comes to mind, most people conjure visions of sparkling streams filled with rainbow trout and lodgelike houses dressed in Western gear. Well, that latter bit of geographic reverie can be dropped once you cross the threshold of Charlotte Moss’s hideaway in Aspen. As could be expected from an interior designer who blends French, English, and American influences into gracious backgrounds for elegant living, there is nothing here a cowboy would recognize. “You decorate the way you decorate, wherever you might live,” Moss explains. “Some people do the whole Western thing and it looks fantastic; I don’t.”
The Manhattan-based designer and her husband, Barry Friedberg, an investment banker, are longtime Aspen residents. A few years ago, a large house on a cul-de-sac came on the market, and Moss urged her husband to take a look. He resisted, as she knew he would—after all he was perfectly comfortable in their current abode—but she had a trump card: “This one has a view that will take your breath away,” Moss told him. Friedberg came, he saw, and he was conquered. Perched on a rocky escarpment, the house looked straight onto Aspen Mountain, an 11,212-foot-high peak shadowed by bald eagles. Four days later, they owned it.
Now decorated to Moss’s satisfaction, the five-bedroom house has become a beloved seasonal retreat for the couple and multitudes of guests. “I’m a big homebody, and the public spaces in our previous house were just not conducive to entertaining in a big way,” says Moss, who hosts a huge barbecue buffet once a year for 50 people.
The decoration here is as cozy and laid-back as its hostess’s down-home approach to entertaining. Some dark-wood ceilings were lightened with Venetian plaster, and dark beams were painted a soft cream, so now sunlight sets all the rooms gently aglow. Flowered chintz curtains are balanced with gutsy tapestry chairs, and smart stripes are paired with sensual paisley patterns. Some of the four guest rooms are feminine, while others—like the Napoléon-flavored Empire room—have a more masculine slant. And the centerpiece of the master bedroom is an adaptation of one of her idols’ creations: an iron canopy bed inspired by one designed by 1960s style icon Pauline de Rothschild.
The combined effect of this splendor is like an aristocratic family’s historic chalet transported from the Alps to the Rockies. It’s not the way things are usually done in Colorado, but as Moss declares, one’s taste remains constant, whatever the location.