PHOTO BY RIC STOVALL
“It took a long time to convince people that you can design mountain homes in a more modern way but with beautiful materials,” says architect Hans Berglund, whose eponymous Vail Valley firm was at the vanguard of that movement when it launched 16 years ago. Since then, Berglund has earned a reputation for creating modern regional designs inspired by local vernacular architecture—not just in the Vail Valley, but from Canada to the Caribbean. Here, he shares how 2020 has changed the way we live.
What impact has COVID-19 had on your residential designs? Clients are focusing more on indoor-outdoor living spaces—including larger, covered outdoor rooms where they can safely entertain. Pantries are getting larger. Exercise rooms are shifting from multipurpose spaces to dedicated facilities with larger TV screens for virtual workouts. And we are designing separate offices instead of a shared space so that everyone has a place to get away.
Has sustainability become more of a priority for homeowners? As people have begun to see that they’re not giving up anything to live in a super energy-efficient home, the desire for a more sustainable design is becoming almost universal. Clients are also interested in avoiding toxic chemicals in paints, glues, carpets and millwork, and in having a continuous fresh air supply, which is especially important since we’re all spending more time in our homes.
What other design details are trending now? We’re installing a lot of oxygen-enrichment systems that can effectively make a space feel like it’s 2,000 or 3,000 feet above sea level. This helps homeowners acclimate to the altitude more quickly, sleep great, ski better and stay at altitude longer while feeling better.