Award-Winning Home On Grape Street Cited As Example
By Wendy Mather
Mather Architectural Design, llc
We’re honored to announce that we have received an award from the American Institute of Architects in the 2015 Denver Built Architecture Category for our home at 2334 Grape St.
It has always been a dream for my husband, Brent, and me to design and build our own home. We chose Park Hill for the diversity in building styles and people, and our lot for the great solar orientation.
This allowed us to create a home that takes advantage of the amazing Colorado sunshine to light and power our house. We supplemented 500 square feet of solar panels (hidden on the roof) with geothermal heating and cooling. The addition of extra insulation makes our home almost zero carbon net! Inside, walnut floors soften the light reflecting off tall white walls and ceilings, creating a cozy warm feel.
We have been in our home for more than three years now and it is a joy to live in a space that we created, together, from start to finish.
We did our best to blend the design of our modern home into the surrounding older brick houses in by choosing muted-colored exterior finishes and keeping the scale appropriate for our lot. Apparently that isn’t enough. Recently it was brought to my attention that a group calling themselves “Historic Park Hill” hopes to designate a portion of our neighborhood a Historic District, and may seek to expand those boundaries if their initial efforts are successful.
As an architectural designer, I recognize the beauty of our neighborhood; however, I feel I must oppose this effort. Since our house does not conform, Historic District designation would have prevented us from realizing our dreams and will prevent others from having the same great sense of satisfaction that Brent and I have been so fortunate to share in this wonderful neighborhood. We don’t need HOA-like restrictions here. We shouldn’t deny homeowners the right to make choices regarding their private property and homes.
Historic District designation puts the approval for any exterior changes to an unelected nine-person Landmark Commission. In my experience, the permit and approval process is already difficult enough. Adding another layer of complexity to the process means projects will take more time, and cost more. This is going to hurt families with tight budgets. It’s also going to limit the architectural diversity of our wonderful neighborhood. You can express your opinion at the Historic Park Hill website www.historicparkhill.org. If given the chance, I will be voting no. I hope many more neighbors get involved, maybe even enough to stop the effort before the application process really gets going.
I may not agree with someone’s choices and tastes, but I will stand up to defend everyone’s right to express their creativity freely with regard to their personal property.
Wendy Mather is the Principal of Mather Architectural Design, llc www.facebook.com/matherarchitecturaldesign. The views expressed here are her own. For more detailed information about this issue visit www.BakerBrothersDenver.com.