Newer landscaping is woven carefully with more mature trees and shrubs to create a feeling that the house has been there for many years.
Written by Patrick Soran
Photography by Ron Ruscio
Only one of two things can happen when one designer draws up the home for another designer. Either sparks are going to fly and the relationship will end up in a heap of ashes on the building site or, as is the case of one Denver home, the synergy between the two produces something exceptional. “It was great to have a client with such high expectations,” says architect Sears Barrett.
To make a simple space more lively, elements are selected for their contrasting values; smooth, rough; light, dark; hard and soft.
Both of these professionals are well-respected crafters of visions. Barrett, the architect of the 9,824-square foot home, has helped dozens of couples build their dream houses. The designer-owner, Glenn Monigle, senior partner of Monigle Associates, has guided branding, marketing and advertising for dozens of corporations large and small. “Glenn is not your normal client,” Barrett says. First, this is not his only from-scratch home; he has built many. Plus, Monigle enjoys the give-and-take of design. Finally, he knows what he likes. “He craves what first-time builders fear the most,” Barrett says, “decisions and details.”
The first major decision was to extend the home deep into the site. In Belcaro, one of Denverís older and most desirable neighborhoods, the lots are narrow and long. Expanding far into this one-acre corner plot, the house stretches out under the canopy of mature trees, almost as if itís taking a nap on a sunny day.
Keeping it low-slung was a conscious decision. Both owner and architect admire the way the homes of Frank Lloyd Wright fit so effortlessly into their urban landscapes. In some places the roof is brought out 12 feet to enhance its serene sheltering presence. These overhangs are held up on steel yokes growing out of massive stone piers.
Unusual materials make this stairway a standout. Elm treads are supported by pickled steel.
Monigle wanted a light-colored rock that could be used inside and out, so Barrett selected a Texas cream limestone. The lower portions of the walls are in a random rubble pattern where each piece is hand shaped with only the thinnest of joints. While the exterior stone is rubble laid, the interior is all smooth sawn. This is the same material finished in a different way, tying the inside strongly to the outside. Beneath the roof runs a continuous band of windows crafted from clear Douglas fir. Full-height glass doors complete the indoor/outdoor connection.
Within this cream-colored envelope, Monigle and wife Lynn, who is also a trained designer, have selected pieces that mate high design with eye-popping color. The living room rug is a saturated red accented with purple stripes.
It anchors boldly purple chairs and sofas from B&B Italia. The Monigles designed the dining room table together. Fashioned from ebony madrone, a rare yet replenishable wood, it is surrounded by a set of Mies van der Rohe’s Brno chairs. Art from Colorado contemporary artist, such as Dale Chisman, reinforce the feeling that this house is very much a gallery for great design and art…and no wonder, with designers designing for designers.