For Two Designers, a Onetime Collaboration Wasn’t Sufficient

For Two Designers, a Onetime Collaboration Wasn’t Enough

When Kimille Taylor agreed to design the interior of a house in Telluride, Colorado in 2013, she expected the work to proceed as usual. That was before Ms. Taylor, a New York based designer, met Steve Morton, the local architect who was working on the project.

"We hit it off right away," said Ms. Taylor, 50. "It's been a really good collaboration, professionally."

But when the project – the renovation of a church converted into a residential building – was nearing completion in 2016, their conversations about spatial planning and mill work took a personal turn and they discovered that they shared more than just one passion for design: they were crazy too about each other.

Over the next few years, they dated a long distance relationship and decided in 2018 that it was time to get serious. "Our relationship was really strong at that point," said Mr. Morton, 57. "We started talking about a future together."

For the couple, it meant getting married and buying a house together in Telluride.

Both had children from previous relationships. Ms. Taylor's daughter Georgia is now 11 years old, but Mr. Morton's sons – Mitch, 27, and Everett, 22 – had grown up and moved away. He wanted to downsize from his home in Telluride, but not so much.

"We wanted to make sure we had enough space for all of the kids – my daughter and Steve's boys – when we were all around," said Ms. Taylor, who planned to keep her Manhattan apartment so she could spend her time between New York and Colorado . "But we didn't want too much house either."

At first they looked at condos but felt uninspired. Then they noticed that there was a quirky little postmodern home on the market that they had admired for years in nearby Placerville and was designed in 1992 by an architect named James Bowen.

"It's different from anything," said Ms. Taylor. "Every time I drove by I thought, 'Oh my god, I love this place." I have to say, I freaked out when I saw it on the agent's website. I was so excited, and so was Steve. "

Mr. Morton, an avid fisherman, was particularly pleased with the location as the house is right on the San Miguel River. "That's what really got me hooked," he said. "The walk to the river and the opportunity to fish straight from our back yard was super fascinating."

The couple bought the 2,200-square-foot home for $ 737,000 in July. They moved in immediately, but with minimal furniture, when they started planning a renovation. Although they loved the exterior of the house, they found out a lot about the internal issues.

"It was certainly in good condition, but not our taste, not our style," said Ms. Taylor. "And there were also some functional problems that we had with it."

To open up the ground floor and create a larger living and dining area, the kitchen was moved from the center of the house to a corner. They also opened up a line of sight from the entrance across the house to the new gas fireplace in the living room, which makes the compact structure appear more spacious.

Upstairs, to their surprise, they found that the master bedroom only had small windows facing the river and that the wardrobes were one level higher and accessible via a spiral staircase. So they reconfigured the master suite and enlarged the window at the foot of the bed for a better view of the river; Adding a dressing area to one end of the bedroom; and moving the spiral staircase to Georgia's room, where she now climbs to a play floor.

The interior was chosen in such a way that a clean shell of white paint and natural wood is created, which highlights some special features. “It was about minimizing the visual confusion of the house,” Ms. Taylor said, noting that the house previously had orange heart pine floors and dark wood paneling that seemed to cut things up.

They sanded and waxed the floors for a natural look and painted all the woodwork. Then they added accents like a leaf wallpaper mural of Calico in the vestibule; a table made of melted waste material by Dirk van der Kooij, a Dutch designer, surrounded by custom-made benches in the dining area; and an elongated Akari light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi that hangs in an atrium in the center of the house.

“We wanted to add some exciting elements,” said Ms. Taylor. "It's just a very personal mix."

Work on the major architectural changes began in March 2019 and was completed in June at a cost of approximately $ 250,000. But the couple took longer to complete the interior and have since spent an additional $ 75,000 collecting furniture and accessories.

Although Mr. Morton and Ms. Taylor have since worked together on numerous projects, they recently found themselves back in the converted church that started it all: They were married there on July 10th.

“Our venue failed and this customer came in and said, 'You know what would be great? Why aren't you guys getting married here? ’" Said Ms. Taylor. "It was the fun moment when it came full circle."

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