Dean Hight’s 1957 split-level in Denver, Colo., may not be an actual Frank Lloyd Wright, but with its Usonian stylings of the period, the home was full of style (part 1). After making some cosmetic updates inside, Hight honed his Usonian and industrial style skills on the exterior (part 2), truly making this home his own—and definitely not like his former Victorian! But how does his family feel about choosing form over function?
“This house is very much about my husband,” says wife, Lisa Fournier, good-naturedly. “The Victorian was more me, although I can live in almost any kind of house. Its colors were very rich and we did a lot of faux finishes, like marbling the columns. Each home lends itself to a different color palette, and our palettes match really well. My main contribution to this house has been textiles.
“Dean tried to honor the home for what it was while putting his own mark on it. He chooses the colors, and the lines and angles,” she continues. “I’m more into function, while Dean has to have his style—but I can’t point to anything in this house that I don’t like. His taste is really good and he sees on a grand scale. He sees the whole thing done before it’s even been started. I appreciate the space and the lines of this house so much; I’m more myself in this home.”
Clyde Mannon, the retired builder of Arapaho Hills who lives nearby in Golden, partnered with developer Edward Hawkins on the tract. He confirms Hight’s Wright connotation: “Eichler’s homes were ones we always looked at, and Frank Lloyd Wright was always in our minds. I went through his place in Arizona; it was quite a concept,” he said during an interview in 2005. Mannon remembers that the Fournier/Hight house was originally sold to an automobile racer from Sweden. He and other long-time residents have been a great source of information for the tract’s close-knit homeowners, who remain a creative bunch.
“There are lots of people here who are artists and graphic designers and architects. Original owners who are still in the neighborhood say they used to have ‘martinis & bikinis parties,’” Fournier tells us before taking us down the street to see another home rife with potential. “We tend to have more margarita parties. But we have a common thread because we all value these homes.”
Looking for more Denver design inspiration? Check out this post and beam home by Cliff May.