From a young ski bum, bartender, ski patroller, carpenter, and river guide, to owning and operating a successful local business, Rob Peeters of Naked Aspen Designs in Fraser has worked hard to create his mountain lifestyle.
“Working out of my humble wood shop located in my 2.5 car garage, I took the bull by the horns and knew this was my path to being self employed!” said Peeters. “Life will throw you some curveballs, but if you stick with it and focus your intentions on what you want to accomplish, anything is possible.”
Peeters focused on his dream while making time to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle filled with adventures.
“Naked Aspen Designs is celebrating 16 years in business!”, said Peeters. Although technically he has been working on his artisan and craftsman skills for more than 20 years. Peeters registered his business in late 1999 while dabbling with log furniture ideas and designs. “I took my early designs around Colorado to summer craft fairs and art shows to gauge the work and make some money as well. The response was great!”
In 2004, after spending 5 years doing the art show circuit, Peeters decided to open a retail store in Fraser on Eisenhower Drive, in the old Fraser post office building. That location was off the beaten path of highway 40, but Peeters quickly established a following. “It was a bit scary, but it turned out to be a successful endeavor”, adding, “a brick and mortar store is much different than traveling each summer to art show..”
After the 2008 recession hit, Peeters noticed a significant decline in traditional log furniture sales. People were investing in smaller houses and condos, compared to large, opulent trophy homes, so the traditional large chunky aspen and pine log furniture didn’t make sense. That type of furniture takes up a great deal of space. Peeters said, “In business, it is important to change with the times so my designs shifted to smaller profile log, barnwood, and reclaimed wood furniture which turned out to be a great decision”. According to Peeters, the response to his new designs was fantastic and the amount of custom orders he received kept him “quite busy”.
Between custom designs, and operating his Home Decor and Furniture store, Rob finds plenty of time to get out and play. He is an avid skier always looking for an excuse to get out and make some turns. In the off season he spends time rafting the rivers of the west and traveling the country with his wife Shelley with their 1966, completely restored and renovated Streamline: The Countess, in tow. “The Countess was a dream of mine. It took nearly 5 years to complete and I am proud of the way it turned out”. Peeters brought the old trailer back to life with some beautiful custom finishes inside and out. If you get a chance, it’s definitely worth a peek. It will give you a taste of his craftsmanship and eye for custom finishes.
In 2011, Peeters decided to relocate to the Fraser Valley Shopping Center for better exposure. The Naked Aspen designs have shifted a bit over the last 6 years or so, from a custom furniture and design business into an assortment of amazing local art, home décor, and gifts. “It has become an artisan market of sorts”, Peeters said. “I still craft and design custom furniture, but now I offer an array of unique, one of a kind art from all over Colorado and the country”.
Naked Aspen still offers custom aspen log style designs, but Peeters said, “I have shifted my designs to more closely reflect the current furniture market.” Many of his new designs are more along the lines of ‘Refined Rustic’, or ‘Mountain Modern’.
From modern looks, steampunk and industrial styles, “I have to stay with the flow of what people are looking for in furniture and designs, it keeps me on my toes and I love getting the creative juices flowing with these new design styles.
In addition to custom furniture orders, Naked Aspen Designs carries over 25 local artisans. Some beautiful work ranging from pottery, photography, metal art, wall art, watercolor art, local jewelry, greeting cards, hand turned bowls and vases, glass art, candles, and tons of gift type items ranging from $10 to $50, perfect for wedding gifts or just fun, cool Colorado memorabilia for tourists.
With all the fresh snow in the Valley this weekend, don’t expect to see Rob in the shop (probably out on the hill), but pop by his store in the Fraser Valley Shopping Center next to Murdoch’s and mention this article for 10% off any one item, up to $100 off!!