Like so many remodeling projects, this one started with a simple request: “The homeowners just wanted an office and maybe a small family room,” recalls architect Kyle Webb. And like so many homeowners with similar intentions, this couple watched their plans more than double in size in what seemed like an instant. “When we talked through what was wrong and what the house needed to suit their lifestyle, 1,000 square feet evolved into 2,400 pretty quickly,” says Webb of the expanded plans that called for a much larger family room, a guest suite, a hallway, and more outdoor living space.
The couple who purchased the Mountain Star residence in Avon, despite its shiny black granite tile floors and blazing red kitchen cabinets, did so because they wanted something contemporary and believed the building had potential. “It just wasn’t our style at all,” says the wife. But before bringing Webb on board, the couple exchanged the sleek flooring for calmer walnut and converted a second garage used by the previous owner to work on racecars into a man cave. “My husband trusted me with the decorating from the start, but the man cave so exceeded his expectations he gave me free rein with the rest of the house,” she says.
When the time came to move forward with the grander plan, the owners were both fully vested in all aspects of it, including opening the house to the south-side views. “Prior to the remodel, the house lacked any real relation to the majestic surroundings, so I designed multiple outdoor living spaces,” says the architect, who repeated the existing stone veneer and cedar siding on the addition and introduced zinc paneling.
While Webb’s biggest challenge was lining up the rooflines—“I wanted an absolutely seamless transition,” he says—builder Bryan Brubaker claims his toughest encounter involved the floors. “The hardest job was matching the wood floors in the addition to those in the existing living room and getting the wood character and stain just right,” he says.
Throughout the project, the wife remained an integral part of the team, making decisions on everything from replacing the polished stainless-steel fireplace flue with a quieter bronze finish to coordinating with local designer Jan Chenault of Chenault & Associates and California-based designer Lara Nesburn of Mangrove Interiors on furniture purchases. “I wanted to look across the living room and out to the view, so everything had to be low-profile and neutral,” says the wife, who, with Chenault’s help, selected cream silk-cotton blend sofas, a gray flannel chair and white leather ottomans.
For the more casual family room, the wife called on Nesburn to procure furnishings in a mix of materials that included a cotton velour sectional, rattan chairs, metal side tables, and a commanding goatskin coffee table topped with resin. “I think the best rooms have a little bit of everything,” says the homeowner.
Meanwhile, it took seven coats of paint and glaze to adequately cover the home’s original flaming red kitchen cabinets, but the homeowners opted to save the red staircase, which the builder stripped to soften the color and better show off the grain. In the new guest room, layers of taupe and beige help create a calm aura, and the painted-wood cabinets and pine wall in the bathroom are equally serene. The hallway created to link the man cave to the main house does double duty as a gallery, and throughout the house, it’s the art that provides pops of color.
Although the architect says his focus was always on supporting the owners and personalizing the house for them, he also insists they were an integral part of realizing that vision. “We took a good house and made it better,” says Webb, “but they had the love and care to make it perfect.”