Oasis in the City
This gracious Southwestern-style home is an island of calm just steps away from a busy intersection where Denver meets the southern suburbs. A long driveway embraced by wildflower meadows and fruit orchards leads to the residence, which is set back from neighbors in complete privacy. “Right away there is an air of mystery and intrigue,” says Niña Williams, a close friend and frequent guest of the homeowners.This gracious Southwestern-style home is an island of calm just steps away from a busy intersection where Denver meets the southern suburbs. A long driveway embraced by wildflower meadows and fruit orchards leads to the residence, which is set back from neighbors in complete privacy. “Right away there is an air of mystery and intrigue,” says Niña Williams, a close friend and frequent guest of the homeowners. “You are suddenly transported to a natural, romantic place. It doesn’t feel like Denver anymore, more like the wilds of New Mexico.”
The architecture heightens that impression. Thick, rounded stucco-covered walls allude to Santa Fe style; carved wooden posts and beams, wrought iron light fixtures, patios, courtyards and a bubbling fountain complete the picture. Built in 1953, the residence was the childhood home of the current owner. When a sale fell through for his parents almost 20 years ago, he and his wife bought the property and injected it with their own warm and personal style.
For an active Colorado family that embraces the outdoor lifestyle, the property offers a strong connection to the environment and abundant opportunities for indoor-outdoor living. During the summer months most meals are eaten in the courtyard as splashing sounds of swimmers echo nearby. Meadows stretching toward the poolhouse offer magnificent views of the mountains. Inside, the connection to the outdoors continues with the use of natural materials, including wood, plaster, stone and metal.
Windows are left bare; sunlight filters through the trees and overhanging roofs, changing by the hour.
Almost every room has access to the main courtyard or second-story patios. Built in quadrants with long, narrow spaces, the home features banks of windows on opposite walls that provide outstanding cross ventilation. No air conditioning is needed; doors and windows are left open all summer long.
With a distinct sense of flair and artistry, the owners designed their home with strong colors and a casual, welcoming appeal. “It feels immediately comfortable; piles of pillows, books, family photos, bowls of candy and snacks greet you. There is a sense of gracious comfort, leavened with humor,” says Williams, referring to the delightful sheep and llama sculptures, by Charlie Kurtz, that appear to be gazing out the windows.
A charming combination of deep, cozy seating, traditional heirloom furniture, contemporary art and eclectic accents from the family’s travels combine with uncomplicated ease. “I don’t take decorating too seriously,” says the homeowner. “Contrasting old and new and mixing things up allows for more whimsy.” A vivid, citrus-colored painting effectively pairs with a venerable English sideboard in the dining room. A large Southwestern pot rests on an antique American highboy; colorful African masks adorn a Pueblo-inspired fireplace; a touch of ruffled femininity contrasts with bold architectural elements; and it all works beautifully.
In many ways the 54-year-old home was built with tremendous foresight; the private setting, dramatic vistas, thick, well-insulated walls, open floor plan and free-flowing access to the outdoors are timeless attributes. The residence has been lovingly cared for, with only a few improvements such as the remodeled and expanded kitchen and the addition of a new guesthouse by the pool. It is relaxed and comfortable, an oasis in the city.