By Sally Stich
Photography by Tim Maloney
From the front entry, visitors turn into the great room with its commanding view of Pikes Peak. The circular living room, with its custom curved couches, repeats the arc of the windows and softens the grid pattern that appears throughout the home.
Few design events find the major players all on the same page as the project unfolds. After all, the architect might have a vision that’s terrific on paper but a nightmare in the hands of the subcontractors. The designer’s ideas might drive an interior design that doesn’t jibe with the architecture. And the homeowners might change their minds every time a nail is driven or paint dries. But this stunning home in Monument was a match made in heaven for everyone involved. “The Stingleys (the homeowners) were wonderful to work with,” says Sears Barrett, principal of Sears Barrett Architects in Englewood. “Mary Wilson, the designer (Nielsen-Wilson Design LLC), worked with architectural cues to create an interior that is married to the exterior. And Phil Goetzmann (of Goetzmann Custom Homes) reported that his crew loved the challenge of doing something different from the typical mountain vernacular.”
The collaboration worked because in the end, there were no changes to the original plan, no compromising on the materials and –best of all—no whining.
Looking towards Pikes Peak, the great room’s arc of windows is protected from afternoon sun by an extended roof overhang. In order to render the home’s façade into readable spaces, architect Barrett created different “shapes”: the stairs leading to the door, the recessed entryway, the windows over the stairwell, the chimney. Each shape is defined by different building masses and materials
For Mary and Steve Stingley, this home is the culmination of a dream. Empty nesters, they were ready for a change and had purchased this mountain lot with a view of Pikes Peak and the Black Forest. Their goal was a home that was warm and contemporary—an integration of beautiful design and beautiful scenery, a place where two or 20 could be comfortable, a space for their contemporary art collection and, ultimately, a retreat for themselves.
When Barrett saw the site, he knew what he had to do. “The house had to look as if it were of the hill, not on the hill,” he says. What neither he nor the Stingelys wanted was a structure that screamed “modern.” Rather, this site demanded a timeless design, one not pegged to a specific era.
Because the Stingleys entertain frequently, they wanted a kitchen with several places for guests to gather (the space adjoins the great room). The first counter (with stools) is strictly for serving and socializing. The second offers the Gaggenau cook top and a prep area. The third (next to the wall) has a Franke sink. Overall, the Bulthaup kitchen is clean-lined without feeling sterile.
Because contemporary design is often associated with glass, steel and concrete rather than local materials, Barrett saw his first challenge. “We did not want a big, sterile, boxy structure in the midst of this gorgeous natural setting,” he says. In order to integrate the house with its site, he rendered the façade into “readable” spaces, each using different natural materials. The first thing visitors see is the curving blue stone steps leading to the front door. The recessed entryway of sandy acrylic stucco draws guests in, a tall, arched gray stucco space defined by a grid of windows stands beside the entry. The Colorado buff sandstone chimney then moves the eye to the home’s most striking feature: a 50-foot-wide wall of windows overlooking Pikes Peak.
Just as the exterior is broken into spaces, so too is the interior, even though the main floor is essentially one big room. A circular living area with curved couches plays off the rectangular lines of the dining room table, which is set in front of the home’s centerpiece bank of windows. Each window in the bank reveals a slightly different angle of the outdoor scenery. “I wanted each window to mimic a film frame,” Barrett says.
Designer Mary Wilson took the grid motif from the windows and repeated it throughout the house: the front entry of ash-framed slate tiles, the stainless-and-slate water feature in the entry, the powder room with its bamboo-and-glass tile panels and even the fireplace hearth. She took other cues from the architecture as well. “The interior had to be consistent with the exterior,” says Wilson, “so our palette was chosen based on the colors outside, and the materials were picked for their natural warmth.” Ash and walnut are the leading elements; colors are neutral to show off the art collection.
Once inside the extra-wide entry, visitors are greeted by a stainless-and-slate water feature that offers a design surprise. Each stainless trough lines up perfectly with walnut crossbars on the opposing door.
With the space planned, the Stingleys were ready for all new furniture, and Wilson delivered. “We didn’t want anything to compete with the view, and the furniture is beautiful without being in any way ostentatious,” Mary Stingley says. The elegant Berman Rosetti dining room table offers a warm, dark contrast that punctuates the ash-and-stainless kitchen on one side and the lighter-colored curved couches on the other. The deep leather-and-fabric chairs in the cozy den are comfortable and intimately contemporary.
Mary Stingley wanted the staircase to be at the center of the house, and Wilson made it a work of art. She designed the bare metal twig balustrade with ash banisters. A barrel ceiling covered in ash tops the stairway, creating another one of the Stingleys’ favorite features.
Actually, the couple loves everything about their dream home—especially during their most banal moments, like fetching the newspaper. “Every morning, I go out to get the paper,” says Steve Stingley, “and when I turn around to return to the house, I’m still amazed at how beautiful it is.”