Beyond the stunning beauty of quaking Aspen groves, babbling creeks and monumental snowcapped peaks, there is another reason why celebrities flock to Aspen. The promise of privacy has lured countless stars to the Rocky Mountain resort town for decades. One of those starlets is Melanie Griffith. Long considered “Hollywood royalty” as the daughter of actress Tippi Hedren and mother of Dakota Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Gray”), Griffith began coming to Aspen in “a previous life” with ex-husband Don Johnson and later with then-husband, Antonio Banderas, who told her in 2002: “Go find us a house!”
“I wanted to find a house that was $5 million or less, and everything was $10 million or $12 million,” she recalls. “The homes were huge and not our style, and the last one I looked at was our house.”
Her house — a 7,391 square-foot refined log cabin built in 1994 by a couple, a writer and a potter — immediately captivated the actress with its secluded location nestled in the national forest on the backside of Aspen Mountain. The drive alone set the stage for an actress’s dream private life, seven miles up Castle Creek Road and via a tiny back country road crisscrossed with hiking and biking trails. The majestic views of Aspen Highlands Ridge and the Conundrum Valley further cemented her choice of residence.
“You don’t see anything but wilderness,” she describes. “It’s on a peak at 10,000 feet. You see no other people. It’s the most beautiful view — you see the Five Fingers. It’s just extraordinary.”
Griffith recently listed the home on the market for $4.8 million with Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse in Aspen. Says Wells: “This rare Aspen mountain retreat is meant for the discerning buyer with an active outdoor Aspen lifestyle. Buyers can avoid the crowds and snowmobile to the top of Aspen Mountain for first tracks, or experience Aspen’s legendary summer recreation out their backdoor with the ultimate Rocky Mountain dream home.”
Wells characterizes the home’s style as “rustic elegance meet 21st century comforts.” Natural light floods through floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, while the vaulted ceilings and glass-filled gables of windows provide a sense of openness and connection to the outdoors.
Most rooms have views. “An entertainer’s paradise,” says Wells, the home easily accommodates families and guests with an open concept gourmet kitchen, grand living room and expansive decks enveloping the property. There is also a 9,000-bottle wine cellar and a game room.
“We kept updating it all the time — especially technologically,” adds Griffith. “There are these huge beam ceilings and they are so beautiful. The only upkeep I do is to make sure that the wood is maintained. I lacquer it, and use a special oil on the outside to protect it from the harsh winter weather.”
Griffith thoughtfully refreshed and decorated the home through the years to make the home more suitable to family life. She blended antiques and rare finds with many of the original architectural details, including the tiles made crafted by the original owners, creating an eclectic aesthetic for the home. She converted their work spaces into bedrooms, bringing the total count to five, including two guest apartments that are connected to the house. The flexibility of the floorplan served her family well through the years, as children grew up and needs changed. “At one point, we had 18 people staying there,” she says. The master bedroom has expansive windows overlooking a view deck with a spacious bathroom and two large closets.
However, it’s what happens beyond the home — the stunning, untamed nature and adventure that awaits — that makes it such a special place to set down roots. Skiers, hikers or nature lovers will find their ultimate retreat.
“You can snowmobile up to the top of the mountain and ski down,” she says. “The hiking is extraordinary. It’s direct from the house — you don’t even have to go from a trail. Plus, Aspen has everything, especially in the summer. I love the wintertime, but the summers are quite extraordinary. You can do river rafting, and I love to parasail off the top of the mountains.”
Griffith concludes: “It’s such a great family home and a beautiful retreat. If you’re a couple, it’s the most romantic place to be. It’s hard to part with, but I’d love for some other family to be able to enjoy it.”