Aspen roads can take you home to the place once owned by John Denver.
The public got a glimpse of the fabled musician’s residence on Thursday through an open house after the gated-community property between Aspen and Woody Creek hit the market for $11 million.
The house at 570 Johnson Drive was built in 1972, a year after Denver’s single, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” lit his stardom en route to over 33 million records sold worldwide before his untimely death at age 53.
Aspen couple Denis and Kelly O’Donovan bought the house in December 2016 for $2.75 million — $8 million under the original asking price, which included a guest house on a nearby lot that was Denver’s recording studio. That property wasn’t part of the final sale to the O’Donovans and is still in the possession of the owners directly after Denver.
“(The house) was as-is, no inspection, leap of faith,” Kelly O’Donovan said of when she and her husband bought it. “We were house shopping, it was in the right price range. My husband is from Ireland and I’m from Texas and we both grew up listening to John Denver.”
The O’Donovans replaced the roof, did a complete electrical rewire and redid all the plumbing, as well as installing new floors and windows. They also made it a labor of love, preserving its more elegant features.
“We salvaged beautiful stained-glass installations, and sinks and handles and faucets and four wood-burning fireplaces,” Kelly O’Donovan said.
They added a bedroom and raised the kitchen ceiling to the second floor, giving the house with private nooks tucked into its open floor plan even more appeal for entertaining and family gatherings.
The view: “Out of this world, incredible,” Kelly O’Donovan said. “There’s tons of wildlife: foxes, hawks, deer and giant elk. It’s a peaceful and serene place.”
The main mansion underwent a remodel in 1985 and its 7,735 square feet engulf five bedrooms, five baths and two half-baths, a workout room, three wet bars and office space among numerous other amenities. The remodel fused modern elements into the 46-year-old structure, which still features its original cabinets, albeit with a re-purposed feel.
After Denver crashed his private plane into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, Calif., on Oct. 12, 1997, while performing a series of touch-and-go landings at a nearby airport, unidentified buyers acquired his Starwood neighborhood home and guest house for $3.68 million.
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The home was vulnerable to being demolished because it has no historic designations.
“They could have (demolished) it, but they really wanted to preserve what they could,” said agent Jim Bineau, per The Aspen Times, who works for Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. “They were really excited that it was John Denver’s house. It had meaning to them.”
This decision safeguarded the place where Denver made his home in the early 1970s, in an area he often sang about in songs that emphasized his joy for nature and aversion to city life, like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Starwood in Aspen.”
It’s a long way from L.A. to Denver
It’s a long time to hang in the sky
It’s a long way home to Starwood in Aspen
A sweet Rocky Mountain paradise
Oh, my sweet Rocky Mountain paradise