Winding through the aspen up a long driveway, the Founder’s Retreat emerges like a mirage: a sweeping house nestled amid a sea of green turf. A babbling brook bisects the property, running under the house from a creek-fed pond that’s the centerpiece of this picturesque, park-like property.
Hidden in the forest, it’s an outlying oasis, far from the bustle of development nearby.
But the apparent isolation is an illusion. The house on more than four acres at 121 Yellow Brick Road – nicknamed the Founder’s Retreat, for original inhabitants Joyce and Ron Allred – is within walking distance of the Mountain Village Core, and it boasts ski-in, ski-out access to both Village Bypass and Boomerang ski trails.
It is a hidden gem long on ‘wow’ factor, not just for its idyllic setting, but also for its place-based historical significance as a cornerstone of the Town of Mountain Village.
Ron Allred, longtime owner of the Telluride Ski Resort, and the visionary credited with developing the Town of Mountain Village, had his pick of the 650-some single-family home sites platted in the then-undeveloped Mountain Village, and this is this spot he and wife Joyce chose to call home for close to 20 years.
An inspired mountain enclave designed for entertaining
When the Allreds began construction on the now- 6,500-square foot residence in 1987, they did so with the idea that this home, veiled by mature forest glades and bordered by open space to the east and south, would be a place for both revelry and repose.
At the time, the Allreds, who had purchased the Telluride Ski Area and surrounding property with their business partners in 1978, were in the thick of promoting the then little-known Telluride Ski Resort as one of North America’s newest and most promising resort destinations.
“We had been doing a lot of entertaining in our old house” in the Town of Telluride, Joyce recalls. “It was quite the dog-and-pony show, so I knew we needed a house that could handle a lot of people.”
Thus the house on Yellow Brick Road (named by Joyce in a nod to the spectacular golden show put on by the aspen every fall) features an expansive great room offering idyllic views of the outdoor pond via floor-to-ceiling windows. Styled after the ski area’s Goronno Ranch restaurant, the home’s expansive main living space boasts hand-hewn timbers, oversized beams, rustic reclaimed pine floors and a dry-stacked stone wood-burning fireplace. This room, which also boasts a niche bar, was the center of festivities during the Allreds’ famous annual croquet tournaments, New Year’s Eve galas and ski-in, ski-out luncheons.
The formal dining room and open layout kitchen were designed with more intimate family gatherings in mind. The kitchen, flanking a cozy sitting area, with another wood-burning fireplace, was the center of family life when the Allreds’ many children and grandchildren came to visit throughout the years.
The original Founder’s Retreat was built with just one bedroom: As Ron tells it, this was so that the matriarch and patriarch of the Allred family could find some peace and quiet when their then-college-aged children came to visit. The kids would shack up in the nearby guest cabin (which is no longer part of the property).
Today, the residence boasts two bedrooms, including the comfortable master bedroom with his-and-hers closets, as well as another well-proportioned room located on the property’s opposite wing.
A Piece of Regional History
Although the Founder’s Retreat holds historical significance as the early stomping grounds for some of the burgeoning ski resort’s famous visitors (Michael Jordan played basketball at the outdoor hoop), the property’s history reaches further back. When the Allreds began construction of the residence in 1987, the lot was home to the dilapidated remains of one of the area’s original homesteads. The land had most recently belonged to the Jennings family, contemporaries of the Gorrono and Adams families, owners of the two massive ranches now known as upper and lower Mountain Village. In addition to the original homestead found on the property, the site had remnants of another building, likely a blacksmith’s shop.
During the three years that locally renowned Fortenberry Construction worked to build the Founder’s Retreat, the Allreds discovered other signs of the property’s earlier inhabitants. South of the home, towards the Village Bypass ski trail, rhubarb plants grew in perfectly straight rows, evidence of an earlier gardener’s efforts to coax food out of the land. And it was ascertained that the creek running through the property was actually an irrigation ditch, diverted through the property by one of the early ranchers, most likely trying to irrigate the pastures of the present-day Meadows area.
To this day, the creek stands as one of the landscape highlights of the property, as well as a unique architectural element of the home. The stream actually passes underneath the house in its west wing, where a hallway doubles as an enchanting enclosed bridge.
The water element was, in fact, one of the biggest original draws of the property, the Allreds say. That, combined with its convenience (within walking distance to the Core and access to two ski trails) and privacy, made it the paramount property upon which to build the owners of the ski resort’s dream home, they say.
It was, without question, Joyce favorite home, she says.
“Of all the homes we’ve built or owned, it was my dream home,” she says.
The Founder’s Retreat, one of the Mountain Village’s paradigm properties and a meaningful piece of regional history, is now poised for its next evolution: it is currently for sale through Peaks Real Estate/Sotheby’s International Realty. Price available upon request.