On the Air: HGTV to feature Benton’s home

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen’s favorite 1970s TV personality and Playboy cover model will be back on the air Tuesday evening.

Starwood resident Barbi Benton, whose unusual home was featured in August on the MTV program “Extreme Cribs,” will take HGTV viewers on a tour of the same house during a segment of the program “Million Dollar Rooms.” The show will first air at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and will be shown sporadically over the following weeks.

Bart Prince, of Albuquerque, N.M., designed the house, nicknamed “The Copper Palace” because of its copper roof. It covers 24,000 square feet of floor space and sits on 35 acres on Starwood’s west side. It was finished in 1995 after six years of planning, design and construction, and has been featured in numerous magazines and TV shows.

Benton lives there with her husband, developer George Gradow, whom she married in 1979 following a lengthy relationship with Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. The multi-tiered house – which Benton described as “bizarre” in an interview with The Aspen Times last summer – features two swimming pools with underwater speakers, a ballroom, a nightclub-disco, office space, a gym, a dark room, a master bedroom (with a revolving bed) offering views of Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork Valley, a projection room and more.

Based on the network’s promotional materials, it appears the show will focus on the nightclub area of the home.

During the MTV show, Benton was a rare presence as her daughter Adrianna ended up with the lion’s share of hosting duties. But Tony Millage, of the Churchill Group Inc. in Carbondale, one of Benton and Gradow’s assistants, said Thursday that the HGTV show will prominently feature Barbi as she takes host Carter Oosterhouse through the home.

“It is definitely something not everybody would choose to live with,” she said. “But it is fun from the minute you walk through the door. We wanted it to be fun and also elegant.”

At 62 years of age, the affable Benton is still mightily attractive, we’d like to point out.