Did We Just Find Our Dream Bathroom?
Designer and beauty guru Margot Elena takes us inside her zen Colorado abode.
Published May 6, 2018 5:15 AM
’s name from her prettily packaged (designed by her, of course) beauty brands Lollia, TokyoMilk, Love & Toast, Library of Flowers, and The Cottage Greenhouse, which are sold at boutiques and stores like Anthropologie.
The Greenwood Village, Colorado-based creative is known for her floral aesthetic from both a design and fragrance perspective, and she thrives on creating vivid experiences for her audience through an assortment of products. Hailed as a “designer’s designer,” Margot Elena is known for introducing “brand libraries”—ie, a plethora of products balanced in design, fragrance, and formulation.
Elena, her husband Travis, and their daughter have lived in their home for a little over a decade, although they moved out for a year to do a top-to-bottom full gut and remodel—their second—with the same contractor as the first. “How many people do that—a full custom remodel twice, and stay married to both husband and contractor?! I’m totally laughing,” she says.
According to Elena, her home was indeed a labor of love. Here, a tour of her idyllic Colorado abode.
Elena says that some days are very structured and dictated by the many deadlines that are always in her creative path. “Some days, I will be working on a solution, and I putter around in creative procrastination… these are usually the days you’ll find me cleaning my work area,” she says. “Those who know me better than I know myself know when I’m really cooking something up, because then, I get into cleaning and organizing mode. They’ll laugh and point it out to me before I’m even fully aware of that.”
That’s how she knows she’s on the brink of something especially creative. She adds that she is very fortunate because some days, she works from home, and other days, she works in the studio. “It’s always fun to work in the studio because my incredible team never fails to make me laugh and inspire me,” she says.
The vibe they’ve cultivated for the outdoor space comes courtesy of her husband, Travis. “He not only designed the space, but did everything you see here, by himself,” she explains. He’s responsible for everything, from the dry-stacked rock walls to the construction of the tea house and gated garden.
Elena notes that when they first moved into the house, the backyard was a fairly unusable space with a large hill: It had very little flat area. “We loved the house because you get a peek of the mountains, and the windows line the entire back of the house so that the sunsets are unbelievable and just glow,” she says.
Travis is a professional gardener with quite a lot of landscape experience, so he was confident he could turn the uninspired yard into something beautiful. “We wanted something that felt a bit like a walk in an English country garden and a peaceful retreat,” Elena explains. “We especially wanted some spaces to discover, a place to gather, and for our daughter to play and grow up with an organic garden.”
Elena and her family like to relax by the treehouse her husband built, which connects with a catwalk from the kitchen door, and has a swing down beneath.
“This has become our favorite activity—to watch our little one, as she currently can’t get enough of the swing! So, we sit in the chairs near the fire pit, and the evening just drifts happily away,” Elena says.
Elena also has quite a collection of Buddhas, as she has meditated on and off all of her life. “I began to collect beautiful Buddhas to remind me to be mindful—to pause and have gratitude,” she says. “To breathe and to return to center.” This particular Buddha can be seen at night from inside the house as he sits, lit up, on a little hill—a thoughtful part of the landscape.
The wooden structure on which the Buddha sits is the entrance and gate to Elena’s organic garden. “It has a simple, low-ringing chime hanging to catch the wind,” she says. “Our daughter loves to water the plants and pick tomatoes and veggies—she calls it her house,” Elena laughs. Travis built the garden with raised beds so that it’s easier to maintain, and it has a high-screened fence because they have so many rabbits running around. “Next to the garden is our tea house, which we love to paint and do crafts in from early spring to late fall,” she says.
The garden inspires a lot of the botanical bent of Elena’s work: “I have a lot of phone meetings in the garden,” she confesses. “I am so lucky to be able to take a call and let the sun wash over me, and listen to birds as we conduct business. To me, the garden is such a place of joy and peace—it is a true escape in the city.”
A self-proclaimed textile junkie, Elena has collected antique and interesting fabrics for most of her design career. “They inspire and inform a lot of my designs, and my sensibility of how even packaging can mix and match in scale, texture, and motif,” she says.
As for the color schemes? “It feels like you are in a tree house because the main floor is above the majority of the garden, so as you look out the window, you are elevated in the tree line,” she explains. “Because of this, I wanted the eye to see beyond the walls and be drawn to the outdoors.”
Elena selected soothing greys as a neutral complement to the greens. In the master bedroom, she wanted to play up this dynamic even more—so, she opted for a charcoal grey. “The walls would push away, and the garden would call the eye through.”
Her daughter’s room was a conundrum for Elena because she wanted it to be perfect for her—restful, but playful. She was after a motif that would give her daughter fond memories growing up without a “too baby” color scheme.
“I wanted to create texture and spaces that she could discover and grow with,” says Elena. The navy floor done by Travis helps some: “When the family sits in there, with the ship chandelier above the bed, the blue floor feels as if you are floating in the middle of a little ocean.”
Elena loves the character radiating through the items she and her family have collected—as an artist and designer, she became hooked on pieces that have an authentic history to them.
“I choose pieces that have a warmth to them and invite you to rest, to pause, or even to be curious,” she explains. “We also have very consciously tried to create a home that makes our daughter a part of these spaces—nothing is too precious or off-limits at all. We have created her own little studio for play and creativity, right alongside our ‘best’ things.”
As a result, Elena makes sure her daughter has her art supplies and books out and easily accessible to her at any time, along with her own little tables, drop cloths, and paint smocks. Elena notes that they were mindful to choose materials and toys that could be a part of the aesthetic, but would also be inspiring for open-ended play. “Her objects and the things she values are truly equally beautiful to us,” she says.
Because Margot Elena is a beauty mogul, the bathroom wins for most dramatic and decorated… but of course. “Crazy behind-the-scenes note: In order to save money with the contractors, my husband dug—by himself—a six-foot deep huge hole to accommodate the remodel for the bathroom,” she says by way of backstory. “So, though unglamorous, that has to be my favorite part from the heart. I mean, who does that?!”
Elena wanted the sunken level in which the tub sits to offer clean, unobscured views of the floor-to-ceiling windows they had put in so that she could see the moon in the summer. “It beams straight through, and at times is so bright, it can wake you up at night—I love that!” she says. “The windows by the tub fully open—so it is something out of a book when you relax in the tub on a summer evening as the sun sets, all while looking into the ‘love garden.’”
The love garden? Well, yes. Travis made Elena a secret little side garden that is just for her. “You can get to it only from the master bath, and it has steps and platforms that seem to float above the plants,” she explains. “There is gorgeous Guan Yin, goddess of compassion, who sits atop one of the platforms.” At night—in the moonlight—you can see her clearly, and it provides a calming, relaxing vibe.
As for the rest of the bathroom, Elena wanted clean lines, but with an earthy, grounded feeling to it. “It was all about the materials, natural stone, and warm walnut woods,” she says. Details like the wooden slats in the shower and in-floor lighting make the space special. The seamless, floor-to-ceiling glass in the shower, as well as the drawer unit that floats on a mirror, creates the illusion of the room expanding.
Elena agrees that the aesthetic of the bedroom is bohemian, but only because she didn’t intentionally choose a style. “Growing up with a musician father and artist mother, these are the interesting things my house was always filled with,” she explains. She remembers growing up with a lot of canvases, instruments, clay, and paints around her milieu.
“To live without these colors that feel like energy and life, well… I suppose I couldn’t even imagine,” she says. Elena lives authentically, and surrounds herself with things she thinks will make her family feel love and happiness. She even designed the pillows in the bedroom herself: The Euro squares are embroidered and a part of her Lollia Lifestyle Collection, while she had the long pink pillow in the front made from an antique Kilim rug. The duvet is from Anthropologie.
“It’s not so much about pieces, but about how these spaces and things make you feel,” Elena says. “That is ultimately what is most important to me.”
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