Veranda Magazine (Nov. 2018) – Free Rein
Pro golfer Greg Norman and his designer wife, Kirsten, unleash their love of the great outdoors at their high-style, low-key Colorado ranch
It’s easy to understand why Kirsten And Greg Norman don’t mind making the 2,200-mile leap from their sleek, yacht-inspired home in Florida to their remote log lodge in northwest Colorado. Traffic? Only if you count the elk. Noise? Not a peep. Humidity? Almost zero. And there isn’t one hint of big-city light pollution. “We are blanketed with stars that are so clear,” says Greg, “and seem so close.”
The champion golfer–turned-entrepreneur and his wife, an interior designer, come as often as they can to the tiny Colorado town of Meeker, population 2,295—even though the trip there involves navigating dramatic hillside switchbacks that are as twisty as pretzels. The Normans don’t mind a bit. Just put the Range Rover in a lower gear and watch out for frolicking deer.
Greg first fell for the area in the late 1990s, when he was asked to design a golf course—his company has designed more than 100, on six continents—in the Meeker valley. He ended up turning down the project, Kirsten says, “because he felt the land was too beautiful to ruin with a golf course that would only be used for a six-month season.” Instead, the smitten Greg bought the first parcel of what would become a nearly 12,000-acre ranch, complete with guest cabins, a dance hall, a river packed with trout, and equestrian facilities. (That’s where the couple’s 24 quarter horses hang out.)
The house, a massive log lodge, was a corporate retreat before the couple bought it and reinvented it as their home. Greg had just one design wish: that the dark interior lighten up. Kirsten, who has designed hotel interiors around the world, including the Fairmont Nile City in Cairo and the Park Hyatt Zurich—and who now heads the Norman Design Group, which creates interiors for Greg Norman residential communities—set to work. She bright- ened finishes everywhere, mirrored certain walls to reflect the views of trees and sky, and traded heavy velvet curtains for gauzy Roman shades. Into this brighter shell, she stirred furnishings both rural and refined. “Ralph Lauren has been a lifelong inspira- tion,” she says, and so were the flora and fauna right outside. “We are in the middle of a national forest, so our surroundings inspired the use of natural elements.” Nods to the area’s Native American culture come through in patterned curtains that evoke trading blankets. But Kirsten was careful with the typical mountain-house cues, balancing those elements with glamorous light fixtures, black-and-white photographs, and unexpected pops of luxe, such as an ornate refectory table in the great room that would be at home in a Tudor manor.
Life around the lodge, though, is anything but formal. When in residence, Greg spends hours working the land—not with a nine iron but with a bulldozer. Days of horseback riding or snow- mobiling end with cocktails at the bar, with a crackling fire nearby and a CinemaScope sunset as a chaser. A meal may follow, for the whole blended family—the couple married in 2010, with two children each, and now have several grandkids—or just for the two of them. Then, maybe, backgammon or s’mores. The only sure thing? It won’t be uptight. “Greg and I,” says Kirsten, “are very relaxed, barefoot people.”