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Sunset's Rocky Mountain idea house.

Adventurous yet tempered by tradition, this house embodies the best of Western living

Past, present, and future converge at our Rocky Mountain Idea House, located on a pine-studded knoll in Parker, Colorado, less than an hour's drive south of downtown Denver. The design, which adapts late-l9th century Shingle Style architecture for today's casual, indoor-outdoor, Internet-oriented way of life, provides inspiration for anyone thinking of remodeling or redecorating.

The house is part of a planned community called the Timbers at the Pinery. Built by Tom Hall of Renaissance Homes, it has an open floor plan spanning three levels and features a wraparound deck with spa, outdoor living room, and cooking-and-dining porch. The Idea House team included Denver architect Arlo Braun, Denver interior designer Steve Neuman, and Englewood, Colorado, landscape designer/contractor Mike Owens.

Built with a family of four in mind--working parents and two college-age children, all of whom like to entertain and work at home--the house combines places to gather with "getaway" spots that offer privacy and solitude. "Though it's very casual and open, the floor plan still exudes the intimacy and elegance that people like and want, and it reflects how people live today," Hall comments.

In designing the interior, Neuman mixed traditional and contemporary styles with Asian touches, hunting down furnishings and accessories on the Web.

Themes of change and continuity resonate throughout the home. The shingles are strictly 21st-century: They're made of a low-maintenance cement product that's environmentally friendly and weather- and fire-resistant. The signature stone entrance tower, which was inspired by area landmarks such as the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun in Colorado Springs and the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver, is a quiet space with a cavelike quality Its earthiness complements the natural effect of the ponds and cascading waterfalls in the front garden.

From the shadowy tower, you step into an entrance gallery exploding with color and light-a dramatic contrast to the exterior, The eye is drawn immediately to two novel kilim-style "rugs" made from pieces of art glass inlaid in the maple floors. These handcrafted pieces-in primary colors-set the stage for the vibrant palette of blues, yellows, greens, and reds used throughout the house. "Using richly saturated colors has a dramatic impact," Neuman says. "Color enhances the artwork and anchors carpets and furnishings as different hues play off each other in every room."

The main floor features a vaulted great room/kitchen wing to the right and a master suite to the left. In the great room, which was furnished using only on-line sources, cozy sofas face a dramatic tile-faced fireplace while comfortable wing chairs look out to the sun deck and Pike's Peak. As the hub of the house, the great room opens to the entrance gallery, the deck, and the breakfast nook.

Though a buffet island separates the two spaces, the galley-style kitchen is connected visually to the great room. So Neuman, working with kitchen designer Mary Jo Peterson as consultant, specified elegant and inviting kitchen cabinetry with glass-front doors, colored woods, and decorative moldings that convey the look of furniture. Many universal design principles are built into the layout (see "Planning for Universal Design," pages 126-127). The kitchen is equipped with state-of-the-art appliances such as a professional-style cooktop, an oven that uses light energy to cook and brown faster than a conventional oven, and an innovative "Cook in Sink," where you can boil then drain pasta and vegetables.

Nearby is the family foyer, a sort of super-mudroom that you can enter from either garage. Here, one efficient space combines a family entryway, recycling center, laundry room, mail station, garden potting area, and a convenient place to dry boots and shoes.

Casual areas like the great room and the breakfast area are balanced by more formal areas like the dining room, which is a quiet island of calm near the front door, and the warm and clubby study/library on the other side of the entry gallery. In the dining room, sage green walls, a richly veined green fireplace front with gold and paprika hues, and a white-framed mantelpiece mirror set the elegant, restful tone, which is reinforced by an Asian-inspired table setting. Nutmeg-colored paneling, bookcase niches, and a secret door to the master bath give the study/library a cozy storybook charm.

The master suite is a world unto itself with his-and-her closets, twin vanities, two-person steam shower with multiple jets, and a deep soaking tub. The bedroom centers on a king-size bed with Japanese-inspired linens in wheat-colored silk with paprika accents; bamboo shades, installed to be pulled up from the bottom of the windows, provide privacy while allowing views of the distant mountains from the upper windowpanes. Subdued goldish beige walls complement the pesto- and sage-toned tiles of the hearth and the bathroom.

Other getaway realms include the loft and the lower level. The lower floor, which houses the boy's and girl's bedrooms, media room, kitchenette, and wine cellar, can also function as an in-law unit, thanks to easy access to the outdoors.

These relaxed spaces shifted Neuman's color wheel into high gear. In the boy's bedroom, sepia-glazed red walls make a striking backdrop for stunning black-and-white cowboy photographs. The lush blue of the girl's bedroom is a vibrant setting for white and red accents in bedding and window shades.

The loft at the top of the staircase is perhaps the most contemporary room in the house, with its intense mix of blues, yellows, chrome, and black. In addition to the modern artwork, glass-topped table, and upholstered chairs, the room includes a slick pull-down Murphy bed and a modern bowl-shaped sink on a tiled counter.

Outside, the tradition-meets-today theme is particularly apparent in the house's composite decking material, which steps down the slope from the rear, view-oriented facade. Made from recycled plastic grocery bags and wood fibers, it won't weather or rot. The dining porch off the breakfast nook offers a sheltered space for cooking and eating while enjoying the view. As architect Arlo Braun put it, "You could even eat here during a thunderstorm!" Indeed, no matter what the weather, this home turns Western living into a peak experience.

the floor plan

You can purchase this flexible plan, which is appropriate for a sloping lot and encourages use of the outdoors. It's available in two versions: The smaller plan is 3,872 square feet on two levels; the larger is 4,818 square feet on three levels, including a daylight basement. Key features of both versions include entry tower, great room, breakfast nook with office niche, butler's pantry, formal dining room, study, master suite, family foyer, powder room, multilevel dining and entertaining decks, loft bedroom and bath, and split garages. cost for the larger plan is $719 for the first set of blueprints, $744 for four sets, $789 for eight sets. Prices are somewhat lower for the smaller plan. There are additional costs for shipping, handling, and applicable taxes.

Planning for universal design

The concept of universal design goes beyond building in wheelchair accessibility. It's about planning rooms to function comfortably and efficiently for occupants of all ages and degrees of mobility. It deals with incorporating flexibility in the design so that a house can accommodate changing needs.

Our Rocky Mountain Idea House is a case in point: We wanted it to be "the only house you'll ever have to own," meaning that you could live there well into your later years. Among the features that make it suitable for older people: The master bedroom is on the ground floor, and the kitchen is particularly user-friendly.

Key universal design features in our Idea House kitchen

* Designers Steve Neuman, Mary Jo Peterson, and Tern Berlage built the Idea House kitchen around what's called "the 15- to 48-inch reach range." From a standing or sitting position, most people can comfortably reach a maximum of about 48 inches.

* Ovens are side by side instead of stacked, so their surfaces are 40 1/2 inches above the floor.

* There are two dishwashers, at opposite ends of the island. One is near the central work area, and the other is beside the butler's pantry. Both are raised 6 inches above the floor to minimize bending while loading and unloading.

* The refrigerator and freezer are side by side so both sections can be used by every family member, regardless of height.

* Pot storage drawers below the cooktop have open fronts, making it easy to find and reach cookware.

* The passage between the kitchen and family foyer is wide enough for the 5-foot turning space needed for a wheelchair.

* A 19-inch-deep knee space below the sink in the butler's pantry accommodates a seated position.

Daniel Gregory
COPYRIGHT 2000 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bertelsen, Ann
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
Words:1443
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