With its rich, warm details, fireplace-oriented conversation area and carefully-planned traffic pattern, the great room in this custom residence near Denver serves as the home's inviting social center and its primary hub to congregate.
"The great room really serves as the linchpin for all of the movement within this home," says architect Jerry Gloss, who designed the rustic European-style beauty for empty-nester clients who have a passion for entertaining family and friends. He describes the space as "the crossroads of the home" because it connects directly to key areas such as the kitchen/hearth room, dining room, master retreat and two outdoor terraces.
An arched opening above a pass-through counter defines the transition between the great room and hearth area and kitchen without restricting the two key living spaces. The dramatic beamed ceiling continues outdoors, accenting the terraces that connect the space.
Because his clients opted to do without a separate living room when planning their 7,022-square-foot home, it was important that the great room combine amenities geared toward satisfying their everyday lifestyle requirements, such as a convenient spot for a television, a surround-sound music system and a cozy, intimate ambiance along with the visual impact necessary for more formal entertaining occasions. This includes a dramatic beam-accented cathedral ceiling, a window wall overlooking its golf-course setting and a wet bar with seating for four.
"This space contains all of the elements that make a successful great room," says the home's custom builder, Mike Comito, vice president of design and construction for Littleton, Colo.-based Marshall Building Enterprises. "It connects to all of the major living areas, opens to the outdoors and maximizes the view potential of the site from inside."
The four-bedroom home also features a second-floor loft with its own seating area and computer station as well as a spacious, finished lower level with a wine cellar, wet bar, billiards room, media center and exercise area.
Decorative beams in this great room draw the eye down from the 18-foot ceiling while at the same time allowing the space to soar visually. "The result is a very intimate, comfortable space that still has plenty of drama," says architect Jerry Gloss. The carefully planned seating arrangement will accommodate eight people comfortably. The room's TV niche is located on an interior wall to keep glare off the screen.
"Great rooms are an interesting composite of different functions," says Gloss. "You often have so much going on in there that it can be a very complicated room to design regardless of the size of the space that you have to work with. You have to consider everything from traffic flow patterns to furniture placement to preventing the television and fireplace from competing with one another as focal points." In this case, Gloss avoided placing the two in the same plane by designing the room with a corner fireplace and then positioning the TV niche on the adjacent, but visually separate, wall.
A series of closets incorporated into a secondary foyer that connects the great room and master suite provides easy access to out-of-view storage space for the owner's extensive collection of music and video CDs as well as for the audio/visual system control panel and its components.
Gloss says that, in his market, the living room has all but disappeared. "People are tending to go for less formal space in their homes because this reflects their lifestyle today. But I still see a need for at least two living spaces in most cases." In addition to the great room, the main floor of this home for features not only a separate formal dining room but also a hearth room, complete with its own conversation area, which is incorporated into the kitchen.
The home's Old World character carries into the great room through the use of stone and brick veneer and rough-sawn wood. "It is actually very complementary to the local area's highly identifiable Beaver Creek architectural style. Both make use of a lot of the same types of materials as well as using similar colors."
The home was completed in December 2003.