The bigger the property, the bigger the house, right? Not always. For the owners of this new home in Boulder, scoring a triple lot in the popular Newlands neighborhood didn’t lead to dreaming up a family home with as much square footage as the site could accommodate. Instead, Alessandra and Brett Jackson asked architect Steven Perce of Bldg Collective to craft a house that maximizes outdoor space. “My husband grew up on 22 acres, and I grew up with a big yard and plenty of space to run around outside,” Alessandra says. “That’s a higher value for us as a family than more or bigger rooms. Plus, with a smaller house, you can prioritize high-quality fixtures, finishes, and furniture.”

So Perce designed an approximately 3,000-square-foot space that Alessandra describes as “Nordic modern with a Southern twist,” a home that pays tribute to her Georgia roots but also incorporates the clean lines and simple forms of Scandinavian design. To that end, Perce employed a gabled roofline on the second floor and double-hung windows on the entire exterior. And, by creating an L-shaped main floor that spans the street-facing width of the property and extends down the south side, he made way for a courtyard and large lawn on the back side of the house.

With such simple architectural forms at play, Perce and the Jacksons knew they could opt for an unusual exterior material. Alessandra fell in love with dark cypress siding—created using a traditional 18th-century Japanese technique called shou sugi ban, which involves carefully charring the wood to give it a waterproof seal, charcoal color, and unique texture. “It looks almost velvety,” says Alessandra, who sourced the siding from Custom Wood Solutions, which recently moved from Austin, Texas, to Fort Collins. To complement the dark architectural forms, Perce used knotty-pine paneling to define several niches cut away from the main structure—creating a contrast that adds to the facade’s depth and beauty. “I really like how we were able to maintain the super-simple and distilled materials palette on the exterior,” Perce says, “and we applied those materials in a way that has a really big impact.”

Alessandra gave the same consideration to the home’s interiors as she decorated. “Originally, I just wanted an old house to remodel,” she says, so she selected elements that would make the home feel older than its true age: unlacquered brass hardware, glass doorknobs, a cement kitchen sink, shiplap on the second-floor ceiling and downstairs walls, and four-panel doors. Wood-burning fireplaces add to the timeless feel, and large windows make the rooms bright year-round.

When it all came together, the Jacksons got precisely what they wanted: a high-function, moderately sized home that feels good inside and provides space for their family to play, eat, and spend time outside. “There were elements I knew I’d love,” Alessandra says, “and then there were some surprises. For example, I knew a lot of windows would bring in the light, but I didn’t anticipate what that would mean for a west-facing home. The evening sun dipping beneath the horizon is pretty dreamy”—a bonus fit for a family who loves the outdoors.

Design Pros
Architecture: Steven Perce and Ken Renaud, Bldg Collective
Construction: Gary Cotlar, Front Range Remodel

This article was originally published in 5280 Home April/May 2020.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.