When Gateway Canyons Resort was first being built, the owners called upon Suzanne Geibel McCammon, specializing in rustic-chic interior design, to outfit the space. The results included mine-shaft-inspired details and hand-carved Peruvian pieces.
By the time John and Maureen Hendricks made the acquaintance of Suzanne Geibel McCammon, the Park City–based designer had already spent more than a decade outfitting resort-area second homes – from the snow-packed altitudes of Crested Butte, to the briny shores of Nantucket, to points further afield. Gateway Canyons Resort owners (if the name “Hendricks” sounds familiar, yes, John is also the founder of Discovery Channel) invited her to southwest Colorado to execute an interior design for the 6,000-acre getaway that drew on the frontier landscape enveloping it. The result, McCammon says, is a rustic interior design that exemplifies refined ruggedness, a dose of clean-lined modernity, and bringing the outdoors in.
On What Resonated with Her About the Unaweep Canyon
Gateway Canyons is a lot like Moab and the Canyonlands: rugged with all the red rock cliffs, and in the distance, you have the alpine La Sal mountain range. It’s about a 35-minute drive through the canyon from Grand Junction to the resort – depending on the time of year, you might have to stop for a herd of elk. You don’t hear traffic. You hear birds. It really is a retreat.
On Dissolving Boundaries with the World Outside in Her Design
When John, Maureen, and I created a color palette for the rooms, it was really about standing outside and seeing the red rock canyons, the clay, the big blue skies, and change of seasons that brings so many colors, from green to the yellow in aspen trees in the fall. There’s also an old abandoned mine nearby, so I thought, “What would you find if you were exploring that old mine shaft?” Certainly, you’d find patinated metal, and that’s where the concept of those headboard walls with copper paint that we patinated came up. Then, we’re in red-rock clay country, so we brought that element inside: You’ll see American clay in the fireplace surrounds in many of the rooms.
On Synthesizing Style from a Pastiche of Traditions
Maureen and I took a trip to New Mexico, and when you go into the archives of the museums, you find a whole convergence of East and West styles: Southwest, Indian, Asian, South American, Spanish. We designed some of the fabrics in the rooms off ethnic gowns that we found down there. A friend of mine from Turkey made six huge beaded chandeliers that hang in the Entrada restaurant, along with some custom rugs for the Casitas.
We had the beds, desks, and dining tables in the Casitas rooms made by a Peruvian company – there are even a few bowls and other pieces hand-carved by tribes from the Peruvian rainforest. You hear so many resorts say that every four to six years you’re supposed to turn over the furniture, but John and Maureen wanted furniture that was timeless, that made a lasting impression. Six years later, that furniture doesn’t need to be replaced.
On the Hendrickses’ As Sources of Inspiration
We blew up and framed John’s photography to hang all over. He’s a great photographer, and he captures everything: dinosaur tracks imprinted at a spot at the top of the pass on the north side of the La Sal mountain range, bear cubs up in trees. And Maureen is a quilter with this incredible quilt collection. She hosts a quilting convention every year, where she’ll buy from the artists and give me a few to put in framing blocks all over the resort. In fact, in the convention center lobby hung up high, there’s a huge triptych quilt – probably 12 feet wide and six feet tall – depicting the palisade that the resort is designed around. If you stand far back enough, it’s this huge, beautiful piece of art that looks like an oil painting. Then, you get up close, and little pieces of fabric make up an incredible scene. I had always thought of quilting in terms of a Pennsylvania quilt that goes on a bed, but it’s so much more.