Written by Patrick Soran
Photography by Jason Jung and James Ray Spahn
During his Prairie-style phase, Frank Lloyd Wright recreated the American dream house. He turned the fussy, narrow, Victorian home to parallel the street and stripped off all the gingerbread. He gathered randomly placed windows into orderly casement rhythms, elongated roof lines into deep overhangs and let the interior and exterior freely flow back and forth. For this home in Denver, architect Sears Barrett has certainly done all that, but he’ also done Wright one better. Barrett has wrapped the home around an extensively landscaped courtyard. “We wanted to create a sanctuary, a cloistered garden, that welcomes fresh air, invites wildlife and creates its own view,” says Barrett.
The connection between outside and in is very important for this active family. They wanted wood and stone indoors, but nothing too rustic.
All the major interior spaces face an evergreen-draped outdoor room. A large pond-complete with koi-dominates that space, and five waterfalls activate it with sound. “Our challenge was to protect the big trees and design a water feature that really anchors the entire home,” says Shawn Ryan, president of Environmental Designs. Barrett loves the connection to the outdoors. “In both summer and winter, you have the organic views,” he says,” and the sound of the water makes the space so serene.” That gurgling noise bounces off exterior walls of Telluride Gold stonework, clear Douglas fir beams and trim, and hard-coat stucco. Cascading rooflines tie the house to the ground.
Interior spaces are laid out and detailed for an active family with a well developed sense of style. Barrett strung the living room, dining room, family room, study and the master suite along a walkway that links them to the garden. Slate paves this long transitional space, and trims and moldings are kept extremely simple. “I wanted stone and wood but nothing rustic,” says the owner. “And I wanted a red dining room.”
Working with the owner’s existing art and dining set, and her desire to use red, the designers selected a color that would tie everything together. The wine room displays the bottles so the wine, not the cabinetry, is the focal point.
Red, indeed! “It helps you eat,” the owner says. Interior designers Colleen Johnson and Judy Gubner of in-site Design Group had a lot of fun with it-after they found the perfect shade. “Most reds are either too pink,” says Johnson. “Or too fire engine,” adds Gubner. Johnson and Gubner completed the dining room with a gold faux finish for the up-lit ceiling trays, and pulled the red tone onto the fabrics and carpet in the living room to tie the spaces together.
They weren’t finished. The owners collect fine wine, so the in-site team suggested a display area inside the dining room with clear shelves, so the wine bottles themselves become the art. Barrett suggested curving the wall, and before you could say Pinot Grigio, the red paint had found its way up the curved wall that frames the stairway.
WOOD AND WHITE
Designed for an owner who truly cooks, the kitchen combines beauty and function. Its double island lets visitors be part of the action without getting in the way. The designers chose bamboo flooring for the lower level for its warmth and easy maintenance.
The kitchen and family room reflect the owners’ love of gathering together, cooking and eating. Housed in one space with a hipped ceiling sheathed in clear Douglas fir, the room is anchored on one end by a true cook’s kitchen, and on the other by a fireplace focal point that brings the outside stonework inside. Furniture and fabrics pull out the muted tones of the stonework.
“We wanted the study to be a bit darker,” says the owner. The design team sketched shelves and trim with a more saturated brown in the stain. And the architect created something entirely new for the actual work area. “All the desks in the world are basically a big mess,” laughs Barrett. So he set the actual work surfaces into an alcove of their own with a pair of sliding doors. Now when company comes, there isn’t that last minute flurry to straighten up. “The master suite is peaceful and serene,” says designer Gubner. They used a monochrome color scheme to keep things calm. And fabrics from Hoff Miller, with a bit of metallic thread, add a sophisticated shimmer.
There’s an old joke about frank Lloyd Wright: If you don’t like a space, you say it was designed by Frank Lloyd “Wrong.” This home was clearly inspired by Frank Lloyd “Wonderful.”
Telluride Gold stonework sheathes both the fireplace inside and the piers outside, tying the two spaces together. Chairs and sofas are from Swaim, the rug from CPA.
Using cast stone for the fireplace surround and more extensive built-ins gives the study a slightly more refined volume. The room lines up on the exterior courtyard, as well as with the space across, brining a strong sense of axial organization.
A bowl carved from a block of absolute black granite finesses the Asian direction of the red walls and antique, wood vanity.
The designers selected fabrics with rich texture-called hand-to make the master suite feel luxurious. The monochrome color scheme keeps it soothing and serene.