In today’s “everything old is cool again” culture, here’s an idea: Run-down 1950s-era roadside motels are just waiting to be transformed into hip, modern boutique lodges. Simply trade all that wood paneling and shag carpet for porcelain tile and red shell chairs and—poof!—you have hipster-magnet, midcentury-chic digs. At least, that was the design vision for soon-to-be husband-and-wife duo Philip Sterling and Kaitlyn Canfield when they bought the Amigo Motor Lodge (formerly the Aspen Leaf Lodge) off Highway 50 in Salida two years ago. Lucky for anyone headed to the white-water rafting mecca, the pair totally nailed it.
Today, the lodge displays the perfect alchemy of their long-held dream to revamp a roadside motel—they talked about it on their first date—and Canfield’s sharp eye (her background is in graphic design). “I’m all about meshing different textures and leaving a lot of open, unadorned space,” Canfield says. That spartan sensibility lets details shine: floor-to-ceiling cedar shingles in room number three; a pegboard wall strung with a vintage 48-star American flag in room six; or the air plants and retro black fridge that greet guests in the lobby. “If you pull the art, the pillows, and the textiles out, it’s really pretty plain,” Canfield says.
The Amigo aesthetic is difficult to define. You could call it minimalist, but it’s warmer than that, and “modern-retro Southwestern” is a little too kitschy. In truth, Canfield’s look sits at the intersection of functional and playful for a mix that feels downright familiar—the kind of home-away-from-home comfort that’s always been a hallmark of road-trip stopovers.
Amigo-ize Your Home:
“We were very budget-driven,” owner and designer Kaitlyn Canfield says. “We needed fixtures that looked a certain way but also fit the $150-per-night price.” She scoured Home Depot, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, a handful of online stores, and antique shops from Texas to New Mexico to pull together the lodge’s look.
> Canfield found space-saving, plug-in pendant lights at Denver’s Color Cord Company. (Check out the cords wrapped in preppy houndstooth fabric.)
> Oaxacan handwoven Baya Lumbar Pillows from online home-goods store the Citizenry add vibrant, geometric pattern to several rooms.
> In the lobby, hard-wearing black leather chairs from West Elm are softened by furry throws from Etsy.
—Photography by Poul Ober