Alpine Dreams

Recreating a vacation haven at home.

By Gina Parsons

Photography by Anne Matheis

Interior Design JE Design Group LLC

Remodeler Politte Renovations




At least once or twice a year, one couple in Des Peres heads to the mountains of Colorado where they love to ski, hike and ride bikes. They recently finished their basement and had it designed to have the ambience of a Colorado ski lodge – bringing their favorite vacation spot into their home.  “When we bought the house in 2017, we always knew we wanted an area for entertaining our family and friends,” the homeowner says. “We also were inspired by the stunning sceneries of the Colorado Rockies and the ‘lodge’ feeling of the places we have visited in Colorado.”

They hired Ellen Wortham, ASID, a Principal and Designer at JE Design Group, LLC to help with the space planning and design. The project was finished in fall of 2022, and includes a bar area that seats 14, which leads into a conversation area with four large, comfortable chairs, Ellen says. There is a game room, and a den with a TV area. The space also includes a half-bath powder room, a full bathroom and an exercise room. 

One challenge of the project inspired a design element. There was a lot of HVAC venting going through the ceiling, so they created a soffit above the back bar area to hide the venting, without lowering the ceiling Ellen says. Another graceful wood-covered arch outside the conversation area mimics the arch above the bar, and also provides a transition between the wall and ceiling changes. 

The flooring is a luxury plank that mimics hickory. They used actual raw hickory on the walls. “That’s the beauty of it. Mixing all of the wood,” Ellen says. The accent wallpaper in the seating area is a wood veneer wallpaper. “We noticed different features of wood tones and architectural styles in Colorado and tried to incorporate as many as possible,” the homeowner says. “Mike Politte with Politte Renovations showed us many samples of wood designs. His attention to the theme detail was greatly appreciated.” 

In addition to doing the carpentry for the project, Mike made the whiskey barrel bourbon shelves, which are creatively positioned above the sink. He collaborated with the electrician on backlighting them.

The homeowner sourced several of the decorative items, including the unique antler chandelier. “Our contacts in Colorado got us in contact with the antler chandelier that is actually manufactured in Montana, and Julie McFarland with Metro Lighting was very helpful with our theme selections,” the homeowner says. 

 “Now that the project is finished we are very excited to enjoy this space with others and are very satisfied with the design that Ellen has presented,” the homeowner says. “Being able to share the happiness and joy that the fondness of Colorado gives us with any of our guests has been a rewarding feeling.”  


JE Design Group LLC

Remodeler Politte Renovations