Ask most people what they picture when imagining a dream home in the Rocky Mountains and they will probably describe something rustic, with log siding, maybe a big stone fireplace, and lots of windows to capture those mountain views. Well, they would be right about the windows at least.
Copious amounts of glass and stunning mountain views are about the only things this Durango dream home has in common with the typical mountain getaway. The homeowner specifically wanted to emphasize a cutting-edge modern design, something not often seen in Durango. Glass was one of the main design features of this home by Reynolds Ash + Associates architect Lauren Davis. Like most people living in Colorado, the homeowners wanted to make sure that those amazing mountain views were one of the primary focal points of their home, but they also wanted a breathtakingly open and modern feeling.
The master suite even includes floor-to-ceiling glass panels that open onto the second-floor balcony. The house features large windows in almost every room. But privacy wasn’t forgotten in this striking, contemporary design. The expansive living room window wall that faces the street is infused with a gas that allows it to shift from translucent to opaque. As with every other aspect of this home, the client and the designer wanted to take it to the next level.
Davis says this house was both challenging and a joy to work on. She especially enjoyed getting to work on something so unabashedly modern in an area that usually leans more toward rustic, or contemporary farmhouse at best. Davis also cites having a great client to work with as part of what made this project so uniquely innovative and fun. The client, a builder himself, and his wife had some very specific ideas about what they wanted going into the design of this home. Davis says that they came to her “with a loose sketch, basically just some rectangles.” One thing they knew they absolutely wanted was a large outdoor living space on the upper floor, one that included the central feature of the home’s exterior: an infinity-edge swimming pool.
That swimming pool and the stunning modern lines of the house make it look like something straight out of Hollywood. The interior only reinforces this impression. In addition to all the glass, the house features gleaming marble floors, a massive custom fireplace, sunken living room, and a movie room complete with a projector and theater-style seating. The kitchen also opens up to the outdoor living space on the extensive deck and pool area, with yet more floor-to-ceiling glass panels. At more than 3,500 square feet, this home doesn’t skimp on luxury or detail-oriented design features. It even has a hot tub.
There were a number of challenges to creating a home this complex. According to Davis, having the pool on the second floor meant a lot of work had to go into streamlining and disguising all the infrastructure required for the installation and upkeep. On a lot that is anything but flat, most homeowners and designers would tackle that problem with a walkout basement. But in this case, the homeowners wanted their outdoor living space to be situated on the second-floor deck. The shape of the property itself was one of the most difficult aspects of designing this home. Wedge-shaped, and with a sharp drop-off, the unique shape required a lot of work manipulating the floorplan of the house to fit. Davis says that it took a lot of time spent with the clients and going back over the design and the drawings to get “the right balance of vertical and horizontal lines.” Not to mention getting all of it to fit on an angular, sloped lot of less than half an acre. And of course, there were HOA regulations to follow, drainage issues to sort out, and all the particular challenges of building in an established neighborhood which also happens to be in the Rocky Mountains. But the end result is something of which both Davis and the homeowners can be incredibly proud.
The design process started way back in 2020, and it took months just to finalize the plans. Though the process was arduous and time-consuming, Davis says “It was fun to have a client who wanted to go big like that.” The homeowners took great care in going over each draft of the plans with Davis, and they invested plenty of time in visiting shops and suppliers to pick out the perfect finishes. No detail was left out, and Davis delivered, giving the homeowners their dream come true of a modern and airy house on a hill.
Davis studied for her undergraduate degree in Tennessee at the University of Memphis, before moving to New Mexico to pursue her master’s degree at UNM. After that, it didn’t take her long to migrate further north, and she landed in Durango some ten years ago and has been designing Colorado dream homes ever since. She joined Reynolds Ash + Associates in 2022.
Reynolds Ash + Associates has been an innovator in home design for Southwest Colorado since 2002. They emphasize a holistic approach that takes into account all aspects of the home design process, from understanding the client’s needs, to utilizing the landscape and sourcing the best materials for the job. Leaning more and more into the sustainability model, Reynolds Ash + Associates balances pragmatic solutions and creative design with the awareness that the client relationship always comes first.
Davis certainly understood the importance of that client relationship. Though these clients wanted something that was undeniably larger-than-life and atypical for Durango, Davis was more than ready for the challenge. After working with this client, she says “I really love it. I think that they were really willing to push the envelope.” There is no doubt that the house she designed for them pushes the envelope of luxurious mountain living. This is one mountain dream home that won’t soon be forgotten.