From Modest to Irresistible

A mining-era Victorian in Crested Butte radiates Bohemian charm.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

If you’ve ever been to Crested Butte, you know that it’s an explosion of color during wildflower season and an explosion of historic charm downtown the rest of the year.

Ingrid Gebavi’s home is a perfect example: Dating back to 1890, it is both bold and inviting, with peach siding, two shades of blue trim, a corrugated silver roof, and a metal peace sign at the main entrance.

But the gingerbread wasn’t added until the 1970s, providing some extra bling to a previously plain exterior. And four decades later, the interior underwent a similar but more extensive makeover that respects the dwelling’s mining-era Victorian roots yet honors Gebavi’s vision and Crested Butte’s distinctive vibe.

The Chicago native relocated to Crested Butte in 2009 and still maintains an apartment in the Windy City. Armed with a wealth of lessons learned from renovation projects in Lake Geneva, Wis., and Los Angeles, she spent 2012 through 2014 helping her ideas unfold in Colorado.

“I was going for a fun, funky, Bohemian, and eclectic look inside the house that matches the town,” she says. “I didn’t want a mountain lodge look; I wanted it to be congruent with the home’s era.”

Work on the home involved taking the structure down to the studs, raising it up to install a new foundation and a lower level that expanded the home’s living space to 2,400 square feet, and installing all new windows and doors. The lower level is occupied by two guest rooms, a bathroom, and a family room with built-in bar. Generous splashes of color in the guest room come courtesy of paisley wallpaper, built-ins and trim painted an earthy shade of green, a patterned coverlet, and a sheer window treatment.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

On the front section of the main floor, what was once a bedroom is now a welcoming entryway and cheerful office featuring interior transom windows with old-style glass, a built-in desk, and a stacked washer and dryer cleverly tucked behind a multicolor macramé curtain. A nearby powder room has two designs of cement tiles in muted shades of blue, yellow and green that Gebavi thoughtfully organized to create a distinctive overall pattern. Cream-colored grass cloth occupies the space above the painted beadboard and on the ceiling in the bathroom, a look that is continued throughout the first floor.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

The connected kitchen, dining room, and living room also have loads of interesting details, such as beads dangling from Roman shades and a bubble chandelier hanging over a custom walnut table crafted by Kevin Van Treek of Gunnison, who is the talent behind all the custom millwork. In the kitchen, much of the cabinetry is painted light turquoise. The back wall is a vignette of shelves stacked with dishes and glassware that frame a deep farm sink with brass fixtures; the ivory and black backsplash tile by Pratt & Larson resembles old-fashioned wallpaper. Exquisite white marble mined in the small community of Marble just over the mountain tops a large island and the vanities in two upstairs bathrooms.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

The neutral macramé curtain and large tassels that hang down the sides of one large window in the living room contribute to the whimsical feel but still allow light to flow in, while swirlypatterned Rookwood Pottery tiles add interest in one corner behind a black wood stove.

Wood floors throughout the main and upper stories are made from heart pine that is 250 to 300 years old and was recovered from the Savannah River that flows in Georgia and South Carolina, while porcelain tile runs throughout the lower level.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

Reaching the master bedroom upstairs requires walking through a magnificent bathroom with a glass shower standing like a work of art in the middle, a freestanding Kallista clawfoot tub and two marble-topped vanities. The bedroom is a quiet sanctuary adorned in cream and gentle pops of crimson, coral, and sage from suzani-inspired fabric draped over the bed and used for large pillows and curtains that reveal French doors.

Photo by Emily Minton Redfield

The upstairs guest room has the best view in the house and features board and batten paneling, punched tin hanging light fixtures, and twin beds covered in bold, striped duvets. The en suite bathroom is short on space but big on style with a custom washstand vanity, green subway tiles, and a glass shower with a skylight.

Local interior designer Carolina Fechino-Alling helped pick all the hard surfaces, designing the kitchen, and helping with color coordination. Once Gebavi moved in, Denver-based Andrea Schumacher helped complete the overall look with wall coverings, window treatments, lighting, furnishings, and décor.

“The home has lots of unexpected spaces. Ingrid describes it as Bohemian, but it’s very refined,” Fechino-Alling says.

Through her travels, Gebavi is collecting some final items for her vibrant Crested Butte home.

“I didn’t want the look of an instant home, so it is evolving over time.”