Crestmoor is one of Denver’s loveliest and most venerated neighborhoods, so all eyes were on a new home constructed on a prominent corner lot. Happily, the new kid on the block turned out to be a wonderful neighbor. “This couple chose Crestmoor because they loved the neighborhood,” says Josh Rudolph, principal architect at Rudolph Architects, tasked with designing the home for Janie and Rick Stoddard. Their requirements were very specific: “They wanted to enjoy main floor living, but also have room and privacy for guests and family to stay. They also love to entertain, so the house had to allow 80 to 100 people to move about and interact comfortably on a single level. It was a challenge to accommodate entertaining on that scale and still maintain the intimacy you want in a home for two people.”
Rudolph found the solution right in the home’s yard. “The lot has wonderful trees and a great southern exposure that called out for a courtyard,” Rudolph says. “The weather in Colorado lends itself to using outdoor spaces with seating and outdoor fireplaces.” Rudolph created a seamless flow between intimate, interior everyday living spaces and a private, outdoor, south-facing courtyard and patio space that parties can spill onto through bi-fold doors that open to create a 12-foot opening. The kitchen, bar area, and dining room front the courtyard for easy flow centered on food and conversation. A wall-mounted water feature designed by the architect provides soothing sound for both relaxing and as a musical score for parties. “From the outside, the courtyard doesn’t feel like we’ve turned our back on the community, yet it maintains a great sense of privacy for the home owners,” says Rudolph. Passersby see a home that is the right scale, one that blends seamlessly into the neighborhood. Indeed, with the thoughtful landscaping and magnificent trees, the house feels like its always been there.
The glorious outdoor feeling of the house fits the Tuscan design of the house that would be perfectly at ease in California, Janie Stoddard’s former home. “They travel quite a bit, and their travels show up in the interior of the house,” Rudolph says. His design incorporated an extensive wine cellar and spotlighted an exotic ostrich egg chandelier. “Both have terrific taste,” Rudolph says. “They gave me a lot of latitude on the plan of the home and exterior elevations, the courtyard, the water feature and the landscaping, but were happy to select the interior features and do the legwork necessary to track them down.”
While the house is 5,200 square feet on two levels with 2,500 square feet of finished basement space, it doesn’t feel like a monster. It doesn’t have yawning open spaces and echoing rooms; one wouldn’t imagine that it could host 100 people. “That’s because it’s proportionally correct and the details are refined,” Rudolph explains. “Design intent should not be blurred. A house should never feel like it has had five hands working on it. I like to set something of a theme for a house that carries through from the outdoor to the interior. I like to pick up a stone detail, for instance, and have the interior reference it.”
Rudolph’s design aesthetic is expressed in exquisite materials that come alive in the glorious Colorado light. The exterior sandstone is echoed in the great room’s fireplace surround, and the fountain’s mix of handmade Italian terra cotta tiles and marble from Ann Saks informs the travertine and marble of the entry. The refined feel of sophisticated stones in warm colors continues through the master bath floor and shower in Calcutta Crema marble from Ann Saks and a honed slab marble countertop. The kitchen’s taupe quartz countertops set off the white perimeter cabinets while the Blanco Romano slab granite surface in a leathered finish sets off the natural walnut of the island and bar.
Hardwood floors of 8-inch, quarter sawn European white oak reflect the sun-washed interior feel in the easy living home. The couple’s two large dogs have the run of the home. Pets, and the heavy traffic of entertaining, necessitated an attractive, but low maintenance floor. The stunningly beautiful choice is an expensive one, Rudolph allows, but one that will go the distance. “This lighter floor will hold up well because the wear simply adds to the patina,” he says.
Rudolph capitalized on the lot’s orientation and mature shade trees to ensure energy efficiency. “The passive solar of the overall design is the most important energy element of any house—taking advantage of the sun,” he explains. “The shade trees do their jobs of cooling in the summer and allowing the sun’s warmth in the winter,” The home’s positioning on the lot and design elements including overhangs, and smaller openings on the north side work for energy efficiency as well.
Princeton-trained Rudolph is a third generation architect (his grandfather did architectural renderings for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs). He moved the family firm west from Manhattan and New Jersey in a 2008 “shot in the dark” because he and his wife Jennifer loved Colorado and believed it was a perfect placed to raise their son and daughter. Rudolph finds that his East coast sensibilities translate well to Colorado. “East coast architecture has a strong sense of history and calls for very refined details that make for a more customized feeling. My clients here appreciate that. Often, they grew up in the East or the Midwest or have fond memories of Thanksgiving at family homes. They want that sense of refinement and timelessness.” Rudolph’s East coast connections allow him access to resources that one might not ordinarily find in Colorado.
The Stoddard’s appreciated Rudolph’s timeless, classic sensibilities; they provided a referral for his next commission. The feeling is mutual—“If there were a client hall of fame, I would nominate them,” he says.
PO Box 201568
Denver, CO 80220
Bio: Colorado author Kimberly Field writes frequently about architecture and design in the West.
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