Before there was a home on this 2.7-acre lot overlooking Colorado Springs, there was an observation deck—a makeshift meeting space where architect Todd Brokaw, builder Gary Gregoire and interior designers Mickey Ackerman and Yoki Imai gathered to take it all in and plan a home that would make the most of the site.
“360-degree views are a blessing and a curse,” says Ackerman, of Denver-based Amirob & Associates. “We absolutely had to capture the essence of the lot, but couldn’t be just about the views. This house was about creating a livable space for a family with kids–teenagers, no less—that feels warm and sophisticated. It was a puzzle.
Brokaw, principal of Brokaw Architectura in the Springs, began putting the pieces together in his design for a two-level, 8,400-square-foot home. On the main level, he divided the public and private spaces along an 11-foot-tall stone wall in the great room. From there, a dramatic dining room, a small powder room and a to-die-for kitchen flow easily from one space to the next. On the other side of the wall lie a second powder room, the inviting master suite and his-and-her studies. The spaces are “kind of like pie pieces,” Ackerman says, divided so that each opens to patios outside.
The lower level belongs mostly to the children. The central hub—dubbed “the command center”—is part rec room and part study space, equipped with four desks topped by computers. An exercise room, a small but marvelous wine cellar, the guest suite, and three kids’ bedrooms, each with its own bath, round out the space.
The home gets high marks not just for smart space planning but also for eco-friendly features. Geothermal pumps support heating and cooling and photovoltaic panels provide energy. Brokaw used passive solar design strategies as well. “The shed roof lets in southern light in the winter, but in the summer, the deep overhangs prevent the harsh sun from entering the house,” the architect explains.
He and Ackerman chose a palette of sleek materials that fit the home’s contemporary design while warming up the space. Telluride Gold stone on select walls and warm-tone exotic woods balance steel elements, such as trusses and columns exposed on the home’s interior. Ackerman describes the palette as a mix of
“coppers, paprikas, burnt orange, browns and a little influence of golds and grays.” These color choices help root the home in its environment.
A few simple tricks boost the home’s wow factor. The design team raised the entry by about 15 inches to give guests unobstructed views through the windows across the room. The tongue-and-groove cedar on the main level’s ceiling extends outside to emphasize the indoor-outdoor harmony. And in the dining room, where the ceiling height threatened to overpower the furnishings, Ackerman designed a glamorous hand-blown glass chandelier that measures 7 1/2 by 5 1/2 feet. Then he suggested cutting an opening in the stone wall to hold some pieces from the homeowners’ art collection and help scale down the big, bold wall.
The home’s magic is in such details. Sure, the views are spectacular, but as the long-gone observation deck proved, views don’t make a home; that’s the job of good design.
Architecture: Todd Brokaw, Brokaw Architectura, Colorado Springs, (719) 535-9291
Interior Designer: Mickey Ackerman and Yoko Imai, Amirob & Associates, Denver, (303) 296-7388, amirob.com
KITCHEN DESIGN Terri Rose, CKD, William Ohs Showrooms, Denver, (303) 321-3232, wmohs.com BUILDER Gary Gregoire, Gregoire Homes Inc., Colorado Springs, (719) 491-7444, gregoirehomesinc.com LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Jon Walsh, Fredell Enterprises, Colorado Springs, (719) 630-1355, coloradolandscapedesign.com GREAT ROOM SOFA Custom sectional couch, JJ Custom, Inc., (310) 276-4126, West Hollywood, CA, jjcustominc.com COFFEE TABLE Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com DINING ROOM CHANDELIER Custom design by Mickey Ackerman, Amirob & Associates, amirob.com; blown by White Elk’s Visions in Glass, whiteelks.com DINING CHAIRS The Mirak Collection, mirakfurniture.com DINING TABLE Axis Furniture, axisfurnitureinc.com MASTER BATHROOM SHOWER TILE La Leaf Collection by Artistic Tile, artistictile.com