a large house with a driveway in front of it.
Feb 11 2021

The Building Blocks of a Unique Mountain Home

Building a home in the heart of nature is a dream shared by many but realized only by a few. It’s a labor of love that comes to fruition not just because of a singular vision, but because of the help and support of many. At Suncadia, we leave no stone unturned in helping our members breathe life into their dream home, and share a vision for the community that appeals both to individuals, as well as the collective. We recently spoke to Jennifer Kramer, our Director of Design Review and Residential Construction to find out more about this perspective.

What is the core design and construction philosophy Suncadia hopes is visible across all projects?

JK: Suncadia’s guiding design vision is to create a community carefully placed within the forest and river setting in a manner that is harmonious with and preserves the integrity of the natural landscaping and wildlife habitat for future generations to enjoy.

What elements do you look for in a Suncadia home design? 

JK: What we really look for is a sense of harmony between all homes, whether traditional or modern mountain. This aspect is extremely important and the designs we see are required to create a style and form of architecture and landscape that is not only elegant and appealing but also appropriate to the community, region and climate. That’s not all; we also look for certain guidelines to be met. For instance, the exterior finish materials and details of a home must appear natural and complementary to the surrounding natural environment in texture and color, while the overarching design must appear residential in scale, include single story elements, meet massing and square footage requirements, and step down with the natural grade of the land.

What is the common thread that makes these homes unique to Suncadia? 

JK: Suncadia’s beautiful homes are nestled in the natural environment, appropriate in building size, mass and scale and built with high quality materials indigenous to the area. Designs are carefully reviewed by the Design Review Committee to ensure that homes meet the vision for the community and enhance values to owners. We look for homes that ‘celebrate’ nature—by bringing the outdoors in through ample amounts of glazing, by extending indoor living spaces to the outside with ‘outdoor living rooms’ on decks, terraces and other areas—the options are endless, but the end result is unmistakably Suncadia. 

What do you think makes the Suncadia community special?
Could you share any interesting experiences about the homes you have overseen so far in Suncadia?

JK: It’s definitely the people that make the community special! I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with owners and their design teams from initial vision through the end of construction. It’s been a pleasure watching the community grow and seeing the relationships being developed throughout the different neighborhoods. There are so many unique designs but there are definitely quite a few memorable instances; there’s a home where the owners mimicked a mine shaft on their basement level, with the birthdates of their children chiselled into the rock entrance, another home flaunts a custom dining room table made from the trees removed on their property during construction, and there was even a home where the owner designed kitty windows so that their felines had a proper place to watch the wildlife and keep entertained while they were away! 

How do the elements and environment influence your thought process and/or the way you review and give feedback on design?

JK: It’s important to design to the landscape, but it’s just as important to know the climate-related factors that can influence the design. For example, architects are required to design roofs to meet a 140-pound snow load requirement—if it’s not properly designed, ice dams and snow sheds can cause significant damage. Also, owners have to submit a grading and drainage plan to ensure that water will flow away from the home and will be properly retained on the site—owners are required to minimize the amount of landscape irrigation through water sensitive landscape design; areas of irrigated landscape cannot exceed 20% of the Building Coverage. Care is taken to retain as many trees and natural vegetation as possible while still meeting Firewise recommendations, and landscape architects are directed to select plants and trees that are indigenous to the area. What’s more, as a member of the International Dark Sky Association, all exterior lights in Suncadia are required to meet the standards for light pollution and lumens. Natural gas is required to be used as the main source of heat for all homes, and solar panels are growing in popularity on Suncadia homes. It may seem like little details, but everything adds up to create a harmonious and happy living experience. 

Curious about what else goes into designing and building a home in Suncadia? Get in touch with one of our onsite real estate experts and we’ll answer every question you have!