A Couple Renovated a 1958 Motor Lodge in Colorado to Create a Modern Retreat

On their first date, Kaitlyn Canfield and Philip Sterling found common ground with a mutual dream to open a quirky hotel. But the couple didn't simply let this idea go as their relationship progressed. They decided to uproot their lives in Dallas — leaving behind jobs in retail and graphic design — to make it happen, and settled on renovating a 1958 motor lodge in Salida, Colorado. "It wasn't dirty or anything, it was just unloved," Canfield said about the location. "It hadn't been updated since the '80s. It still had all the big-tube TVs and the old carpet." In order to outfit the building's 16 rooms with a look belonging to this century, the pair opted for a design aesthetic that Canfield described as a blend of minimalism and the Southwest. The two filled the common and private areas with rugged and soft textures, and mixed their personal art with thrift store finds. When it was finished, the Amigo Motor Lodge looked like a bit of Marfa, Texas and Southern California amidst the ski slopes and hiking trails of the Rockies. And while the couple opened this property last summer, they're already looking toward their next shared goal: to get married in May.

exterior of Amigo Motor Lodge
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credit: Brandon Lopez

Coats of white paint for the brick exterior contrast black guest room doors labelled with oversized, playful numbers. A pair of cherry-red vintage metal chairs in front of each room provide a pop of color.

check-in area at Amigo Motor Lodge
credit: Brandon Lopez

The check in area almost resembles a family home with its collection of ivory sheepskin throws, striped blankets, coffee table books, and board games. Side tables made out of tree stumps complement soft leather seating, and succulents provide color throughout the space. The intimate decor was intentional, Canfield said, because the couple wanted the hotel to feel like guests were staying at "a cool friend's house."

one of the rooms at Amigo Motor Lodge
credit: Brandon Lopez

Each room maintains a minimalist approach to decor, where accessories add color to walls that are either painted charcoal or covered with cedar-shake shingles. Succulent plants are potted in vintage beer cans, natural trinkets fill bird's nests, and Navajo-inspired tapestry pillows enliven white bedding.

one of the guestroom baths at Amigo Motor Lodge
credit: Brandon Lopez

Original cast-iron tubs were refinished in the bathrooms, while the floors were upgraded with what Canfield refers to as a "funky patterned tile." White subway tiles and Malin + Goetz toiletries complete the look.

outdoor communal space at Amigo Motor Lodge
credit: Brandon Lopez

The couple likes getting to know their guests, often while roasting s'mores. "They'll bring beer, we'll have s'mores. It's a big family," Canfield said. There's also a hot tub in the middle of the property for après–ski time.