n many ways, this was the perfect vacation home for an extended family. Built near a golf course in Castle Rock, the expansive Colorado retreat boasts enormous windows with lush views, native-stone walls and multiple guest rooms for children and grandchildren. However, the circa 1980s interiors were less than ideal, so the owners sought direction from designers Susan Schwab and Kristi Dinner to recast the abode as a contemporary and comfortable retreat. “They wanted a modern feel, but they wanted it to be warm and inviting,” says Schwab.
First, the designers addressed the choppy layout by opening the space on the main level, removing two walls: one between the dining room and great room and another cutting the kitchen off from the dining area. They replaced the dated carpet and tile flooring in this space with gray-toned hardwood, which brings out the gray notes in the stone fireplace wall. Next came a new coat of paint for the interior and exterior walls. “Painting the walls white and accenting the trim with a warm, taupe gray changed the look of everything,” Schwab says. “Now, the space feels very current.”
In addition to those gestures, introducing metal and concrete into the architectural mix of glass, wood and stone further steered the project in a contemporary direction. They chose bronze, for example, to accent the custom entry doors, and married the metal with concrete in the master bedroom’s fireplace. They also used bronze to wrap structural columns and fill in spaces in the ceiling beams that were left when they removed the old track lighting.
In similar fashion, landscape designer Scott Kleski demolished the traditional slate-and-stone patio to make way for more modern porcelain pavers across a larger open space that was once bound by perimeter walls. “I wanted to take those walls out and let the patio flow all the way to the golf course,” he says. And as general contractor George Trusz executed the construction, he overhauled the home’s infrastructure in the process–a huge undertaking that included building new wind-shear protection after structural walls came down, removing an elevator and relocating heating and cooling systems. “I don’t think that we left any part of the house untouched,” he says.
When Schwab and Dinner were ready to furnish the home, part of their mandate was to infuse it with vibrant pops of color. “Our other homes have been done in neutral tones. I was ready for some color,” the wife explains. Shades of red and orange punctuate the lower-level media room and the patio just outside, and they also enliven the kitchen’s breakfast nook and sitting area. “We like to move colors around the interiors, so they repeat and act as accents in a neutral palette,” Dinner says. They also incorporated curvy shapes and organic patterns to offset the home’s angular volumes. “Each space has a counterpoint to those angles,” Dinner explains, pointing to elements such as a globe pendant over the breakfast table, a rug in the study that’s woven with oversize flowers and the wallpaper imprinted with leaves that fully envelops the powder room.
The designers worked with consultants at Ann Benson Reidy & Associates and Walker Fine Arts to fill each space with art, opting for sculptural objects to hang as groupings on the wall–another tactic to give linear planes more dimension. “This is how we ended up with some really fantastic pieces,” Schwab says. “Art can be all different kinds of media.” The designers also treated the lighting as artwork, choosing fixtures as varied as tissue-paper-like pendants hanging from red cords, a chandelier made of Shabbat candles by Israeli glass artist Shimon Peleg and light fixtures with gold-leaf interiors. “We’ve never had such iconic lighting,” the wife says. “The pieces add so much personality.”
Finally, Schwab and Dinner transformed the lower level into a media and games hub for the owners’ three children and their families, a tactic designed to keep them coming back every summer. “We wanted it to be sophisticated enough for adults with a little touch of whimsy for the kids,” Schwab says. The five guest rooms, Dinner adds, cater to the different ages–each one with its own signature wallpaper. “They really feel like destinations, not like sterile hotel rooms, and each of the rooms have a sense of fun,” she says. After their first summer there, the wife confirms the design has had its intended effect. She happily notes, “Now, the entire family wants to come here!”
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