John Denver will forever be remembered for the mellow voice he used to entertain fans with well thought out lyrics. One of his most popular songs is “Starwood in Aspen,” where he sings about his sweet Rocky mountain paradise. That song was inspired by John Denver’s mountain home in Aspen, CO. The late singer could never stop being mesmerized by the beauty and simplicity of Aspen, and the more he talked about it, the more people fell in love with the hidden gem. He may be gone forever, but the house he built remains a much-sought-after property. Let’s tell you more about it, beginning with how he came to build it.
For the love of Colorado
Although people know that John Denver was formally known as Henry John Deutschendorf, not many know how he came to baptize himself “Denver.” His father was in the United States Air Force; thus, the family frequently moved from one state to another. During one of these regular travels, John found himself in Denver and could not get enough of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Therefore even when record executives advised him to change his name to something shorter for his fans, the first name that popped in his mind was “Denver” to pay tribute to his love for Colorado.
He used to live in Minnesota with Annie Martell, his first wife, and as he rose to stardom due to his song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” so did his income. Therefore since he could afford to take Annie to Aspen for a skiing trip, John Denver was again in awe of the breath-taking landscape. Since he confessed to having been raised by a strict father who made home not the place John wanted to be, the singer kept searching for where his soul would feel right, and Aspen was it. The couple had visited during winter in Christmas 1970, and the snowy mountains captivated him; hence he resolved to build his dream home there.
His friend also encouraged him to buy the minimally developed property in Starwood, and with John being a devoted conservationist, it made sense. Thus in 1971, John attended the groundbreaking ceremony, and within two hours, they had laid out the entire floor plan in pegs and string. John designed the dream house, utilizing the architectural knowledge he had acquired at the Texas Tech University; he also consulted a professional architect.
The house as John left it
According to House Crazy, the Starwood property comprises two lots covering 7.6 acres and offering spectacular views of the Pyramid Peak, and Mt. Daly. The main house measuring 6,849 square feet is on its own lot. When John built it, it had five bedrooms, 5.5 baths, and a two-car garage that could be accessed privately, not from the main entrance. With John’s obvious love for mountains, it made sense that he built decks around the house where he would sit as he strummed his guitar, soaking in the view.
John’s master bedroom was a work of art; instead of using wood paneling or anything of the sort for walling to separate the bedroom and master bathroom, John utilized custom stained glass. He made the master bedroom more intimate with a fireplace, two-person Jacuzzi, and a sauna. He and his wife each had their own dressing rooms and his and her bathrooms. When they wanted a romantic night under the starry skies, they could access the outside deck from their bedroom. The house only underwent a major remodel in 1985 before his death in 1997.
It has undergone a few changes
In 2016, Denis and Kelly bought the house for $2.75 million, and according to Mansion Global, the couple opted to renovate instead of demolishing it. Denis and Kelly loved John’s music since they were children; hence owning what was once his house was a privilege they did not plan on taking for granted. Therefore they did not touch the stained glass, the four fireplaces, the wooden cabinetry, sinks, faucets, and handles. Since the house was falling apart, the couple replaced the entire plumbing system and electrical wiring. They also replaced the roof and added an extra bedroom. The kitchen ceiling was raised to the second floor. However, it was not a cheap affair; it took them two years to complete the remodeling, which cost millions of dollars to incorporate a modern touch while still preserving the vintage appeal.
Denis and Kelly consulted with professionals, including architect Jeffrey Hancox, contractor Dan Coleman, and Wynee Coleman, who helped with interior design. Kelly explained the focus was to maintain simplicity; hence they opted for materials that would allow the space to speak for itself. By the time they were through, the house so looked so peaceful that Kelly compared it to a retreat. She added that she would not mind buying another house in Starwood.
The house was on sale
For a couple that was ready to go all out in remodeling their beloved house, it is surprising that they put it up for sale as reported by Aspen Times. Shockingly, it had an asking price of $11 million, yet they had bought it for $2.75. What is even more surprising is that once John Denver died, the successors sold the main house in 1999 for $2.38, which puts the appreciation over 17 years at only $370,000. Therefore, it leaves you wondering why after only owning it for two years, Denis and Kelly wanted almost five times what they had paid for it.
Regardless of the high cost, Anita Bideau, the listing agent, said they were already getting a lot of interested parties, especially after they held an open day for public viewing. The prospective home buyers were also motivated because the house belonged to John Denver. However, there are still no reports if the house found a buyer.