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  • Writer's pictureMaiden Stone

Aspen Residence, Aspen Colorado: The Versatility of Stone, Exposed

Very rarely does a project come along that truly harnesses the potential of a singular stone. Often, projects are complex and demand an array of complementary stone materials, used in different parts of the design and with varying finishes and textures.

Enter Shannon Murphy, one of Colorado’s most notable landscape architects who’s built both a reputation and a following in Aspen for her artistry and innovation.

Photo Credits: Karen Sanders (left); Joshua McHugh (right)

“She plays with stone in a way that I wish everybody did,” says Maiden Stone’s Founder and President Sandra Jonas Desguin, who admires Murphy’s versatile approach to stone. “She has a great vision and sensibility about design.”

When Jonas Desquin first introduces potential clients to Maiden Stone’s stone samples, it is her hope that they, too, become inspired to use them in innovative, artistic ways, adding that utilizing a stone in different ways ‘makes them pop.’

“It’s much more exciting and interesting to have textures and layers,” she says. Murphy, she explains, has enormous talent for this.

For this particular Colorado-based project, Murphy employed Black Conte basalt from Maiden Stone. She used this stone with several different finishes, maximizing the yield of the stone by incorporating different looks. For the exterior garden staircase, she chose a pineapple finish with split face edges. The result is a stunning cascade of whole stone slab steps that each look remarkably different from every angle. The horizontal surface features a linear texture that abuts the split face vertical riser.

Photo Credits: Karen Sanders

For added dimension, the same Black Conte Basalt stone was used for the east access stairs in corduroy 3 with split face edges.

For the driveway, Murphy used Black Tapestry Granite cobble, split faced on both the top and edges. Her artistic style is demonstrated in unique details like the partial exposure of the stone amid the cobbles.

“She’s created this really wonderful textured feeling to the whole landscape that I just don’t see a lot” says Jonas Desguin. “She’s always pushing the boundaries.”

For Murphy, the feeling is mutual.

"I appreciate the hand crafted love intrinsic in each stone element. Maiden Stone’s talented local team and skilled artisans at the quarries make it possible for us to invent unique surface textures, design beautiful forms, and conspire to create impossibly (almost) gigantic monolithic pieces.
The stone elements of this project originate from the same vein of Granite, yet each has a distinct character, enabling them to harmonize in the landscape like sisters with shared DNA…but with less bickering."

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