Cameron Shepherd, a partner at Studio Mesa design firm, believes that beautifully designed spaces should not compromise on practicality. Proving that functionality and aesthetics can work hand in hand, he transformed his outdated mountain home into a stunning masterpiece. His advice to homeowners is to be patient before making any major remodels. It is essential to move in and experience the space before implementing any significant changes.
Building Studio Mesa
Shepherd’s creativity has been the driving force behind his career. He was the theater director for Gyeonggi English Village in South Korea before returning to the States to study graphic design. He then began flipping houses, which was a natural transition for him. Growing up with a mother who was an interior decorator and a father who was a finishing carpenter instilled in him an eye for design and patience in the remodeling process.
Shepherd reconnected with a high school schoolmate, Jill Norman, who was pivoting into interior design. They joined forces and opened Studio Mesa in August 2020. Norman is a LEED-certified, high-end designer focused on second-stage touches and decor, while Shepherd’s strengths lie in spatial planning, hard finishes, and renovations. Inspired by modern Montecito coastal and American Southwest landscapes, Studio Mesa incorporates elements of natural wood and fibers, gentle color palettes, and ambient light.
A Beautiful Transformation
Shepherd and his husband Peter Sloterdyk, a marketing executive and musical theater composer, moved to Colorado seeking serenity in the wilderness. They purchased a remote 3,410-square-foot mountain-style house on four acres near Evergreen. Shepherd explains, “I loved the land. It’s rugged with incredible rock formations, pine tree forests, and fresh air. The house has vaulted ceilings, a south-facing sunroom, and a great loft space with views of the valley. It shines in spring and autumn when the Aspen trees rustle in the breeze and I can keep the windows opened day and night.”
Inspired by the surrounding nature, Shepherd added eco-friendly Scandinavian wood floors, refreshing colors, and focal elements throughout the house. He expanded the deck and filled the sunroom with greenery. The sunroom is his favorite space for taking in the orchestral wilderness. “Little steps can make a difference,” he says. “Living plants transform a space by bringing life indoors.”
Initially, Shepherd wanted to renovate the kitchen entirely. But soon, he realized, “You don’t have to rip everything out. You can completely transform a room and a home with small and thoughtful touches.”
After painting the cabinets with a coat of Sherwin Williams brownish-gray Urbane Bronze paint and installing strategic pendant lights, he was able to appreciate the original bulky wood cabinets, curved windows, and pink granite countertops. The combination cooled the granite’s warm tone and made the kitchen look elegant. “Don’t be afraid of a gentle refresh,” he says. “Flip through magazines for inspiration.”
When asked how Colorado homeowners can modernize dated mountain homes without a major redesign, Shepherd says, “We believe that good design is simultaneously beautiful and functional, and should be accessible to all. Sometimes a design refresh is all you need. Live in your space for a while and take time to know your home. If you have the luxury of being patient, figure out what you love and accentuate it.”