4,500 Square Feet of Family-Friendly Spaces
2017 Home of the Year Finalist
Photos by Emily Minton Redfield
“We started out just wanting another bedroom. And it snowballed.” That’s how Shannon Sauro explains her family’s 2013 move. The Sauro crew—Shannon, a retired realtor; Jeff, founder and principal of Measuring U, a user-experience research company; and their three children, now ages 7 to 11—spent more than 10 happy years in a three-bedroom house in Congress Park but were keen to grow into something more modern and spacious. They found it in Belcaro.
Their soon-to-be home was a stunning 15,000-square-foot lot—three times the size of their old homestead. But the existing ranch house on the property wasn’t workable, so Shannon’s home-builder brother-in-law led a team that demolished all but a few central walls to create a three-level, 4,500-square-foot compound with six bedrooms (two for guests), five and a half baths, and a home office for Jeff.
All that space makes the place ideal for entertaining not just Jeff’s family, who hail from Canada, but also Shannon’s huge constellation of local relatives—sometimes as many as 50 of them at once on holidays. “My grandparents were born in Colorado, and I grew up in Denver,” she explains. “I have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins here. It’s one of the reasons we built the house, because it’s such a big family. We can’t do a full sit-down dinner for all of them, but you can at least get a seat.”
Designer Andrea Georgopolis of Slifer Designs, who has known Shannon since college days at CSU, helped give the place a midcentury modern flair. The rugs and furnishings have a color palette as lively as her clients’ personalities, with bursts of yellow, orange, blue and green against more monochromatic brown-and-cream floors and walls. “The thought behind that,” says Georgopolis, “is that down the line, you can swap in a different accent color while keeping the house itself neutral and unchanged.”
But the heart of the Sauro home is an open main-level area where the kitchen, dining nook, living room and sunroom are all open to each other and the sunroom’s doors slide open to patios, erasing indoor-outdoor boundaries. Even some of the indoor furnishings have outdoor fabrics to stand up to all that company. “My kids are getting older,” says Shannon, “but my younger nephews are around a lot, and they have lots of spills—one of them put a meatball down the dining-nook bench. I planned for things like that. It’ll come out.”
“As a realtor, I looked at a lot of houses,” says Shannon. “And when houses get really big, people tend to separate the spaces. When we designed this, we wanted the dining nook to be in the kitchen. We wanted people at the kitchen table to be able to talk to someone at the kitchen counter.” The open floor plan also makes it easy for those in the family room (in the foreground) to feel connected with the kitchen space.
The dining room's starburst chandelier epitomizes the mix of formal and fun elements. “If we’d done a fuddy-duddy chandelier,” says the designer, “the whole room would feel different.” The dining table expands to accommodate up to 10. A butler’s pantry off to the left houses a wine cooler, bar and coffee station.
Large plants enliven the mix of fabric and faux leather (all chosen for durability) in the furnishings. In winter months, with exposures on three sides, the room feels like a solarium.
When the kids first visited the finished house, they immediately made hiding places of these large woven baskets.
If it was up to Shannon, there would be no TV here at all, but in a compromise with Jeff, she consented to an in-wall screen. The gold-tufted stools fit under the console behind the sectional when the family is not entertaining.
The utility room is big enough to hold the family’s winter outerwear and the kids’ perennial school projects. “People come over and have mudroom envy,” says Shannon.
The nightstand adds an unexpected, eclectic touch. Roman shades in sage and celadon-green tones pick up the colors in the rug, nightstand and walls. “The owners wanted the master bedroom to feel moody and cozy, not cold or overly modern,” says designer Andrea Georgopolis.
Since the master bathroom is not for the kids, marble was used for the floor. A mosaic border around the walls adds a hip element. The tub is sunk into the floor to accommodate its 21-inch depth—allowing bathers to step down rather than climb over.
ARCHITECTURE Anthony J. Ries, AIA while with EVstudio INTERIOR DESIGN Andrea Georgopolis, Slifer Designs BUILDER Chris Cardiff, Dwell Development LLC LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Joe Nyugen, Dream Makers Landscape Architecture & Construction