In this pink-on-pink home, everything comes roses
The Aspen home known as Happy Hill is exactly as the name suggests, a joyful break from the world, with enviable views. Here Patrick Mele, an ELLE DECOR A-List designer, recently outfitted a home for his client Sarah Kennedy Flug. The former actress has lived in Aspen for 27 years and purchased the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed home in 2020.
I brought Millie on the advice of a mutual friend with architect Mark Noel. “I was looking for an interior designer who was passionate about color and knew all the rules—and how to break them,” says Flug. She and Millie clicked. Soon they were laughing at each other’s jokes and finishing each other’s sentences.
In the 1970s and 1980s, this little blond dynamo was a performer with a comedic flair, a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Thanks to her acting career, today Flug is involved in many causes, from animal rescue to the local children’s hospital. “She lives with such fullness,” Millie says. “Every single person who walked into this house — the contractors, the electricians, the carpenters — was treated with so much love and respect that they ended up obsessed with her and the project.”
She bought the house five years after her husband, businessman Marty Flug, died. Built in the 1980s, the 13,000-square-foot residence, whose design resembles an A-frame interlocking barn, once served as a guardroom for a Saudi prince who at the time lived next door. Although it’s located just 15 minutes from downtown Aspen, the home’s surrounding 10 acres and gorgeous views are reminiscent of Flug’s native Oregon. Every day, a herd of wild elk appears in her backyard. “I have a conversation with them,” she says.
Flug’s friends call her “Pinks” because she loves pink (even her emails are written in Barbie’s favorite color). Until this project, she expressed her love of color at home mainly through the art she collected. With the help of New York gallery owner Leo Castelli, she and her first husband, Edwin Roth, assembled a collection that included works by Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, and Fernando Botero. But if her previous homes tended to be more silent, this time she had only herself to satisfy. “You always compromise,” she says. “In this house, I was able to do everything I couldn’t do before.”
She wanted a background drenched in color; Millie picked up colors from the large-scale artworks in her collection. In the double-height living room, she got her wish — Florentine pink on the walls paired with a cloud-like ceiling by decorative artist Matthew Tyrrell. The soaring library—which also serves as its own dining room—is painted a rich red and filled with books, chandeliers, and mixed chairs. “Sarah provides non-stop entertainment,” says Millie. “It’s a really delightful home that’s fully utilized.”
The primary bedroom has an Auntie Mame theme, with decorative motifs straight out of Renzo Mongiardino’s playbook (tent-shaped ceiling, hand-painted shelf). Across from Flug’s bed is a statue of Joan Miró, standing sentinel like an elegant version of E.T. The lot was previously owned by Flug collecting guides, Shirley and Miles Fetterman. I spotted it in an auction catalog several years after they died.
Throughout the year-long renovation, Millie negotiated the project like someone walking a tightrope, pushing the decor to the limits without making a false move. “We wanted nuance and layers, a mix of old and new, raw and refined,” he says. The vibrant results fully reflect the home’s larger-than-life occupant. “Sarah is petite, but she loves big, luxurious furniture,” says Millie. For Flug, her home feels like a true expression of her personality. “This house is a celebration of my journey and my life,” she says. “I choose happiness every day.”
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of ELLE DECOR. Participate
(Tags for translation)Patrick Mele