“What is really unique about this house is the fact that it’s right in the center of downtown Aspen, where we have just a handful of single-family homes,” says listing agent Carrie Wells. “You’re half a block away from restaurants and shopping.”
Listed for $17 million, the historic Victorian home was built in 1888. It’s across from Francis Whitaker Park, a 4-acre park where people play horseshoes, picnic, and relax.
“As you’re looking from the house toward Aspen Mountain, you overlook open space, which is also very unique,” says Wells.
Another distinctive feature of the home—and the reason for its moniker—is the observatory house. Previous owner Elizabeth Jones installed a rooftop observatory as a gift to her son. According to Wells, Aspen’s altitude combined with a lack of city lights makes the area perfect for stargazing.
The home also offers spectacular mountain views.
“It has views up toward Aspen Mountain so you can see the ski runs,” Wells says. Red Mountain is also visible.
The current owners have used the home in the summers and rented it out during the ski season. The monthly rental income is about $40,000.
The 3,944-square-foot home has six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms, and its exterior might be a bit deceiving.
“It looks one way on the outside, and when you walk in, it’s modern and open and very different from what you would imagine,” Wells says. “The current owners did an extensive renovation on the interior, and it’s very contemporary. It’s Victorian on the outside, but contemporary and open on the inside.”
The owners also took down walls to better display their art collection and open up the flow for entertaining.
“It actually has a really nice outdoor entertaining space, so that’s also unique and great for this property,” Wells explains. “It’s a property that works well if you like to entertain.”
The remodeling project won the 2002 Colorado Award for Remodeling Excellence. According to the CARE website, the awards are the state’s largest and longest-running award competition, which honors Colorado architects, custom builders, interior designers, landscape designers, remodelers, and other industry partners.
Downtown Aspen is the place to see and be seen, and this house provides great access to everything.
“Because you’re in the center of where all the action is, you can walk right outside your door and have dinner at all the top restaurants just a half a block away,” Wells says. “It’s where everyone seems to walk around, so there’s a certain lifestyle.
Wells says the eventual buyer will probably use the house as a vacation retreat.
“What attracts people to a house like this is its location, because they’re buying for the lifestyle of being able to walk everywhere,” Wells explains. “So many of our buyers don’t want to rely on their cars; they do that in their primary location. So to walk everywhere is just very desirable.”