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By Sue Hostetler | June 1, 2010 | Lifestyle
Jamie Tisch with her children (Zachary, Holden and Elizabeth) in their favorite gathering space, the kitchen
Few things in life remain the same, so we tend to treasure those that endure, such as the beauty and spirit of a beloved mountain town or a great friendship. Jamie Tisch is lucky enough to have both in her life: a long-term affection for Aspen and a close friendship with business partner and fellow Hollywood mom Elizabeth Wiatt. “Elizabeth and I have been friends since we both moved to LA in the early ’90s,” Tisch recalls. “We met through our boyfriends and hit it off immediately. We had a lot in common, including our love of Aspen.” (Both women went on to marry said boyfriends: Jamie to successful film producer Steve Tisch and Elizabeth to former William Morris honcho Jim Wiatt.)
That love blossomed in the ’90s, when she spent a couple of ski seasons in town after graduating from the University of Alabama. After marrying, she and her now ex-husband rented during the summers while searching for their own perfect mountain retreat. “I knew that I wanted to be in town for convenience,” she says, citing the importance of freedom and safety for her three young children to cruise around on their own.
In spring 2002 the couple found an idyllic property—though in disrepair—and set about transforming the house into a comfortable and fresh family home. Her ambitious goal was to renovate and move in by early summer, so within days of closing she brought in the big guns: respected local architect
Bill Poss and contractor Marty Schlumberger. “The three of us worked for endless hours over a few days and immediately began to execute,” says Tisch. Poss self-deprecatingly adds, “When you’re working with a client that has great taste, who has innate direction and knows what she wants, it’s easy to get things done quickly.”
Tisch, who could feasibly hire any interior designer in the world, chose instead to trust her own instincts, enabling her to expedite the entire process. She ordered tile, marble, the sleek stainless steel Boffi kitchen and bathrooms, Poliform closets and walnut for the hardwood floors, all from LA. She also combed her favorite dealers, galleries and design stores—from Paris Underground Antiques to the Marché aux Puces in Paris—for the perfect mix of gracious furnishings. Highlights include a low-slung stone-and-metal Prouvé table in the living room and a pair of vintage Lucite backlit mirrors in the master bath. A burst of color and whimsy plays up the girls’ bedroom, with a pink wall the shade of a luscious Ladurée macaroon, bien sûr. A cohesive collection of thoughtfully selected, world-class contemporary art is sprinkled throughout the multilevel space to complement the interior design. (Two of her favorite pieces are a Robert Mapplethorpe leaf photograph from the Baldwin Gallery and a Starn brothers Buddha, in the media room.)
Art by Robert Mapplethorpe and a warm palette of taupe, chocolate brown, black and slate gray offer tranquil respite in the master bedroom.
The final product is visually sophisticated yet relaxed; it authentically embodies that simple, elegant Aspen aesthetic. Rich fabrics and textures utilize a neutral palette of taupe, chocolate brown and slate gray, layering the space and echoing the glorious natural surroundings. “I knew that I wanted a contemporary home,” Tisch describes, “but I didn’t want it to feel like a Soho loft displaced in the mountains. I wanted it to have a calm feeling.”
An immediate sense of freedom and leisure is evident after crossing the threshold; though super luxe, this is clearly a home serious about kids, fun and mountain activities—a perfect interpretation of a modern family sanctuary. The home exudes an effortless chic, like the woman whose tastes inspired it.
In addition to running this household of three children (Elizabeth, 11; and twins Holden and Zachary, nine), she has also been a tireless fundraiser for charitable causes like the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, which she cofounded. Working alongside honorary chairs Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Tisch helps the WCRF raise critical funds to fast-track early diagnosis of cancer in women. The fund has also helped create the ambitious Breast Cancer Biomarker Discovery Project.
And last year, with best friend Wiatt, she opened Fashionology, an interactive fashion-design concept with an online store, aimed at aspiring tween clothing designers. Shoppers design their own garments (think hoodies, tanks and fleece pants) by using touch screens to customize and embellish threads with cool accents such as blingy charms, rhinestones and graphics.
This might just be Tisch’s time to shine, as she prepares to move to New York City with her children in September. One can almost hear the faint strains of Aretha Franklin singing “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” when chatting with Tisch; like good friend Tory Burch, she’s redefining life after divorce, along with other high-profile women. No longer content with being stay-at-home moms or benefit-circuit staples,they are parlaying their well-heeled style, contacts and business acumen into exciting personal endeavors.
With all these new adventures and changes in Tisch’s life, she relishes being able to retreat to Aspen and recharge with family and friends. “My favorite thing about Aspen is the variety that it offers,” says Tisch. “Whether it’s people or activities, you won’t run out of interesting characters to meet or fun things to do. I especially enjoy having people over for dinner. My kids love to help me prepare. Our concoctions are not always edible, but we always have fun.” If, as they say, every home tells a story, then this one is about friendship, joy and style. And most importantly, it has a happy ending.
TOP 5: Jamie Tisch lists her Aspen Must-Dos
DINE: Dinner at Campo de Fiori, Matsuhisa and Cache Cache; lunch from Phil at Butcher’s Block
CHILD’S PLAY: The Devil’s Punch Bowl at The Grottos
DON’T MISS: Hitting the farmers’ market on Saturday. “It’s the best! Local artisans bring their finest. I find myself loaded down with everything from beef jerky to pottery.”
ART STAR: Baldwin Gallery
SUMMER STAPLE: Hiking
BOTTOM: Lucite backlit mirrors take center stage in the master bath
photographs by robert millman