The Gathering Place
More Cape Cod than Colorado, this light, bright Castle Rock home is just what the doctor (dentist, to be specific) and his growing family ordered
Architect Dan Sievers never expected to design more than one home for a beautiful Castle Rock property tucked away on a wooded cul-de-sac. The lot—with its narrow entry and elevation changes—presented a particular challenge. “There was just one place the house could go,” Sievers says. But he—along with homeowners Jamin and Stacie Houser and interior designer Karen Jones—“didn’t want it to feel like one giant garage with a house attached.” And that’s exactly why he took a mulligan. His second attempt, however, was an ace. “We created a porte-cochere and motor court. Now you get a great view of the house—and not all those garage doors.”
The multiple garages and ample parking area were not just a pie-in-the-sky, dream-home request by the Housers. For this couple with six children (ages 28 to 15), sons- and daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren (and counting), having space for everyone is paramount—and not just parking space. “It is not uncommon for all of them to be here,” Jamin says, with obvious affection. “At least once a week I come home from work and everyone’s cars are in the driveway. Everyone sets up camp—toys are out, someone is playing the piano, my wife and daughters are cooking. We don’t schedule it—it just happens.”
Before building, Jamin and Stacie craved an open living-kitchen-dining floor plan with plenty of room for their impromptu (and planned) family gatherings, knowing that the get-togethers will continue to include more people in the next few decades. “We knew what we wanted, and we looked around Castle Rock and couldn’t find a single thing that had this livable, open, welcoming feel,” Jamin says.
The couple knew just whom to call: Karen Jones, a longtime friend and collaborator on their past homes and dental-office designs. “She had a vision with big trim, transoms, lighter colors—that was all Karen,” Jamin says. “We were hesitant to deviate from the Mediterranean style and darker colors and big stone that are so common in the area.” But Karen convinced them. And brought Sievers to the table. “We were drawing inspiration from East Coast traditional architecture, Cape Cod, farmhouse, and light, airy American Victorian,” Sievers says. “We were creating a new American aesthetic—something lighter and brighter than the heavy, Old World style so common here.”
Case in point: the literal center of the home—a great room that encompasses a large living area with a window-wrapped music room on one corner, a double-island kitchen with a prep kitchen tucked behind the range wall, and a dining area and cozy hearth room that spill out to a covered patio space via a wall of sliding doors. “We wanted a communal area with plenty of space to stretch out,” Jamin says. “We might all go off to do different things, but we all come back together comfortably here.” And the kitchen is consistently the crux of it all. “Seventy-five percent of our life happens in the kitchen,” he says.
That togetherness is exactly what Jamin and Stacie wanted for their family home. And, Jamin admits, Karen’s light color palette and those big windows and doorways that capture and amplify natural light is what makes their home the welcoming place they craved. “When I come home from work exhausted and I walk into that living and kitchen area and everyone’s there,” he says, “it’s a magical place for family and memories and more to come.”
ENTRY & STAIRS
The main entry, foyer and staircase are a stage where Jones’ vision for the Atlantic-seaboard style truly shine. “Karen was very particular about the trim work,” builder Marc Fletemeyer says. “She had a desire for large-scale moldings—very coastal in feel. The casings and baseboards are enormous!” The foyer’s 36-inch-square floor tiles look like wood parquet and seamlessly segue into the wood floors in the main-level living spaces. The glass wall separating the study from the entry is a preview of the openings in the home. “The doors on the main floor all have transoms. Throughout the house we have big windows, big doorways, glass transoms and lots of light,” Jamin says.
A wall of windows, 10-foot-tall ceilings with wooden beams, and a focal-point fireplace dressed in stacked rock and painted-white woodwork frame the great room. The music room, where hands young and old play the piano, is tucked off one corner of the room. “Karen was just a genius. She knew how this family functions in their home, and she collaborated with them to bring in all the elements to make it theirs,” Sievers says. “She was so instrumental in providing vision for this house. She was a visionary.” Sadly, Jamin and Stacie Houser lost a dear friend when designer Karen Jones passed away in the final days of 2018. “Karen was amazing,” Jamin says. “This wasn’t our first custom home, so the process was easier than before. But without Karen, I can’t imagine doing it.”
“Karen was on the leading edge of designing kitchens as a great-room focal point with double islands,” Sievers says. “One is true workspace, and the second is a more informal, high-top table for secondary dining. With a large family, they are great. The islands bring the family together, but out of each other’s way.” The cabinets and islands, by Brooks Brothers Cabinetry in Monument, are topped with a light quartzite in the work zones and wood on the dining island. “The wood is from a 1920s railway boxcar,” Jamin says. The BlueStar range, he adds, is a workhorse.
“This is the best thing about the kitchen,” Jamin says. A glass, swinging door separates the main, open kitchen and the behind-the-scenes, hard-working prep space and walk-in pantry. “You can do the work and keep the main kitchen area clean,” Jamin says. “We keep all the countertop appliances back there. There’s a full dishwasher, refrigerator and ice maker. The cabinets are huge, so crockpots and the KitchenAid mixer fit—everything has a place in there.”
A large window frames the sculptural bathtub and its view of the forested property. “The house is completely surrounded by trees,” Fletemeyer says, allowing many private spaces to go without window coverings. The room’s overscale moldings, wainscoting and tone-on-tone trellis wallpaper all hark back to the East Coast vernacular.
The vaulted, tongue-and-groove ceiling ushers airiness into the room’s large-scale furnishings: a substantial tiered chandelier and a four-poster bed. The room’s wood pieces are painted in neutral, ivory-to-gray tones and paired with natural-linen upholstery. “It took us a few years to settle into this color palette—a lot of whites, a lot of trim,” Jamin says. “We don’t get totally lost in the forest,” Jamin says, referring to the dense grove of towering pines outside every window.
— Dan Sievers, Architect
“We got a little kickback, but we didn’t want to conform just to fit into the neighborhood,” homeowner Jamin Houser, a local dentist, says of his 10,000-square-foot home’s exterior. Architect Dan Sievers and interior designer Karen Jones looked to Northeast coastal architecture for inspiration. “We brought in board-and-batten and some horizontal siding, and we used stone, but in a way that didn’t feel heavy or overbearing,” Sievers says. A detached garage with a guest suite on its upper level sits in front of one end of the home, creates a porte-cochere and screens a line of garage doors.
ARCHITECT Daniel D. Sievers, Design Renaissance Architects, LLC BUILDER Marc Fletemeyer, Fletemeyer Homes INTERIOR DESIGNER Karen Jones, All About Home Design *Karen is deceased, but her brother, builder Scott Maynes, still runs the business. All about home design currently offers only custom-building services, not interior design.