Amid three lush hanging plants, a new business shingle for Morton Architects and Kimille Taylor Interior Design and Decorating dangles on 221 S. Pine St. Steve Morton, 55, who’s lived in Telluride for nearly 20 years and raised his family here, recently moved his architectural offices from Mountain Village into the new, multi-use building, which he designed. Interior designer and decorator Kimille Taylor, 47, splits her time between her New York City office and this new Telluride office space.
Morton worked in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in residential and commercial architecture before moving to Telluride in 1999. With architecture licenses in New York, Massachusetts, Colorado and California, Morton also develops projects on the East Coast, where he works out of Taylor’s NYC office.
Taylor spent her professional life in New York City, where she worked in several small galleries before working at Christie’s Auction House as vice president of operations. She has run her own interior design and decorating business for 11 years; working in Telluride for the past five.
Morton and Taylor met while working on an extensive residential remodel on Oak Street — a 12,000 square foot building that used to house The Oak Street Inn.
“We had a dream assignment on Oak Street,” Taylor said. “Working with clients who had done this before, who understood the creative process and the time that things take and who were fair about where they spent money. Clients who were engaged in and excited about the process.”
For Morton a dream project involves a client who understands and appreciates design, craftsmanship, high-quality materials and gives him the ability to do what he’s best at in terms of creating.
“That’s where it’s really rewarding,” he explained. “To be able to scratch out some lines for a new concept for a dynamic building form that hasn’t been done before that your client doesn’t expect.”
While they work separately in the shared office, Morton and Taylor also collaborated on the 4,500 square foot single-residence above their new space.
“We have a really good bond and a good understanding of each other’s work,” Morton explained. “And a shared ability to understand our clients’ needs to put together a comprehensive concept package that represents where the clients might want to go.”
While Morton has worked primarily on residential projects locally, he is currently designing the expansion of the Hanley Pavilion, which will involve adding a new space for the Nordic Center. He also is working on concept designs for a bowling alley, restaurant and bar space in the Mountain Village core.
Taylor’s focus is on high-end residential spaces, though she does dream of one day tackling interior design and decorating for a small hotel.
“I really do love residential, because you’re creating a home for somebody, which is very emotional, intimate and exciting,” she said.
In the front window of their new office is a mesmerizing 3D printer. Inside is a drafting table, a large format printer, books on wall shelves, flat files, a conference table and a full bar in the back. Mixed throughout space are Taylor’s flourishes, like an upholstered cheetah bench, a chunky ottoman and a 1950s cabinet.
Given Taylor’s background in art, she sees the bare walls as an opportunity to showcase contemporary art. Currently, several framed origami pyramids by California-based artist Dawn Wolfe hang on the walls. Available for purchase, the art pieces can be viewed during Telluride ArtWalk the first Thursday of each month.
Also on display are 15 handmade miniature models of the approximately 25-30 projects Morton has completed in the region, along with a larger rendering of a home Morton and Taylor are designing together in Aldasoro. For Morton, this new project represents a shift in philosophy towards a more streamlined and contemporary design.
“I’m stripping down the architecture to simple components that are clean and easily identifiable,” he explained. “Previous to this, a lot of the work I’ve done has been typical of what you’d see in a mountain environment.”
Morton’s projects are always site-specific and depend on environmental surroundings, available views, sunlight and wind direction. Taylor focuses on color and light.
“No one is coming to me for the Kimille Taylor look,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s about the client. What does the client want? What are the client’s tastes, vibe and feel?”
Morton prides himself on being a good listener who is able to gather the scope of a client’s vision, combine it with his own design philosophies and synthesize all of that information into a creative, unique solution.
At the end of the day, he’d like to share a cocktail with his client in his client’s living room where they can enjoy the new space together.
“I want to see the client live in it. I want to see their satisfaction and joy,” Morton said. “And experience a familiar space for the first time.”