One-acre lots in the heart of Cherry Hills Village are as coveted as any in the metro area, so when a young family came across one for sale with a dilapidated, long-vacant house on it, they weren’t deterred. All they saw were possibilities—in particular, the potential for a home with seamless transitions to a landscape they could live in.
“This family came to us with some very specific design parameters, both for the way that they live now and for the way in which they see themselves living in the future,” says Surround Architecture’s project architect Dustin Buck, who worked with the firm’s principal, Dale Hubbard, to create a brand-new home that would bring the client’s vision to life. “Largely, that was living on a single level, with seamless transitions to outdoor living spaces, and with unique pockets—both within the house and outside the house—where the kids could play and study within view of their parents.”
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After carefully considering the property—abutted by peaceful horse pastures and towering old trees—and the surrounding neighborhood, which has maintained its country-living vibe even as its homes have evolved, the architects had some ideas of their own. “We wanted to protect and complement the semirural nature of the neighborhood,” Buck says, “and that started driving the new home’s aesthetic. We used a variety of building forms, but simplified their geometries, and we employed large apertures and natural materials that could be allowed to patina.”
These include buff-colored Texas limestone masonry, which covers the home’s rectilinear forms; vertical cedar siding—charred and wire-brushed for texture—that defines its gabled portions and the gable of the separate pool house; and black metal, which gives a modern edge to windows and standing-seam roofs.
These materials seem to flow right through broad window walls to the home’s interior, the heart of which is a large, vaulted space that holds the kitchen, dining, and living areas. Here, though, the palette softens into pale cedar ceilings, creamy walls, white painted millwork, and floors of European oak that was smoked to release its tannins and reveal a beautiful silvery grain. The result, Buck says, is some “cool, interesting moments of contrast that happen with the steel elements, windows, lighting, and furniture.”
In the kitchen, for example, dark-steel channel reveals draw the eye to the custom plaster hood, which extends up to the peaked ceiling’s apex. The island’s soot-colored base pops against a countertop of Colorado Yule marble and the room’s perimeter cabinetry, which is painted a fresh white. Behind the sink, industrial-looking windows frame a view of the rear courtyard and pool; on warm days, these glass panels fold open wide, creating a pass-through to an outdoor gathering area.
Back behind the kitchen, in the private wing, the main bedroom is cozier, with a beamed wood ceiling, stone fireplace, and upholstered bed resting atop a shaggy rug. In the adjacent bathroom, the wood-clad ceiling vaults a bit higher and the palette gets more robust, with walnut vanities, brass hardware, and floor and wall tiles in varied gray tones providing “a bit more richness and contrast than in the rest of the house,” Buck says.
But perhaps no detail is as strong—or as emblematic of the home’s ethos—as the aluminum-clad wood doors that provide much of the interior with direct access to a large rear courtyard, where the architects and Boulder-based landscape architecture firm Marpa created distinct zones—pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, firepit—for the family to relax and play. Each is delineated by planted garden borders and beds that complement the textures and colors of the wilder natural surroundings—including those gorgeous old trees, which the architects carefully incorporated into their design. “You really get a sense of that at the front of the house, where there’s a big, mature tree sitting right at the entry,” Hubbard says. The result, he adds, “is a house that feels like it has been there for a while; a place where all of these things—landscape, architecture, materials—working in tandem created something contextual in the neighborhood but also unique to itself and the family.”