Greening the McMansion: Simplifying a Grand Home

An over-the-top development house comes down to earth through a combination of natural, earthy materials and a melding of multicultural shapes and colors. The result is a phoenix rising from upscale mediocrity.


| September/October 2004


Stephanie Bordes loved her Lyons, Colorado, residence. Perched on a hilltop with soaring views of the Rocky Mountains, the home was sunny and warm with a modern, open design that connected it to the high plains surroundings. There was just one problem: The artist and her two-year-old son, Daniel, shared the property with a prolific colony of rattlesnakes. They had to move.

So in 2001, Stephanie bought a new house in an upscale neighborhood in nearby Boulder. The backyard opened directly onto city-owned open space and nestled against foothills that rise above the home. The views were incredible—but the developer’s taste wasn’t. In fact there was little about the residence to recommend it, aside from its site. The house had a little of this, a little of that, and too much of everything. The lines were complicated, the finishes were cold, and some of the construction was unrefined.

Stephanie asked architect Chuck Koshi and the mother-daughter interior design team of Carolyn Baker and Kristina Baker de Atucha to give the home a complete facelift. “I would like you to transform my new home into a natural, peaceful, serene, happy setting for me and my son,” she told the team, the principals of Koshi Baker Design Associates. “I wanted to make it as clean an environment as possible,” Stephanie says. “I am very sensitive to environmental pollutants, but I think it’s also part of wanting to make some small contribution to making the environment better.”

Could this home—with its imposing but architecturally unnecessary pillars, set cheek-by-jowl with a bevy of similar grandiose homes—be transformed into something that would suit this sensitive, earth-centered woman?



Welcome home

The design team started at the front entry, which Stephanie found impersonal. They removed superfluous columns and added wood and stone. Alder garage doors and accents create an earthy, natural feeling, and moss rock placed around the foundation—harvested from Stephanie’s Lyons property—grounds the home. The driveway was repoured with a warm sandstone-pink color, and the landscape was tamed to open up the entry, almost as a courtyard. By starting at the driveway, says Carolyn, the design team let the outside begin to tell the story of the house.








mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265