A Stone’s Flow

Built as a natural extension of the surrounding mesa, this contemporary home features a culled selection of quarried boulders that harmonizes it with the rugged environment.

By Nicole Holland Pearce | Photography by Jon Eady

Carved into the landscape by lava flows more than 60 million years ago, North Table Mountain in Golden provides visitors and residents with panoramic views of the Front Range, miles of trails, and a glimpse into the wild habitat of many of Colorado’s fauna, such as prairie dogs, mule deer and red-tailed hawks. When homeowners Karma Giulianelli and Chris Cone first saw their empty plot nestled into the spanning mesa, they knew it would one day become a peaceful mountain retreat for their growing family. The land backed up directly into the landscape’s hiking and biking trails, and with no one permitted to build behind the lot, the homeowners would enjoy unsullied views of the tabletop terrain.

Architect Faye Crowe brought more than 30 years of building and design experience to the project. Including expertise in landscape and interior design as well as external and structural architecture, her skills were the perfect fit for creating a home that lived and breathed as a natural extension of the unadulterated setting. The homeowners were attracted to her style because they knew she could design something daring with bold angles and contemporary elements that felt warm and never bare or rigid.

The home exudes an organic ambiance, featuring a chosen mix of boulders in complementary tones framing the stone stairway at the entrance. The building terraces up the landscape instead of being broken into multiple stories. This creates a smooth flow that allows the eye to follow the exterior stairs to the entryway, then higher to the strong structural angles of the residence. This balanced contrast between modern lines and the stone’s natural curves sets the tone for the entire residence. Strategic lighting placement inside provides a welcoming radiance.

Their embracing of the natural stone’s beauty continues indoors. Much of the rock was excavated from a local quarry, hand-selected by the homeowners and architect. All of the rock work is unique, says Giulianelli. The team went out to the quarry and marked their preferred boulders with spray-paint. The process involved huge flatbed trucks and masons, who spent a year cutting the rocks and hauling them back to the property. The boulders, typically reserved for exterior landscaping, were placed inside the home, making up a considerable amount of the structure.

The most unique boulder placement is in the bar area: two mammoth pieces weighing approximately six tons each. These colossal stones were moved with cranes during the initial phase of construction. The design goal was to enable the boulders to appear as if they had always been a part of the layout and, in a way, that the home was designed around them.

Betsy Burton of Inside Source designed the well-appointed lighting, which affords the home its lively and inviting glow. In addition, natural elements are placed throughout the interior, such as a collection of birch limbs with strategic uplighting that act as an organic focal point between living spaces. D’Amore Interiors contributed its expertise for the furnishings, which hint at a southwest milieu but speak to a more modern aesthetic.

Everything throughout the house is a nod to the natural, from Colorado granite and sandstone to wood beams and the floor-to-ceiling fireplace. The open floor plan lends an airy appeal to the interior with one space flowing into the next without any hallways or wasted space. Special touches for the whole family to enjoy include an art room and a theatre with a stage for family productions.

Every detail was taken into consideration, and both architect and homeowner worked to capture the precision of the design. They even climbed up onto a backhoe to survey and fine-tune the layout during the construction phase.

“The house was made to respond to the environment,” says architect Crowe. “The outdoors became a part of the interior spaces.” Each room boasts a different view of the mesa. From the front of the house, the windows open to Lookout Mountain. From the back, one sees a breathtaking composition of seemingly endless crags and valleys. And no view was left to chance. Familiar with the neighborhood, Giulianelli knew how the sun hit each part of the lot—where it was warm in the afternoon and cool in the evening. She and the architect spent months walking the lot and pinpointing the exact locations for each window, for each framed view.

The dwelling’s back patio sets a perfect stage for viewing the serene landscape. It’s a piece of paradise in the rustic environment but not too far from the city’s amenities. From the deck at night, the residents can hear the call of coyotes under a bright, glowing moon while viewing the twinkling lights of Golden on the horizon.

Warm Hearth

Soft lighting in the kitchen is comforting, and the curves of the island and stools visually emphasize the flow between spaces.

The Long View

The home, perched atop Golden’s North Table Mountain, oversees the valley in the direction of Lookout Mountain.

Outdoor Spaces

The patio, an integral part of the home, is a natural extension of the living room.

Natural Light

An understanding of the way the light hits the lot at various times of the day allowed the architect to use the sun to the home’s best advantage.

On the Rocks

On the lower level, the far end of the bar is anchored by a six-ton boulder that was carefully selected and placed to look as if the home was built around it.

Waking Up to the Landscape

Large windows in the bedroom serve to further minimize the line between the home and its environment.

 

 

Architect: Faye Crow Architect, 1528 Teller St., Lakewood, 303.271.1553, fayecrowearchitect.com

Lighting: Betsy Burton of Inside Source, 707 E. Anemone Trl., Dillon, 970.468.0573

Furnishings: D’Amore Interiors, 475 S. Broadway, Denver, 303.422.8704, damoreinteriors.com