Homeowners Megghan and Jared St. Aubyn know a thing or two about designing dream houses. As experienced custom home builders, they’ve been down that road themselves before. “We’ve built several of our own residences,” Megghan says. “In each one, you make a mistake: You wish for a wider hallway or a bigger room. This time, finally, we nailed down what we really wanted.” Their purchase of a wooded 3-acre Colorado Springs site—with steep grades and views of Pikes Peak and the neighborhood golf course—fueled their imagination to create a warm, contemporary retreat for their family of five and two dogs. Though Jared directed the build himself, the duo called on a team of experts to respond to the lot’s challenges.
First, architect Jane Snyder hand-sketched two different design schemes for the St. Aubyns. The trio then worked to blend concepts from each of them into a single design. On the punch list were expansive areas for entertaining, separate private and public spaces and a window-laden layout that maximizes the property’s awe-inspiring views. The plan accommodates a more unusual request too: a field house tucked on the side below the abode (to avoid interfering with any sight lines), next to the backyard’s AstroTurf lawn. It offers additional space for Jared, who is a high school football coach in addition to a builder, to host dinners for the team during the season.
This guiding principle of hospitality informed every decision. “We love entertaining and having people in our house,” Megghan says. “It’s important to me that when guests walk in, they feel welcomed.” To create an appealing atmosphere, Snyder designed the home’s central volume as “a very thin and shallow glass box with a wing on each side.” As visitors approach, the architect explains, they see through it to the view beyond. Inside, the low-ceilinged, intimate entry gives way to a voluminous living-dining-kitchen area under a lifted shed roofline which tilts up toward the view out back. “We really choreographed the way you experience the house,” Snyder adds. “It reveals itself slowly as you meander through.”
The exterior materials palette—a mixture of light stone, black metal trim, fascia and glass—also drives this vision, as it extends into the interior and creates a clear indoor-outdoor connection. Directional walls penetrate the structure, so the same stone that defines the façade serves as a backdrop for a sculptural floating staircase and the dining room.
As befits a family who loves to host, interior designer Devon Tobin conceived spaces meant to bring people together. “The scale of the home is significant, but Megghan wanted the rooms to feel intimate,” Tobin says. “We chose sizable items to give each space a sense of coziness.” Megghan, assisted by a design consultant, chose many of the finishes herself; Tobin selected the artworks, furnishings, wallcoverings, accessories and striking light fixtures—such as the elegant bespoke chandelier inspired by aspen leaves that fills the floating staircase. “It’s large-scale, but it’s delicate and airy,” Tobin explains. “It bridges down into the space so that, as you ascend, you experience this gorgeous light all the way up.”
On the main floor, the tonal palette pays homage to the home’s stunning surroundings. “There’s so much beauty, I just had to complement it as well as the architecture,” Tobin says. To wit, a pair of oversized sofas and matching chairs in muted hues—all from Thayer Coggin—encourage lingering beside the living room’s steel-and-stone fireplace. Nearby, a sleek Rifugio Modern kitchen with dark cabinets enhances the cozy aesthetic and adds a touch of timeless elegance.
These interiors look out over a wooded scene shaped by landscape architect Luke Sanzone. “Our goal was to create a landscape that felt like it naturally belonged in this forest, all the while honoring the home’s contemporary architecture,” he recalls. The landscape and hardscape both become more sculptural closer to the home itself, with ornamental grasses providing structure while perennials in soft hues of silver, purple and white soften the look.
For the St. Aubyns, their new home brings together everything they hoped to achieve. “I leaned on our architect and design team more than I ever have before, and it paid off in the end,” Megghan says with satisfaction. “There’s nothing here that I would change.”