Friday, September 9, 2011

1390 Fairfield Drive in Boulder Colorado

April 2014

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

1390 Fairfield Drive
You can click on most images to enlarge them.

This is a unique and sophisticated home done in Mediterranean Vernacular style by noted design-builder John King[1] [2]. The interior and exterior spaces combine to create a resort-like setting where busy professionals will find tranquility and privacy from the outside world.

The main living area is a great room and kitchen that’s filled with light. With its open access to the private central courtyard it is ideal for relaxing and entertainment. The master bath has a shower – steam room large enough for two, with access to the covered, yet open, hot-tub spa area. The landscape has a number of outside “rooms”, or courtyards, for relaxing in privacy   under mature trees.

A house like this is a once in-a-lifetime opportunity. Every detail was carefully planned. This is not another “box” and must be seen to be appreciated. It is located in the center of Table Mesa, and is close to businesses, hiking trails, schools, and City Park & Recreation Center.

To see more images of the South Boulder area, have a look at …

This property has a 1419 sq ft main residence, and a fully finished guest house or studio of 500 sq ft in a detached building. The property could be considered as having either 2- or 3-bedrooms (depending on usage), with 2 in the main residence and 1 in the studio. Because the studio has a private side entrance, its own bath, and kitchenette, it could serve many purposes.

The house has been occupied by a professional couple. Those who work from home, and need separate business space, will find this home especially appealing. In addition the house will appeal to those having a child, or other relative, who may want independent living in the studio.

The house has great curb appeal, and is on a corner lot (southeast corner of Fairfield Dr and Georgetown Rd) which adds to its ambiance. A visitor enters via wide, flagstone, stairs through a wrought iron gate surrounded by a forecourt in lush landscape that was professionally designed.


The house has many thoughtful and stylistic upgrades. Throughout the house are divided-light, 15-glass panel French doors. All closets have solid fir doors, or natural, louvered bi-fold doors. Much of the ceiling throughout the house is paneled with tongue & groove pine installed by a finish carpenter.

Handcrafted cabinetry is throughout the kitchen, great room, master bath, and studio.
Hardwood oak flooring is throughout the house (except the master bath, which has tile).

The exterior is low-maintenance masonry (brick & bonding cement)[3], with some cedar shingle siding. The house had a new roof in 2007, and was painted inside and out last year. The hardwood floors were also refinished. There is a modern electrical service panel, and many energy-conscious insulation upgrades. High-efficiency windows are throughout. Cooling is provided by a new attic fan above the great room. In the residence, heating is by 2-zone hot water baseboard heat in the main residence. All house and studio exterior doors have new, high-quality, lock-sets installed by a locksmith.

[1] John King has done many innovative re-creations of houses in South Boulder. He now lives in Lyons, Colorado, where he did the landscape design for the historic downtown. He is also known for his large-scale, kinetic, wind sculptures that are on display in many public places in Colorado:

[2] Other designers and builders of this property include Melton Construction, Purlin Construction, and architect, Ellen Burgess.

[3] Bonding cement resembles traditional stucco, but is a superior, much harder, material. It is applied over wire mesh, and has been used on the exterior and interior of this house.


The Entry and Great Room

Knotty ash front door

A solid ash front door leads into a formal entry with hardwood floors, skylight and double closet-cubby for keys and small items when coming and going. In addition, there is a closet fitted with attractive clothing hooks for easy storage of coats and hats.  The entry has its own charm, yet reveals little of the discoveries that greet you beyond at every turn.

The great room is large and open. It features an energy conscious pellet stove in a kiva-like fireplace setting with a slate hearth, 14-ft vaulted ceiling with ceiling fan, built-in corner sofa (banquette), and corner cabinets for entertainment storage.

The high ledge at the SW corner of the great room is designed for potted plants, and has its own water supply that can be turned on from the pantry. 

The banquette area is perfect for conversation or contemplation


The pellet stove is used optionally for winter ambiance. This stove burns pellets of recycled plant fiber, and is thus “carbon neutral” with respect to atmospheric carbon dioxide build-up. The stove is efficient, non-polluting, and its use is not restricted. It has been inspected and professionally cleaned frequently.

Pellet stove warming the living space

The photo on the left shows the pellet stove in operation. Pellets descend into the firebox from a hopper. Heated air from the flame passes over a heat exchanger that warms room air by means of an adjustable fan. The rate of heating is controlled by a built-in thermostat.

Kitchen and Dining Room

Slab granite counter tops, peninsula, and ‘appliance island’ characterize the kitchen.  The gas range/oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave, are included. This area connects naturally with the private central courtyard, and spa area that lies beyond.  

View from living room to the kitchen

View of the spa from the kitchen

Through the arched doorway is the separate dining room that also looks out onto the courtyard. The chandelier adds a playfulness to this space. The dining room also has an office niche enclosed by bi-fold doors.

Dining overlooking courtyard & spa areas

The dining room has a clear view of the spa area. Shown below is a portion of this view.

Springtime in the central courtyard


The pantry is lined with 45½ ft of open shelves (a dreamy addition for any home). It is well illuminated by overhead windows at gable height. Above the pantry is a finished storage loft (3½ by 12 ft). In addition, there is a storage space on a concrete pad beneath the pantry floor (accessible by a floor hatch in the pantry). An exterior door in the pantry is convenient for bringing in groceries and other supplies as well as a handy site for barbequing.

Pantry behind louvered door at right, finished storage loft above the pantry


 The master bath has a tiled floor, and a large shower that doubles as a steam room. It has 2 shower heads and a large operable skylight and recycling ventilation fan for moisture control. There is a light fixture behind the glass blocks in one wall of the shower.

panned image of the master bath with skylight in steam shower!

The laundry nook in the master bath is large enough for a 
full-sized washer and dryer,
and is enclosed behind bi-fold doors.
This is a pleasant environment to care for the laundry.

From the master bath, a patio door leads to the covered hot tub/spa deck area
located behind privacy fences adjacent to the central courtyard. The proximity of the main bathroom and hot tub area lends a luxurious, vacation–like setting.
(click the link below to see the view from the bathroom door).

The master bedroom has a built-in, alcove bed with storage cabinets underneath, linen cubby, and built-in entertainment center, lighted closet, and private ½ bath-dressing room.

panned image of the master bedroom

this has been called the most comfortable bed in the world

at the foot of the bed is space for entertainment & relaxation necessities

This alcove bed could easily be removed by a future owner (but that would be hard to give up a very cozy nest).  The hardwood flooring extends under it, and the tongue & groove wainscot paneling around the bed extends to the floor.

The central, 2nd bedroom serves as a large dressing room. It could likewise serve as a nursery. It has a built-in white oak dresser (circa 1949), and 12 ½ ft of closet space enclosed by louvered doors. A future owner may want to remove the closet to create more space.  This could readily be accomplished, as the closet was built after the flooring was installed and finished.


Detached studio

This is a multi-purpose building constructed in 2004. This structure could also serve as an ADU, office or instruction spaces. (It is presently used as a photographic, yoga & dance studio). It is single level, with entry closets, ¾ bath, main room with arched windows facing courtyard, mirrored walls, and corner sink cabinet in main studio area. An additional room that could be a bedroom, or office, is on the east (through the glass paneled French door).

presently used as a dance & yoga space....dreamy!

West studio entrance

The studio is a frame structure with blown-in cellulose 
insulation, 2 x 6 construction, and low-maintenance
 brick & stucco exterior. It has 4 skylights (openable).
The skylight wells are insulated with rigid
Styrofoam panels (R10). 

view from the west entrance

The building has a thermostatically controlled gable fan to cool the attic air above the studio. Double pane, aluminum clad windows throughout. Roof is covered with 30-year laminated composition shingles.  

kitchenette area of the studio

west courtyard entrance door

The studio has a completely separate, 
main entry off the driveway to the 
west side-street (shown above).

The studio space has been used for many wonderful activities....
yoga and dance instruction, several therapies, photography 
and private performances of dance and music.

The environment is warm, soothing, bright and cheerful
with outstanding natural light.

The studio also has an entrance off the courtyard
(shown below).

The Central courtyard entrance to the studio feels dreamy
To view this courtyard space, click on the link below...


There are three courtyards that serve as outdoor rooms:

The Front courtyard is a shady foyer for greeting visitors. It has a private patio for relaxing under the trees on summer days. This area has 334 sq ft of flagstone paver. It is surrounded by a hedge and mature trees for privacy. Rain runoff is diverted by dual French drains to the street. This courtyard is terraced by a massive stone retaining wall.

Front entry courtyard

Central Courtyard.  The photo below is a view from the central courtyard looking toward the kitchen and dining room windows. This courtyard has about 500 sq ft of flagstone pavers, and is intended for private lounging and outdoor sunning. It has good sun exposure in the winters which makes it a more comfortable place in cool weather.  
Central Courtyard

The hot tub/spa is adjacent to the central courtyard. It has a redwood & cedar deck, is covered by a canopy with 3 skylights, and is has an entry to the master bath, shown below.

Spa area

The spa features a low-maintenance,
chemical-free, ozone sterilization system and lovely scenery all around.           
   (click the link below to view this area)     

The central courtyard, a very private space
 between the house and the studio,
as shown below, with its small fountain-pond
       and curvaceous planter beds.

 (while sitting under the Norwegian Maple, 
you'll gaze across the courtyard, hear the murmur of
the pond and see the setting sun above the mountains)

a bird's eye view of the central courtyard

Many of the courtyard flagstones are 4 to 5 ft across, and 3 inches thick. These were all originally sidewalk pavers from the historic Mapleton Hill district that were obtained when the City replaced them with concrete. Growing between the stones in the above photo are several types of low creeping plants ('Pink Chintz' thyme, Wooley thyme, Culinary Thyme) and sedums (Hens & chickens, Delosperma, Nubigenum).

Persephone over the fountain of life

The 100-gal pond & fountain with a backsplash of antique Moroccan tile
overlooked by a casting of Persephone mounted on the adjoining wall.
Birds, etc. love to drink and bathe in the pond.

Finally, the central courtyard has a quite good seasonal Flatirons view, as shown in the photo below which was taken of a sunset in winter from the courtyard.
Winter view of sunset from property

The West courtyard, off Georgetown Road, serves as an intimate outdoor living space for the studio and can be entered through a gate from the side driveway (shown below).

The West courtyard is a very private seating area by the studio's west entrance
that is not a part of the Central courtyard. In the photo below
the seating area is to the left of the arched entry gate.

To the left of this image is another lovely space for photography.


Landscape design was originally inspired by John King, and several subsequent landscape architects, and designers, participated in the development, construction, and selection of structural features, pavers, and plant materials.

The sturdy and massive boulders used to create the front retaining walls are adored by plants and appreciated by both humans and animals

One of the rock wall inspectors during construction

The landscape is water wise, and there are numerous native plants and mature trees [1].  

There is a seasonal progression of blooms and flowers, both ornamental and natives (please see the section below of flower photographs taken on this property). The entire rear portion of the property has privacy fences. There is a 5-zone automatic sprinkling system.

Major portions of the front yard are xeric, as well as the entire west yard adjacent to Georgetown Rd. The west yard has soaker hoses surrounding the plant bases beneath the overlying mulch. This section is also connected to the automatic irrigation system

[1] Including: Blue mist spirea, Russian sage, Yucca, Achillea 'Paprika', Beavertail cactus, Phlox, Agastache, Chamisa,  Pinus penstemon , Rhus trilobata, Mt. Mahogany, Hackberry, Lead bush, Culinary Sage, Dwarf Sumac, Gambel Oak, Soapwort, Echinacea,
and Jupiter’s beard . 

Yucca and Valerian in the west xeric garden

For nighttime passage, there is automatic landscape lighting in the front yard, central courtyard, and entry to the studio off Georgetown Rd. The west yard outside the master bedroom has a security light activated by a motion sensor.

 All outside passageways around the periphery of the property are covered with pavers (concrete, brick, or crushed gravel) and have switch- and photocell-activated outdoor lighting for nighttime use. 

There are no undeveloped landscape areas subject to uncontrolled invasion by weeds. All areas with gravel are underlain by landscape cloth. Any weeds that develop from blown seeds are easily removed because they cannot root below the landscape cloth.

Garden gates

Scroll gate to Central Courtyard

There are 8 custom-built gates that divide the various sections of the gardens.

These gates are all self-closing, fitted with sturdy latches, and designed to withstand strong winds (they have 4x4 cross pieces or uprights, and are fastened with 6-inch lag bolts). 

Other outside features

At the back of the residence, the access to the foundation crawl space of the residence is enlarged, and covered with a skylight. This serves as a “cold frame” for winter maintenance of potted plants, particularly the geraniums displayed in the courtyard.

There is a convenient, enclosed, trash storage shed next to concrete driveway off the side street, Georgetown Rd.

There is also an enclosed potting shed (8 x 4½ ft), with lighting, and a workbench, at the east end of studio.

Water conservation and control

The front patio flagstone patio forms a water-permeable surface with French drains underneath that carry water to the base of the front retaining wall. Runoff can exit through ceramic pipes in the front retaining wall next to the entry stairway.

The central courtyard is designed as a catch basin for rain and snow runoff. As for the front terrace, runoff percolates down between the gaps purposefully left between the flagstones. This area is underlain by a porous gravel layer on top of heavy plastic. Over this is a branched, French drain system that diverts water to a large, rock-filled, trench along the east property line.  Runoff from snow or rain, flows into the French drains, and from there into the trench. This provides year-around water for the Norwegian maple on the east property line.  

In addition to the above, roof runoff from the central region of the house is directed into the planter under the kitchen windows. This also empties into the French drain system.  Smaller French drains divert roof runoff from the NE & SE corners of the residence, and the NE & NW corners of the studio. Photos of the construction of the principle French drains can be provided on request.

Future development

The studio could be readily converted into a single large room. The partition between the main studio room and adjacent office is non-structural. In fact, the oak flooring is continuous underneath it. This partition is screwed in place, and could be readily removed to increase the size of the studio.

The built in couch, or banquet, in the great room could also be removed, though oak flooring underneath it would have to be installed [1].

A future plan of the owners was to enlarge the ½ bath off the master bedroom by extending the south wall further into the yard. Preliminary architectural designing was done, and can be provided on request.

Mountain view from 1390 Fairfield roof!

The Flatiron views and corner location make this property an excellent prospect for a 2nd story “pop-up” addition. The photo below shows the second story view in winter[2].

[1] Current owners have a Proposal from WoodWorks Flooring, Inc. (who refinished these floors last year) to install the floor under the banquet at a cost of $1300. Proposal provided on request.

[2] In the time since this photo was taken, an additional house was “popped up” on the corner of Georgetown Rd and Emerson Ave. This partly obscures the view shown here. 


As shown on the map below, in the adjacent 4 block neighborhood around the subject property, approximately 30% of the houses have received major remodels, or have

added second stories in recent years, or are currently under construction. This area consists of Hartford Dr, Georgetown Rd, Fairfield Dr, and Edinboro Dr (between Darley Ave and Emerson Ave). Of these houses, 79% of those on the corners have received second stories, or major rebuilds. In contrast, only about 25% of the houses located mid-block have been expanded in this way. This preponderance of building-up on corner lots shows the historic desirability of such properties.

Flowers of the public and secret gardens

The following is a sample of the many flowers that bloom on the property throughout the seasons. Springtime and through autumn there are colors to enjoy.

A wild beast in the early spring Phlox, Sweet Woodruff and Ajuga

Siberian Iris in spring
Tulips in kitchen window planter

Snow in summer

Valerian, Nubigenum & a snowy white friend

Soapwort, Daisies & Yucca in flower

Beavertail cactus in spring
Creeping Veronica

"Ode to Jude"

Hens and chicks
Trumpet Honeysuckle attracts humming birds!
Popcorn roses blooming in June


Trumpet Vine out the kitchen window
Million bells, Begonia, Fuchsia, Snap Dragon & Impatiens 
grace the front entry pots (included in the sale)

We thank Mary Marcotte, Master Gardener,
for her many inspired planting designs
on the property.