As the editor of a shelter magazine, I spend a lot of time thinking about houses. And as I continue to tweak my own home, I’ve been trying to pinpoint what makes other people’s homes really, really great. You know what I’m talking about: the kind
of place where the second you walk inside, you’re immediately put at ease. Everything works together to invite you in.

The longer I do this job, the more I’m beginning to realize that there is a formula, albeit an imperfect one, to creating the perfect living space: The best homes tell a story. They are reflective of the people who live in them and also of their location. (Ahh, that elusive sense of place!) Which is to say: Being perfectly on-trend with that chevron pillow doesn’t matter as much as creating a space that feels like “you” and your interpretation of life on the Front Range.

As I toss this idea around, I find peace with some of the more quirky, not Pinterest-worthy vignettes in my home. A whole corner of my family room, for example (which would be the perfect spot for a houndstooth chair and ottoman), is dedicated to a cotton candy pink wooden play kitchen. I love this piece almost as much as my toddler daughters do; it was built from scratch by my stepfather. It’s not exactly perfect for the room, but it tells the story of us, right now.

In this issue of 5280 Home, we’re introducing several houses that offer compelling personal stories. Among my favorites: Renée del Gaudio’s abode in Sunshine Canyon (“To Rise Again,” page 72). She and her husband bought the mountain land years ago with the intention to build on it, but their plans were put on hold when the property was ravaged by the Fourmile Canyon Fire in September 2010.

Drawing upon that can-do Western spirit, del Gaudio and her husband saw the tragedy as an opportunity. Once they cleared away all the charred wood (90 percent of their trees were burned), they found the property offered sweeping views of the Front Range. The house del Gaudio ultimately built takes advantage of those panoramas with floor-to-ceiling windows encased by durable steel siding designed to help the home withstand any potential future natural disasters. And in an extra nod to “sense of place,” the structure draws on the forms of mining-era architecture once prevalent in the area. Put more simply: The house looks like it belongs on that hillside.

I hope this issue helps you find inspiration as you cultivate a house that feels like “you,” wherever you find yourself today.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home Autumn 2014.
Cheryl Meyers
Cheryl Meyers
Cheryl Meyers is a contributing writer to 5280 Home, which means she gets to spend her days writing about Colorado’s most beautiful indoor spaces.