The Hale Home on Horizon Circle, with its angular lines and vibrant colors, is as cooly obvious as a Manhattanite in a Mountain Home diner.
The home's front entry, with a frosted glass front door and a lacquered cement walk, typifies the world that's been sculpted within the colorful stucco-covered outer walls: understated sleek-lined, modern functionality. Large square blocks of black concrete usher visitors from the front door, past a wall unit of low-slung cupboards and shelves, and into an open and informal great room, where the architect did the only logical thing to do when a house is built in the hills with an unimpeded view--knocked plenty of holes in the back walls for windows. The living room's fireplace and full-wall unit, while integral parts of the room's design, play an obvious second fiddle to the large picture window set within a frame of smaller windows. Bamboo hardwood floors extend throughout the main floor from the modestly sized living room and into the breakfast nook and kitchen area. Set in a corner of doors--a sliding glass door on one side and a roll-up garage door on the other--the breakfast nook doubles as the dining room. Both doors open onto a second-level deck overlooking the neighbor's pool and a close view of the city skyline.
The kitchen, which epitomizes the home's manipulation and combination of simple materials to create a wholly artistic approach to each room, may be too close-quarters for a new homeowner who prefers ample kitchen space. Black granite countertops ground the tricolored cabinets (in maple, cherry and black) and the brushed stainless steel backsplash. Above the side-by-side fridge and freezer, a stained-glass cabinet with a bright red circle helps exaggerate what the realtor describes as the home's Asian theme, while mimicking the setting sun perhaps visible from the living room's picture window. A corrugated steel panel armors the arched island on the outer side, which faces the living room, and thick concrete countertops have been used on the island instead of the black granite.
Carpeted in a thick taupe shag carpet, the lower level has an informal family room and two bedrooms, one of which has been converted into a music room with 18-inch-thick insulation covered by plywood. A small ground-level patio off the family room is wired for a hot tub, and though the yard abruptly drops off several steps from the patio, the property line extends far enough to accommodate a berm extension or the installation of a pool. The most unique feature of the basement is the installation of two "hidden" doors, which are flush with the surrounding wall but have inset bookshelves and when closed, the presence of a door is nearly imperceptible.
The upper level is comprised solely of the master suite. Though not a large space, the fireplace and wall unit shelves lend the room a more livable feel. The master bath, like the kitchen, is an exercise in art-chitecture, creating a bath house rather than a bathroom. Two side-by-side glass bowl sinks site precariously on a curvaceous glass-topped counter, and the mirror's harsh right angles are smoothed into waves on one side. The oval tub, which sits in the middle of the room, as well as the open, wall-length shower with dual shower heads is tiled in iridescent blue mosaic tiles.
The house has several features, including radiant heat beneath the limestone and an A-BUS whole house audio system, which reinforce the impression that though it's not a sprawling property, it is modernly luxurious. And with small inclusions of personal touch--like the stained glass cabinet above the fridge, the stainless steel stair railings, the darkly-stained mahogany garage door and the complete absence of door moldings--what could be a very plain home is subtly transformed.
PROS: View, view, view.
CONS: The backyard has plenty of unharnessed potential. The raw plywood in the music room is very use-specific, isn't great looking and will be a hassle to remove.