Family Alcove

By Heather Shoning
Photography by Jimena Peck Photography

This Front Range home enshrouds its family in privacy while CAPTURING THE VIEWS

The backyard is the heart of this home, and it was a driver of the overall design and layout of the spaces. A firepit and outdoor dining and living spaces dot the area dubbed “the beachfront” by architect Scott Rodwin. “It’s the interstitial space between the land and the water, and it’s where all the fun happens,” he says.“ When I look at this, it feels like a beach to me. The bonfire on the beach, having a margarita on the patio.”

A Boulder County couple longed for a home designed to cradle the backyard, creating a private outdoor space where their two young children and new puppy could play freely. And they wanted to capture the mountain views from every angle. “And that’s a very common thing with a lot of our houses,” says Scott Rodwin, president of Rodwin Architecture. “Many of our clients either move here or buy a particular piece of land because it has that huge western view to the mountains. And this one is very much organized around that.”

The couple purchased the land in 2007 with a 50-year-old delipidated house. Today, the lot hosts a 5,200-square-foot, almost C-shaped, transitional modern farmhouse that frames picturesque perspectives of the Boulder Flatirons. And it achieves near net-zero energy efficiency. Rodwin’s company, which serves the entire Front Range, incorporates sustainable products and materials in all
its homes.

The home’s front façade demonstrates the hallmarks of its style with the board and batten siding, standing seam metal roof, various roof pitches, heavy beams and corbels, and beautiful sandstone. And while this is striking, it’s the back of the home that sings. Here, the two-story-high pitched roof and stacked doors and windows create a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. And the series of inviting flagstone patio areas beg the family and visitors to go outdoors.

The kitchen showcases the warm style the homeowners sought for this house. “They wanted a subdued, contemporary classic color and material palette throughout,” Rodwin says. “They didn’t want it to be too modern, too stark.” Jocelyn Parlapiano, project manager and senior architectural designer at Rodwin Architecture, worked closely with Jamie Nusser of J Designs, Inc. to ensure the kitchen looked amazing and functioned like a dream. “One of the things worth noting is the level of attention we put into every little nuanced detail,” Parlapiano says. “The outlets disappear. The way everything is stored in the kitchen is designed to be just the right size to hold their coffee maker, cutting boards and each particular element, so there’s nothing arbitrary about the design.”

The primary suite is an example of the scale of the spaces in the home. “Despite the overall size of the house, the rooms are not particularly large,” Rodwin says. “There are not grand—they’re tall rooms—but there are no rooms that have extensive square footage.” Even so, the primary lives large thanks to French doors opening to an adjoining private deck overlooking the backyard, again drawing the homeowners outside at every turn.

Indoors, the home is air- and light-filled thanks to wide-open spaces. “With a lot of our houses, and this one in particular, when creating this C-shaped long and skinny house, it gave us the opportunity to provide light on both sides of the house so that light and air flow all the way through,” Rodwin says. “When you’re in the living room, you have windows, sunlight and air on both sides. And that particular technique helps people feel like they’re outdoors and connected to their landscape even when they’re inside.”

The clients didn’t want an ostentatiously large house, but the spaces feel grand thanks to the volume created by high ceilings. “Having access to see the sky from the inside is part of what makes this space extraordinary,” Rodwin says. 

The living room is a central hub connecting to the outdoors, but also to the kitchen, dining room, media room and upstairs both because of the stunning open staircase and the double-height vaulted ceilings exposing the catwalk that joins the primary suite on one side and the children’s bedrooms and home gym area on the other. Materials from the home’s exterior, such as metalwork and sandstone, repeat indoors, further strengthening the interior and exterior connection.

Butted up against the stairs is a masterfully “hidden” wine room. Because they have young children, the homeowners didn’t want their entertaining space in full view. “They said, ‘Can you give us something in the very center of the house that’s on display but can be invisible?’” Rodwin says. “And that was the challenge. In the invisible version, you turn off the light in the wine room and close the sliding barn door to the uncorking area and spirits bar, and it disappears. When it opens up, it’s on full display and easy access for entertaining for grownups.” The petite room won the Luxe Interiors + Design’s annual RED Award in the jewel box space category in 2021. Adjacent to the wine and living rooms is a media room that can be open to the living area or closed off for quiet viewing. “They wanted to be able to watch movies together, but to be able to close it off so the kids wouldn’t be bothered if the couple stayed up late watching movies, or if the kids are playing video games when they get older, that they wouldn’t bother the adults,” Rodwin says.

There are many quotes about constraints in design, one of the most famous possibly being: “Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom,” by Leonardo da Vinci. When this home was designed, permitted and officially under construction, Rodwin was onsite and noticed the neighbor building a new barn that would ultimately impede the views for his clients. Working in close coordination with David Ellis of Ellis Builds, the company building the home, the team quickly pivoted—literally. “We immediately stopped and worked with the homeowner and the builder to lift, slide and rotate the house,” Rodwin says. “Because with the original placement and orientation of the house, the neighbors’ barn would have largely obstructed the views of the mountains.”

Despite the constraints—or likely because of them—such as a disappearing wine room, a media room that is both open and closed simultaneously, and a view-blocking barn, the completed home is just what the homeowners wanted. “The homeowners presented a lot of really challenging requests,” Rodwin says, “and that’s part of the fun of problem-solving a truly custom home.”

Left: This tastefully appointed alcove is the perfect addition to the home’s entertaining spaces. The custom beetle-kill pine sliding barn door adds visual interest and warm texture to the area.

Right: Despite the home’s overall size, the individual room sizes are modest because of the number of specialty spaces the homeowners wanted. Being tidy was important, so a highly functional mudroom and laundry room were top priorities in the design. 

Project Resources
Appliances: Specialty Appliance
Bathroom tub/sinks/fixtures: Dahl Plumbing
Cabinetry: The Artisan Shop
Countertops: Moros Fabrication
Kitchen backsplash: Crossville Studios
Kitchen sinks/fixtures: Dahl Plumbing
Lighting living room/family room: Capital Lighting
Lighting kitchen/dining: Restoration Hardware
Lighting primary suite: Lumenarea
Additional lighting: Visual Comfort


Rodwin Architecture

Ellis Builds

J Designs, Inc.