A Home for the Modern Family
One Boulder couple solve a modern family challenge with a home to celebrate the season and their next chapter
This house is a love story with multiple parts.
Part one: Two dynamic executives fall in love. One is a father of three with rural Southern roots who’s just as at home on the range as he is in the boardroom. The other is a mom of three, an athletic city girl from the Midwest who is constantly outside and in motion. Their love is not complicated, but their lives are—six kids ranging from young adult to middle school, plus three pooches.
Part two: They crave a homestead where they can blend their families and bring together the people they love most. They envision a space in which to enjoy each other while they relax, rest, and recharge from work, school, and life’s busyness. It has to be open and beautiful but not pretentious—a place where mounds of sneakers, cowboy boots, baseball equipment and cheerleading paraphernalia are at home. And most of all, it has to have heart.
Part three: Together they fall for a Boulder Country Club plot with postcard-worthy vistas of Longs Peak and the Flatirons. Upon it they build a five-bedroom retreat where everyone can be together and apart at the same time. “We hoped to create a place where our kids wanted to hang out,” the homeowner says of the casual, comfortable, put-your-feet-up dwelling where modern meets rustic.
To that end the couple recruit interior designer Tami Wakeman and builder Mike Donohoe. The pro pair collaborate to construct a home as noteworthy as its views, making clever use of building materials (white oak doors, granite and concrete countertops, large-scale travertine tiles), fabrics (linen-look and subtly patterned upholstery that promise durability), and furnishings (a sofa large enough for piling on and chairs that swivel between the landscape’s panorama and the living area’s gatherings) to create modern, clean-lined spaces. A sprinkling of industrial (steel panels as a backdrop for the living area’s TV), timeworn (antique barn beams), and contemporary touches add up to comfortable, arms-stretched-wide spaces for living and loving, the kind of home that calls for curling up next to a fire, taking in nature’s bounty, and enjoying the present moment singly or en masse, whether it’s Christmas or not.
A custom-crafted front door opens to reveal the living area’s holiday festivities and stunning views of Longs Peak and the Flatirons. “You have windowpanes on both sides of the door, so you are immediately drawn to the view,” the homeowner says. “It is almost like there’s no house between those windows and the view beyond. It takes your breath away.”
Designer Tami Wakeman outfitted the space with a sofa in mink-colored upholstery. “When you have a large room with beautiful volume and light, you need a dark piece to draw the eye down,” she says of the sofa. With durable woven fabrics, even Murphy, the family pooch pictured below, is welcome on the furniture. “Nothing is untouchable,” the homeowner says. “I really want everyone to feel comfortable in the house and like it is OK to really live in it.”
On the rustic console in the living area, Wakeman created a still life of white and crystal Christmas trees and feathers “for glam-y, fun, unexpected décor.” An abstract painting by local artist Will Day “feels like the sun rising or setting,” she says. “It is really dynamic and warm.”
Flat-front cabinet doors in a dark stain and sleek stainless hardware and appliances give the kitchen its modern vibe. The 8-by-8-foot island is topped by a single slab of granite that was leathered—a technique that uses a grinding or sanding tool—to give the stone a textured finish: “The natural movement in the stone looks like the dark graining of the bark on an Aspen tree,” says Wakeman. The room’s trio of pendant lights hang from a barn beam—a nod to the couple’s rural roots and an example of the homeowner’s impressive DIY skills.
The master bath is a sumptuous retreat with his-and-her vanities, a large shower, and a freestanding tub. "We took the wood flooring used in the house and built a platform for the tub," Donohoe says. The dark riser creates a visual break in the while tile that covers the floor and walls and puts the tub's shapely silhouette on a literal pedestal.
“The master bedroom, for me, is the perfect size,” the homeowner says of the space that Wakeman designed to feel like a boutique hotel. The room’s color palette was chosen so that nature’s show could take center stage. “The color here is more monochromatic, with cloudy, French-y blue and neutral grays,” says Wakeman.
CONSTRUCTION Mike Donohoe, Donohoe Builders INTERIOR DESIGN Tami Wakeman, Blanc Canvas Interiors LIVING ROOM Orange/red artwork over fireplace: Jim Pittman, local landscape artist. ALL-NATURAL STONE Telluride Stone Denver, CO 303.388.8863 EXTERIOR SIDING BARNWOOD Schacht Mill Works, Lafayette, CO 303.665.5678