House Beautiful

Tag Archive for 'crested butte'

We Bought a Fixer Upper!

Ladies & Gents, Gusses & Geese: we have just this afternoon signed our lives away on THE biggest gem of a can of worms of a dreamboat you’ve ever seen:

…in the cutest little postcard of a mountain town there ever was (we live in Crested Butte, Colorado).

{ image via here }

{ image via Travel Crested Butte }

The property is comprised of a 1200 SF front house built in the 1800’s (the white stucco part) – currently not *quite* what you might call “livable” (hey man, floors – who needs em??), and a 1700 SF addition (the wood siding part) built onto the back that was framed & roughed-in in the 80’s, but then was left unfinished & hasn’t been touched since.

The back house addition looks like this inside:

As for the front house… llllisten: if you thought Karrie’s house we renovated 5 years ago was a primitive “before” (#casacovetliving)…

…then hold onto your shorts cuz that was the Four Seasons compared to what we’re delving into.  The term “Fixer Upper” doesn’t *quite* do justice to this little historic, circa 1880’s beauty which currently lacks living room floors but is chock full of blue midcentury plumbing fixtures, velvet-clad walls and serious quirks.  And while it may be short on ceilings (they’re just over 7 feet downstairs), it’s high on charm (great bones & lots of tongue-in-groove walls and gabled ceilings), high on endless potential and SURE to be high on cans-of-worms.  AND WE COULD NOT BE MORE THRILLED.  Here, I’ll hit the highlights for you:

Entryway into Living Room

Living Room


Goosie in said kitchen

Sunny little breakfast nook off the kitchen (you better believe imma repurpose that vintage pendant light somewhere)

Downstairs Bath (and currently the only bath)

Velvet Walls for the Win

Upstairs Master Bedroom

When Chris & I first saw this house come on the market, it was last Fall right before our (2nd time’s a charm) wedding, and we remember thinking: “WOW.  Tons of potential, tons of space… ho-ly &$#@ (!) – tons of work.”  We would’ve moved on it then, but we were in a pressure cooker otherwise known as trying to execute a destination wedding with 75 people during a global pandemic, with ever-changing rules (and a crazy DJ who lost his marbles and I was certain was going to call the 5-0 on us, cuz he had already called Gavin Newsom… can’t make this stuff up)… so it was just too overwhelming to do all the things at once.  Plus, there was this problem: “Exsqueeze me, I’ve just spent our down payment on bougainvilleas and booze.  But MAN you should’ve seen my jade velvet tablecloths!  Do you accept handshakes & Monopoly money as a form of currency?”  HAAAAAAA.

{ via }

And so after our insane wedding (which I loved SO MUCH and I wouldn’t take ONE SINGLE PART OF IT BACK – NOT ONE!), there we sat – just sweating while we watched the market tick up & up, and were racing against the clock so we could jump in before it was all out of our reach.  Crested Butte is a dang gem, but it’s no longer a hidden one: it’s actually referred to as “the last great mountain town in Colorado,” and people used to always say to us: “What do you guys DO that you get to live in this place full-time?”  It’s true that Winters here are not for the faint of heart – they are brutal and unrelenting…

It’s also true that you’re sure to stand in line for at least 1 hour at the Post Office at Christmas time, which melts my brain… and that we are a far reach from the big red bullseye (closest Target is 2 hours away).  But if that’s the worst of it, then yo – I’d say we’re in pretty good shape.  This sweet, belongs-in-a-Hallmark-movie small town is stunningly beautiful, with an abundance of nature that is largely untouched and still wild… it always feels safe (I think maybe someone borrowed someone else’s townie bike to get home from the bars last Summer, then returned it the next day, but that’s about the worst shenanigan I’ve heard of going down here), and it has THE most magical Summer & Fall.  M-A-G-I-C-A-L.  I tell you what – they just don’t make towns like this anymore.

{ via } – photo by Morgan Rachel Levy

Anyhow… the ski resort here was bought by Vail a few years ago, which drove up the real estate market a sniff, but I swear when COVID hit, sh*t went bananas and all bets were off: everyone and their mom’s brother’s uncle’s cousin figured out that they, too, could live here and work from home.  It was (and is) like a real-life game of Monopoly – or a group mud wrestling match – or that scene from Far and Away where people were hustlin dem wagons out to the frontier and staking their claim on anything they could… and we were about two shakes from being totally out of luck and either having to rent forever, or having to move out of town.  Every *single* house that hits the market in this place (as I’m sure is the case in all resort towns) has multiple offers, almost always cash offers, and almost always over asking price.  HEH?  All I could think was: dang, is a tiny roof over our heads such an astronomical ask? I don’t know if we can run with the big dogs.  Where do the Muggles go?  This is us btw.  We are muggles.

And then, our little gem came back on the market one day in late January, and we walked a few blocks over from our house to view it with our (most AMAZING realtor, without whom we would’ve been lost) and good friend, Jesse Ebner of Signature Properties & her husband Dave…

…and as Chris & I stepped into the little front living room with no floors, sagging ceilings and not ONE extra ounce of space for even a fart, we both said, almost in unison: “OMG I love it.  I am NOT scared.”

We raced in an offer the next morning, and knowing it was a huge Hail Mary and that we probably didn’t have a dog in the fight, I wrote a letter that I asked Jesse to enclose with our offer.  I introduced myself and Chris to the sellers, told them we were locals and both business owners in town and that we wanted our kids to know what it was like to grow up in a place like this.  I told them we wanted to raise our family in this house and that that was our intention not to do a quick flip or turn it into an AirBNB, but to live in it full time and lovingly restore it.  I told them why we loved the house so much – that Chris loved the Norwegian-looking historic exterior of the front house, that I loved the sunny breakfast nook, the gabled storybook ceilings upstairs, and the big yard for Goose.  I told them I was a designer and that I loved renovations the most, because they’re always a puzzle to be solved and there is always a reverence for the history of an older home.  I told them we knew they probably would have tons of other offers, but that I wanted them to know how earnest we were… and that we had every intention of getting to the closing table (the house had 2 contracts fall through previously).  And so we sat on pins & needles for 2 days, and then Jesse FaceTimed us: “YOU GUYS ARE BUYING A HOUSE IN CRESTED BUTTE!!!” – not the finest glamour shot of either of us but the happiest snap, in the interest of documenting…

Chris was all calm and collected and sat back and goes: “….whooaaaa, this is so awesome.” And I go… something like this:

GIPHY via Jay Versace

The road from contract to closing, however, had more ups & downs than the Vortex at Kings Island (Burris kids get the joke BURRIS KIDS GET THE JOKE!!).  You know what’s NOT for the faint of heart?  Getting a jumbo loan for a pair of 1099 employees on a historic non-conforming property, during COVID.  I swear, I couldn’t buy a dag gum pair of undapants for the last 45 days without the underwriters asking me who/what/where/why/when I bought em… then there’s more shenanigans like: “Because of COVID, we need to make sure you’re still employed, Stephanie, as of a few days before closing so could YOU send us every.single.piece.of.paperwork you have touched over the last 10 days” and I thought my brain was going to explode. I was like: “Mr. Underwriter, I am so overly employed right now that I don’t know how to stop what I’m doing to create a paper trail for you but OK FOR THIS HOUSE I WILL DO IT.”  The only thing more fun than that was trying to get insurance on a house built in 1880 where they ask you 20 ways to Sunday: “And tell me again, when was the last time the roof was replaced?”  And I would just snort laugh and go, “I think in the 90’s!”  THE 1890’s, THAT IS – fbdsafhdkshafkdhahfkah.  Anyhow – by some miracle, we made it (!) and she’s all ours.

In the interest of getting a jump on permits and everything else e.g. appliances that are backordered until the end of time, we’re already pretty neck-deep in planning (I may or may not have already done most of the CAD drawings for what we want to do… #SQUEAL).  I will be blogging & Insta story-ing through the renovation process (and another medium that’s in the works that rhymes with schmboob schmtube), so I hope you guys can follow along through all the twists & turns (and cans of worms) that are surely ahead!  I mean, how does my favorite saying go??

“Pretty sure “What the hell?” is always the right decision.”

WE ARE SO EXCITED.  So is Goosie:

Up next week: Renovation Plans!

Pop Quiz: what should the hashtag for this project be???  Doing a giveaway for whoever manages to come up with the best one!  Stay tuned via my Instagram page for details.


Sunday Morning Musing, Fall Edition


What up Campers?!  Steph here, laptop tapping from the teensie western outpost of Crested Butte, CO.  Otherwise known as the coziest little Hallmark-Hall-of-Fame-esque mountain town you’ve ever seen.  I’m assuming my normal Sunday morning routine – (coffee in hand, Norah Jones & pals jamming on the playlist, OD-ing on Pinterest with Gus under foot)… except instead of saltwater, it smells like Fall & firewood & heaven here, and there’s chilly, clean mountain air wafting in through the open windows.

Crested Butte | Covet Living

Crested Butte | Covet Living

Anyhooski – here’s the latest & greatest reel of my favorite things:

File under: Future Home Pipe Dreams.  The blue door, the white brick, the lantern, the ivy… it’s perfection.  {via}


These vintage Mercury Glass gems from 1st Dibs have been on my wishlist since the beginning of time.


Ahhhooooooooooooh a monogram, in coral + chartreuse = air blowing up my southern sensibility shorts.


Shower door porn. {via}


Vintage ladder kilim – Dash & Albert used to make a good ladder rug that’s been disco’d, so I really only see these in vintage form these days, but I love them.  They have detail and warmth and pattern without being too busy, and they’re perfect for layering.


This tuxedo ruffler from J.Crew (currently 30% off, BTW) reminds me of Jayne’s wardrobe ca. 1985… and also makes me wanna wear it to work with a pencil skirt, or with beat-up jeans and booties to Sunday brunch.


Vintage suzani lumbars I bumped into at Hollywood at Home a few weeks ago.  Stunning in person – the photo doesn’t do them justice.  But what I love about these is that you *kinda* just need 1 on (an otherwise simple) bed, and you have a showstopper.  Or they mix & mingle perfectly with other patterns.
Vintage Suzani Pillows, Hollywood at Home | Covet Living

The best $38 you’ll ever spend = on these leggings from Vici.  They come in a whole ROYGBIV rainbow of colors, and they’re SO FREAKING COMFORTABLE.  We’re talking elastic waistband status, people.  I repeat: ELASTIC WAISTBAND.  They’re so comfortable and flattering it’s stupid.  Did I mention they’re $38?  K.  I have them in this army green, and also in the black – which is more charcoal/faded black.  Also craving them in midnight blue & wine, but I’m trying to exercise a little restraint.

Piper Leggings, Vici | Covet Living Piper Leggings, Vici | Covet Living

Since she tapered off of blogging over at Nest Egg, I follow Nashville Designer Rachel Halvorson’s insta to keep up with her glorious work.  But lately, I stalk her account for these videos of her ADORABLE CHUBBY TODDLER, where they try to subtitle his slobbery, adorable gibberish. “A goosey who pooped got sick” = I DIE.  And, “THE SCHEWAGE!” – BAAAHhfhfdhahahhaa.  Watch this one and this one.  You’re welcome.

Graham subtitles Rachel Halvorson | Covet Living

Addis in Midnight/Pasha (Peter Dunham’s latest & greatest) blows my shorts up like you wouldn’t believe.  It is perfect.  Also comes in a cream and chocolate color way that looks very understated cowboy chic.


Using it in my #modernharmhouse project in Ohio… my client wanted to inject a smidge of lilac/purple for something unexpected (it’s an otherwise muted/neutral palette), which made me jump for joy.  Finding this gem checked that box and tied the whole dang thing together.

Fabric Story | Modern Farmhouse Project | Covet Living

Said pattern is also current swathing the walls at Hollywood at Home in LA, and you’ve never seen anything cozier in your life than an entire room enveloped in that stuff.

Addis in Midnight/Pasha at Hollywood at Home | Covet Living

I would love to use these new sconces from Arteriors, anywhere.  I love that there’s a mix of material & texture (wicker + brass). Flanking an upholstered bed, they’d be money – perfectly layered & understated without being boring.

Arteriors Padma Wall Sconce | Covet Living

I see and get to design some pretty fancy kitchens these days, with bells & whistles out the wazoo… but at my core, I’m still just a sucker for the warmth of a sweet, simple kitchen with some patina. {via}



coziest kitchen ever | covet living

I’d like to whip up these Pumpkin Beer Pretzels with Chipotle Queso in that kitchen tonight, and house them over a Netflix marathon.  If that doesn’t sound like the best Sunday ever, I dunno what does.  Signed, praisesweetbabyjesus my new jeggings have an elastic waistband.


Loving this piece by John Zurier.


Love / need / am coveting this leather satchel.


Pretty palette for Fall – spesh on the tabletop.  Just layers of blues and layers of antique metals.


If you’re in the market for new underroos, I’d recommend this over the shoulder boulder holder:


I #cantstopwontstop with the blue & white tile.  These are my new faves:



{ via BDG in San Diego }

blue and white tile, BDG | covet living





While we’re looking at things in pairs, I’d give my left nut to have my weave morph into something a little more mermaid-esque, comme ça…  WHO WAKES UP LIKE THAT?!



Is that ever true.  I feel like that’s one of the most solid lessons I’ve learned in my 30’s.


If EVER you find yourself with a cold this winter, do yourself a favor and grab about 5 of these.  One of them does more for me than the entire contents of my medicine cabinet.

best cold cure - pressed juice | covet living

I’ve been sweating Kiini brand suits for awhile, and I’m thinking about scooping the pink version up for a January trip to Mexico.

kiini | covet living

This is a custom fireplace via a fellow San Diego-based Designer.  Super into it… there are a few things going on: the tile on the hearth and surround, the floating (looks like a reclaimed) mantle, the curvy shape etc… but it still feels nice and simple to me.

custom fireplace, design squared | covet living

Just another all-time fave I was scouting a few weeks back at BDG tile – Tabarka’s Izmir – for one of the bathroom floors at #projectsantabarbarainvegas.

tabarka | covet living

Loving the mountains, but dag… do I love the saltwatery air and technicolor universe that is San Diego.

san diego | covet living

Love the kitchens with islands-as-big-as-my-house & all, but I love this homemade beaut just as well.  So easy to do with some reclaimed lumber, or an antique piece of furniture – just have a remnant of natural stone cut for the top and you’re golden.


ASOS = my favorite place to shop for lingerie.  Love this set.


Bastideaux textiles (through Nicky Rising) are my new favorites – especially for dude pads.  This one is Napili… aka happy baby pineapples.


Using their Bogo in Midnight (pictured behind the wool stripe pillow – via DRC San Diego) for a downtown bachelor pad in San Diego.  MONEY. #clientbadassbachelor

Bastideaux Fabric, Covet Living Interiors | Covet Living

This gorgeous antique headboard appeals to my southern-rooted, Stevie B sensibilities.


Fall fashion goals. {via}


GOOD GOD IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU, MAKE GRILLED CHEESE + TOMATO SOUP FOR SUPPER TONIGHT.  Gobs of Grilled Cheese recipes here… my go to, howevuh, is Pacific Natural Foods’ Organic Creamy Tomato soup, + grilled cheese on fresh sourdough, with some RUHL good extra sharp cheddar, dipped in Bonne Maman’s strawberry jam.


These dog bowls are about a jillion dollars at some highfalutin pet boutique in La Jolla, but I’d like someone to make them for me… *COUGH* Chris.


I may or may not have just bought this for the future President of the United States… Gus.  Are you following him on Insta yet?  Cuz you should be. doggie-chambray-bowtie-covet-living

We just put these in my #modernfarmhouse project’s kitchen in Ohio, and they’re stunners.  One of my favorite lanterns ever…  look at the oxidized copper patina.  This pic I snapped from the Visual Comfort Vegas showroom a few weeks back.

Brantley Lantern, Visual Comfort | Covet Living

Snap from the Pom Pom Home booth at To Dine For in La Jolla a few weeks back.  All I ever needed was 2 of these at the foot of my bed, or on either side of my dining table.

wicker chair, pom pom home | covet living

I just wanna move in.  I want everything in here.

Dying to use this gorgeous tile somewhere… via a trip to Country Floors in LA this past Spring.

tile, country floors | covet living

Lorna Luxe’s Instagram is on point for perfectly layered neutrals.  Also, I stalked the bra in this first shot, and thru some quick stalking I hath discovered a stellar new source for underthings.

via lorna lux insta | covet living



Log this under one-of-my-favorite-patterns-ever: Peter Fasano’s Hillevi in Buff.

peter fasano hillevi in buff | covet living

This shade of blue.  On everything – cabinetry, millwork, furniture – anything.


Loving the artwork of Ines Longevial – discovered via Krista from Cloth & Kind’s Pinterest.  They have superb taste.


Susan Connor = another new textile muse I can’t get enough of.


New and delightfully whimsical Keaton lamp, from Visual Comfort.  I have an antique lamp almost just like this, packed away somewhere in a basement in North Carolina. Sniff.


I need a new business card holder-thingy *COUGH* please Santa.

How precious would Coeur in Olive from Les Indiennes be in a little girl’s room?


I may’ve posted this pendant (or one like it) 99x, but here’s to #100.  LOVE.


I love a mosaic tile backsplash that looks like artwork just about as much as I love a classic subway tile backsplash, but you know what’s really growing on me?  Running your countertop up the backsplash as well.  These campers took it a step further and integrated the sink as well.  But it’s such a clean, simple, gorgeous look – and probably uber easy to clean.  My home skillet Betsy of Bixby & Ball did it in her kitchen, and it’s stunning.  PS: love the open shelf they popped in here, too.


Get in my office.  Kthanksbye. {via} lucite-and-brass-bar-cart-covet-living

Obsessed with this oh-so-simple but chic entry.  Those tall baskets could hide a multitude of evils (toys for all my friends who are parental units) and the curved glass or lucite console hasn’t gotten old for me yet.


Behold.  The most perfectly indiscernible blue-grey paint color, ever… with the faintest hint of lavender.  My last 2 bedrooms have been this color. wisp-of-smoke

Last but not least, you just can’t beat pretty hardware.  These hex pulls are from Rejuvenation and they’re $11 each… done.


I lied.  This needs to go last.  Maybe a good thing to do before the week starts over tomorrow?


Have a great Sunday!!!!


Steph's Scanned Signature