House Beautiful Whole Home Focuses on Eco-Friendly Living
Twelve interior designers from across the country created a multigenerational home with an emphasis on sustainable living.
The 2020 House Beautiful Whole Home Concept House was built in Franktown, Colorado, about 30 miles south of Denver. The vision was to encourage multi-generational families to reconnect with the natural world and to foster an environmentally friendly lifestyle. The home is in the Fox Hill community, Colorado's first professionally managed, fully sustainable farm and garden. The fresh food options include a pear and apple orchard, pick-your-own berries, rows of garden vegetables, farm fresh eggs, and year-round produce from the greenhouse.
Because 12 different interior designers were each given a space to showcase their unique styles and talents, the colors, textures, and design elements vary widely from room to room. A stroll through this home will reveal influences from Africa, Asia, and of course, the western United States. In addition to the many contemporary decors, you will enjoy flashbacks to the 1950s, 1970s, and even the 1990s. It would be a challenge indeed to walk away from a tour of this house without taking home a new favorite design inspiration. Here are some highlights.
A Multi-Use Living Room with a View
This airy living room was designed by Lucinda Loya, whose philosophy is to keep things simple, elegant, and classic, yet interesting. Her strategy was to play off the gorgeous view of the mountains and the surrounding environment by furnishing the room with natural elements and textures like wood beams, organic wallpaper, and a one-of-a-kind rug that complements the wood floors instead of covering them up. She also chose a wallpaper with a slight sheen to take advantage of the abundance of light the near floor-to-ceiling Marvin Signature® Ultimate Direct Glaze windows provide. The oversized custom couch creates a space for people—and dogs—to share, and the sleek workstation provides a convenient space where one can stay connected with work without totally disconnecting from family.
The Kitchen Features an Appetizing Mix of Materials
Sarah Robertson set out to create a kitchen that functions like a workspace but feels like a living room. She chose a wide variety of warm materials to give the room a relaxed feel. The flat surfaces are made of both wood and Caesarstone with waterfall edges. The walls are decorated with wallpaper, hand-crafted tile, and batten panels. The cabinet doors are fitted with custom, bronze in-fill panels, and even the hand-made knobs and pulls were manufactured in different configurations and with finishes that are designed to imply an intentional variety. Many of the elements were chosen as a tribute to the Colorado area. The cabinets are made of alder, a tree that grows in the state. The batten panels were installed on the hood vent as a nod to the local rural metal buildings that dot the landscape, and the painting that adorns the hood vent was created by a local artist.
While concerned with form, Robertson did not neglect function. The coffee/breakfast bar has a folding faucet that can be used to fill a glass of water or the coffee pot located nearby. There is a nook down low that houses two dog dishes and another folding faucet purposefully placed to fill the dog’s water dishes. The pantry is equipped with a built-in commercial chamber canner and vacuum packer, so the seasonally fresh vegetables harvested from the local farm can be instantly preserved and enjoyed all season long. The daily dishes are stored down in the drawers where they can be reached by young and old alike, and the two Marvin Ultimate Casement windows can be easily reached to take advantage of a refreshing mountain breeze.
Is that a Swing in the Dining Room?
Interior designer Andrea Shumacher was tasked with finishing the dining room, a space that presented a couple of unique challenges. Due to the open floor plan, there was really only one wall to work with, and that wall was relatively narrow given the 22-foot ceiling height. Andrea coped with these challenges by populating the entire wall with built-in storage and a spacious wine bar. The rolling ladder allows access to the upper shelves and gives the room the feeling of a cozy library. She also visually lowered the ceiling by installing large, low hanging light fixtures.
On days when the weather is fine, the large Marvin Signature Ultimate Bi-Fold doors can open up the entire room to the outdoors. For those days that the weather doesn’t cooperate, Schumacher worked hard to bring the Colorado outdoors inside. The green paint and green curtains represent local evergreen trees. The custom wallpaper located up near the Marvin fixed windows and the tree stump table base are two more forest-inspired elements. The large round light fixtures look like western tumbleweeds, and the center light fixture resembles a campfire. Sheepskin chair covers are an homage to the state’s large sheep industry, and even the floating bench/swing is covered in sheepskin, albeit sheepskin from Tibet.
Inspiration from Faraway Places and Days Gone By
The lower-level lounge and hangout space was given to designer Noz Nozawa. She credits her Asian heritage and time spent living in San Francisco for her international inclinations and diversity of predilections. The wallpaper has a distinct African flavor, as do the stools. The round game table and bench were inspired by both a Japanese kotatsu table as well as the conversation pits popular in the US in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Many of the color choices feel vintage, as do the chairs, which sport a postmodern vibe. And when the games do commence, the large Marvin Ultimate Casement windows and patio door provide plenty of light to help track down those runaway dice and dropped puzzle pieces.
Bridging Generational Gaps
In addition to the many multigenerational elements, this house also comes complete with its own boomer suite, which was designed by Tiffany Brooks of Chicago. The boomer suite has its own bedroom, living space, kitchen, and private outdoor space accessible by a Marvin Ultimate French Door. The suite provides privacy while still encouraging a family to remain close and stay connected. Tiffany went into the project with the intention of resurrecting the 1990s, or at least what she considers the good parts of the 90s. By using her own parents as both her consultants and muses, she was able to determine that the original layout was lacking storage and a quiet space to enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book. This prompted her to add a coffee nook with bench seats that double as storage bins.
Easy Access to the Outdoors
Today, the average American spends almost 90 percent of their time indoors. One of the best ways to promote happier, healthier living is to enhance engagement with the outdoors and build strong connections to the natural world. For this reason, many of the rooms in this home feature exterior doors that allow for quick access to the outdoors, and most of them are fully glazed to capture restorative light and take advantage of mountain vistas and the quaint views of the working farm.
Playful Outdoor Spaces
Max Humphrey prefers to build playfulness into his spaces, which explains the buffet table that doubles as a ping-pong table. He also prefers well-built over fancy, which perfectly describes the olive drab patio furniture. Humphrey also chooses to emphasize sustainability whenever possible. Much of the furniture he chose for the outdoor areas was locally sourced, repurposed, or made from recycled materials. When working with large spaces he leans on large patterns like the ones on the colorful outdoor rug. And while strategic in his planning, he admits that the motivation of impressing the neighbors is never completely out of mind.
Consider the Flow from Indoors to Out
Creating large openings with the intention of leveraging natural light and beautiful scenery remains a popular, human-centered strategy. Recently, more designers and architects are paying closer attention to how indoor and outdoor spaces interact, how one space flows into another. More than ever, wall coverings, paint colors, furniture, flooring, and fenestration decisions are chosen to coordinate and compliment the atmosphere on both sides of the glass. Marvin’s Signature Collection offers the broadest range of window and door types, sizes, colors, styles, and design options—freeing designers to create with complete confidence and virtually no limits.
Photos by Lindsey Ramsey (Hearst Corporation)