White Buffalo Lodges - Architectural Digest August 1994. Taming a Tepee by Dena Kaye. Although the interior has electricity and hardwood floors, the hand-peeled lodgepole frame, exterior smoke flaps and eastern orientation are true to the original Plains Indians' dwellings. White Buffalo Lodges - Taming a Tepee, a Western Fantasy in Aspen. Architectural Digest August 1994, Taming a Tepee by Dena Kaye
Photographed by Dave Marlow

"They wanted a whole house in there - an office, bedroom and entertainment center in a twenty-eight foot diameter space," explains Cassandra Lohr who designed the interior of a tepee retreat on her clients' Aspen property. "But with the tall pole frame and circular space, it doesn't feel cramped."

On a duvet of snow in winter that becomes an endless bed of summer wildflowers, a lone tepee stands. A noble signature for a people and their way of life, this tepee respects many of the structural and spiritual traditions of the Native Americans. Even the distant setting, a ring of mountains sometimes reaching peaks of fourteen thousand feet, represents the Indians' sacred shape, the eternal circle. But here in Starwood, an exclusive expanse about twelve minutes from downtown Aspen, this tepee sports some strictly techno-modern features: a pop-up Mitsubishi TV and a cordless telephone with a customized touch-the last four digits of the number spell TIPI.

"I thought my client was kidding when he asked me to build a tepee," says interior designer Cassandra Lohr. "I told him I didn't know the first thing about tepees." But she had recently created several rugged, yet soigne western-themed houses and log cabins. In fact, her client had seen one such retreat that belonged to a Saudi prince. "I told him I wanted my own retreat too, but that I could only afford a tepee," he recalls. "I just jokingly said it, but the idea stuck."
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