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Award-Winning Home Designed to Last for Generations
Old World Architectural Elegance Meets Modern American Living
Wausau, Wis. (April 1, 2009) -- The award-winning Belcaro Woods residence combines the architectural elegance of English Tudor manors with the comforts of modern American living. Weston Construction Corporation designed and built the home to last for generations, while incorporating the proportion, scale and detail of generations past. The National Association of Home Builders recognized this accomplishment with a 2009 Silver Medal, and the Denver Home Builders Association named the project its 2008 Custom Home of the Year.
Located at 3336 Belcaro Dr. in Denver, this three-story, eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom, single-family home spans more than 8,000-square-feet of livable, interior, above ground space plus another 3,000-square-feet below ground. Listed for $5.8 million, it sits on a half-acre of old-growth trees. The home's brick and stone exterior offers a stately welcome with a presence that conveys a sense that the structure has been there, and will be there, for a very long time.
"These homes are designed and built to last. They are large, but warm and friendly," says Weston's Michelle Miller. "They should continue to add to the architectural fabric of their neighborhoods. We want them to be as good or better, 100 years from now."
Miller's partner, Rick Crum, agrees and says, "We're evoking a classic architectural look, while still performing at a modern level." Working together, the husband and wife team draw heavily from centuries' old best practices to create signature, enduring homes. They currently own the Belcaro home, using it as a showplace, offices, and archival library, as well as a personal residence.
Working on only a few homes each year, Weston invests significant time and thought into each project. Influenced by past eras when a property's designer was also the master builder, they approach projects by researching the historic precedents, designing conceptual and detailed construction drawings, specifying the building materials, selecting colors and finishes, and overseeing the construction process.
Suppliers and specialty contractors on Weston's projects are chosen not just for their experience, craftsmanship, and creativity, but also for their knowledge and willingness to find new answers to old questions. Weston relied on Central Trim & Supply's Kevin Sausker as its partner to provide Belcaro's 151 windows and several exterior doors. These products were chosen from Kolbe's Ultra Series line of premium, aluminum-clad wood windows and doors.
"To some, a window's a window. It is, and it isn't. When you take a closer look, you start to see the proportion of the sashes and the grids within the window itself. It's the subtle scaling of these details that help make it beautiful. These are the details to which people unconsciously react," explains Crum.
"Kevin understood how important this was to us. We enjoyed working with him. He helped us determine an acceptable, and an affordable, product and still gave us a lot of flexibility in the design," says Crum. He adds, "We looked at a full range of window options before choosing Kolbe - from bronze-clad, completely custom windows, to semi-custom, to standard. Kolbe's push-out is a standard window with a good price, which meant we could afford to customize it."
"Kolbe's windows were a quarter of the cost of some we were considering. They're put together well and had the look we wanted," echoes Miller. "Great design is not necessarily the most expensive choice, but the most appropriate choice for the project at the best value. It takes research and a lot of thought."
As they conceived the design for Belcaro Woods, Weston studied small manor houses of southwest England from the 1500s to the 1800s. They visited several of these historic residences, and found their greatest inspiration at Sanford Orcas, built in 1550. They noted the locally quarried stone, the roof's slope, the rooms' dimensions, the stairways' rise, the grand functionality of a walk-through fireplace, the doorways' arched tops, the exact proportion of the windows' divided lites, and the interrelated scale of each architectural element on the whole.
Weston brings together all these elements in Belcaro Woods. The exterior is constructed of local, red, tumbled brick and hand-cut Colorado sandstone, curving over ground-floor entryways. The steep roof pitch is shingled in slate. A massive, wood stair railing and soaring, limestone fireplaces leave a lasting impression. Design motifs of griffins and Tudor roses, and the tactile qualities of wood, metal and stone carry through the interior.
The windows also balance between indoor and outdoor, old world and new world. Both Crum and Miller emphasized the importance of Kolbe's narrow sash and thin 5/8-inch PDLs (performance divided lites) to resemble historic, steel casements and the true divided lites. "Kolbe's push-out casements look more traditional and European, especially combined with the antique bronze lever hardware selection," says Crum.
"Most of the windows don't have screens like most windows in Europe," says Miller. "Denver has virtually no bugs, except for at night if there's a light." For these few areas, like the bedroom windows, Weston and Central Trim & Supply specified Kolbe's retractable screens. "When you don't need them, they disappear, which is fantastic."
All of the windows' profiles contour to seamlessly match the exterior, sandstone masonry surrounds are finished in a dark bronze anodize for low-maintenance durability. Crum reiterates, "Kolbe's windows offered the comfort, performance and durability we wanted."
One of the favorite rooms on the main-floor of Belcaro Woods is a mahogany-paneled library where Crum and Miller keep their antique collection of home plans, historic books, and archived reference materials. To protect this rare repository, one may expect the library to be a windowless interior room. In contrast to this notion, the library is a warm, welcoming space drenched in natural light through Kolbe's windows. Kolbe's Ultra Series products come standard with energy-efficient LoE2-270 double-pane insulating glass units with argon, achieving maximum visible light, while blocking 86% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. This protects furniture, fabrics and other valuable interior items from fading.
The LoE2-270 glass enables Kolbe's windows to meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all climate zones. The home's 20-inch-thick walls also play a significant role. According to Miller, "The energy efficiency is astounding." Living and working from the property, she sees $200-250/month energy bills for a house in excess of 12,000-square-feet.
Highlighting the walls' 20-inch depth without interrupting the library's paneled interior, each window unit is trimmed in mahogany. Cherry trim was used for another breathtaking, but smaller room, featured in one of the home's showcase bathrooms. Situated in an alcove, the bath's tub is surrounded by windows. From the perspective of the person in the tub, the walls seem to disappear into blue sky, natural light and foliage.
"It's hard sometimes for people to visualize how a design might look or feel if they're just looking at paper. It's helpful for them to see, touch and experience these different rooms and materials to understand the variety of options available," observes Miller. "Many people tell us it's the most beautiful house they've ever seen."
What began in 1946 as a two-brother team has grown into an internationally respected manufacturing company. Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co, Inc. remains a privately held, community-oriented business located in Wausau, Wis. Covering nearly one million-square-feet, its state-of-the-art facilities feature high-tech machinery and a design center to present the creative possibilities offered by Kolbe windows and doors.
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