A Fresh Farmhouse Near the River
In Colorado’s Animas Valley, a rustic new home’s timeworn materials and low-profile design pay tribute to the area’s history and geography
When architect Dallas Reynolds was tasked with designing a new farmhouse on a southern Colorado site bordered by pastureland and the Animas River, he began the process by thinking like a farmer.
“We worked from principles of no-nonsense honesty and good stewardship of the land,” says Reynolds, principal of RLA Architects in Surprise, Arizona. “The early ranchers and farmers realized the value of the land. We followed their lead and sited the house on the edge of the pasture rather than right in the middle.”
The 3,500-square-foot home is modest in scale and true to traditional farmhouse design. “We built several models during the planning stages to get the proportions just right,” Reynolds says. “The farmhouse vernacular dictated many of our design choices, like the portico entrance, tall ceilings, dormers and a series of high windows that allow natural light to fill the interiors.” A pergola at the front of the house provides summer shade, and narrow eaves prevent ice formation in the winter.
The homeowners wanted a simple well-organized floor plan, and Reynolds complied, creating a linear structure parallel to the river. There’s a central living space for relaxing, cooking and dining; a master suite on the north side of the house; and a separate wing containing a guest suite/home office to the south. The architect designed west- and east-facing porches to ensure that “at different times of the year and various times of day, there’s always a comfortable spot to sit outside.”
Durango builder Troy Dyer, of Veritas Fine Homes, oversaw the construction, often doing hands-on work at the property. “All of the exposed timbers used on the porch, master suite and great room trusses are made from standing-dead Douglas fir, and I spent many enjoyable hours hand-chipping the logs,” he recalls.
Recycled barnwood was a natural choice for the home’s siding, Dyer explains. The homeowners loved that some of the original red paint remained on the planks, and the color inspired the matching red Jeld-Wen windows. To add depth and texture, Dyer reversed the siding on parts of the exterior, allowing the planks’ brown-gray backsides to show. As a modern alternative to traditional chinking, the team applied powder-coated sheet metal trim between the wood slats.
American Antique Lumber of Montrose supplied the reclaimed timbers used throughout the home. “Every time the owner, Sandy East, was driving over Red Mountain Pass, he brought us a truckload of wood,” Dyer recalls. “He significantly lowered the carbon footprint for transporting the lumber.”
Inside the house, Telluride-based interior designer Sefra Maples created a design scheme she describes as “simple, clean-lined and modern, with visual interest provided by variations in texture.” Dark ceiling timbers contrast with the neutral walls, providing a focal point in the tall rooms. And in the open kitchen area, where contemporary lighting and modern appliances blend with custom cabinetry crafted from reclaimed old-growth Douglas fir, a suspended trellis leads the eye down, creating a more intimate space.
To accommodate the homeowners and their visiting grandchildren, Maples selected comfortable and durable furnishings, including a number of organic pieces, from a live-edge, walnut-slab coffee table to the powder room’s vanity, made from an enormous piece of chamcha wood.
“I love using natural and reclaimed objects, and combining modern and Old World materials,” the designer says. “The rustic-refined mix fits the authentic look the homeowners were after; they wanted their home to represent who they truly are.”
Ruby, the homeowners’ dog, poses in the foyer, where a bench from Etsy seller Recycled Brooklyn is topped with a cushion made from a repurposed coffee-bean sack. The Splash coat rack is from Roost.
In the open living area, a pair of Cisco Brothers sofas from CAI Designs of Denver invites relaxation. The live-edge coffee table was created by Dirty Hands Furniture of Telluride, and the bright floral-patterned easy chair is from Norwalk. The area rug is from Azadi Rugs.
Architect Dallas Reynolds designed the pergola at the front of the house to offer shade and give the space “a more human scale,” he says. The hanging bench was also crafted by Dirty Hands Furniture, and the glass-paneled door is from Sun Mountain Doors.
The dining area’s streamlined extension table from Orient Express is paired with plush armchairs and leather side chairs from Arhaus. The trio of paintings is by Donna Niemann of Niemann Hayden Fine Art.
Fine Wood Interiors handcrafted the kitchen’s custom cabinetry from old-growth oak timbers. The large work island’s Antique Gold granite slab was given a leathered finish to highlight the colors of the stone.
Interior designer Sefra Maples chose contemporary furnishings and soft fabrics to create a peaceful master bedroom, including a bed and headboard from Ye Olde Shoppe of Durango, a Daniel Stuart quilted comforter and a patterned coverlet from Ann Gish. She covered the Cisco Brothers bench at the foot of the bed in muted plaid fabric from Robert Allen.
The master bathroom’s wallcovering looks like wood planking but is actually Boardwalk “Coney Island” porcelain tile in Walnut from Capco. Counter Kulture created the custom shower bench.
Powder-coated metal trim was used in place of traditional chinking to seal the spaces between the exterior boards. Following the gentle slope of the land, steps lead from the expansive back porch to the Animas River.
The back patio is furnished with comfortable outdoor furniture from Restoration Hardware that can withstand the area’s ever-changing weather. Accent pillows are covered in a red bandana-patterned fabric, and a large metal gong adds visual interest to the wall.
Builder Troy Dyer and interior designer Sefra Maples gave this farmhouse personality and a distinctive style by incorporating a variety of reclaimed materials in creative new ways like these:
HANGING HARDWARE To create a custom coat rack, Dyer sourced vintage hammers and C-clamps with a worn, rusted patina and attached them to a weathered plank of wood.
WEATHERED SIDING Time-worn timbers from an Illinois barn enjoy new life as the home’s exterior siding. The original faded red paint inspired the color choice for the trim and windows.
FEED-SACK SEATING A large coffee-bean sack was repurposed as a custom cushion for a salvaged wood bench near the front door.
BEAUTIFUL BUILT-INS The kitchen cabinets, guest bathroom vanities and daybeds were all handcrafted from reclaimed wood. To minimize fuel consumption and shipping costs, Dyer chose Durango-based supplier Fine Wood Interiors.
NATURAL KNOBS Maples sent smooth river stones to Skipping Stones Studio in Sagle, Idaho, where they were transformed into one-of-a-kind drawer pulls for the master bathroom.
SPACE-SAVING DOOR A sliding barn-style interior door was crafted from antique wood and wall-mounted on utilitarian metal tracks.
ARCHITECTURE: RLA Architects, Durango, CO 970-749-3435 INTERIOR DESIGN: Sefra Maples Interior Design + Consulting Telluride, CO 970-708-7855 CONSTRUCTION: Veritas Fine Homes Inc. RECLAIMED EXTERIOR & INTERIOR BARN WOOD AND OAK TIMBERS: American Antique Lumber, Montrose, CO 970-249-4848 CABINETRY DESIGN: Erik and Donna Enriquez, Fine Wood Interiors, Durango, CO 970-375-0002 GRANITE/TILE/STONE SUPPLIER: Paul Beasley, Tile Art of Durango, Durango, CO 970-385-6874 LIGHTING: Jackie Beasley, Light Art of Durango, Durango, CO 970-382-8878 CONCRETE: (Countertops and bath furnishings) Andy Barber, Counter Culture Design Studio, Durango, CO 970-946-4365 PATIO SCREENING/FENCING: Will Daniels, Sol Tek Contractors, Durango, CO 970-799-2080 DOORS: (Interior and exterior) Sun Mountain Doors, Berthoud, CO 888-786-6861 JELD-WEN WINDOWS & PATIO DOORS: Katie Camarca, Colorado Fenestra Inc., Durango, CO 970-259-6780 SHOWER ENCLOSURE & MIRRORS: Smart Enterprises Inc., Durango, CO 970-247-0440 LANDSCAPING: (The owner played a huge role in the design, construction and planting) Chad White, Genesis Land and Waterscapes, Durango, CO 970-259-5557