Cordillera Home and Garden Tour on Sunday |

Cordillera Home and Garden Tour on Sunday

Caramie SchnellVail, CO, Colorado

CORDILLERA Just so you know, the correct term is no longer patio, or even deck. The correct nomenclature is outdoor living space, and its a far cry from your grandparents slab o concrete, replete with outdoor turf carpeting and plastic, stackable lounge chairs.Backyards have gone high-end with built in sound systems, complete with speakers disguised as rocks, granite countertops, artist-designed fire pits, and custom stainless steel sunk-in grills.

Pretty typical programs are hot tubs and firepits, full fireplaces and even outdoor kitchens, said landscape architect Scott Sones, who co-owns SonesMac in Avon. Everyone comes up here to be outdoors, and even in the winter, people come back from skiing, grab a cocktail and sit by the fire pit.A focus on outdoor living spaces has been a definite trend for the past three years or so, said Scott Turnipseed, a builder in the valley for 14 years. The upcoming Cordillera Home Tour, set to take place Sunday, July 29, revel in backyard luxury. The five homes on the tour are located in the Summit community of Cordillera. (The tour) is an opportunity to get a sneak peek into some of the most beautifully built and designed homes in the Vail Valley, said Marty Suarez, marketing director for Cordillera. The exteriors have some of the most pheomenol outdoor living spaces that Ive seen in the valley.

Joy Haynes and her husband, Ron, Dallas residents, own one of the homes on the tour this year. We live outdoors, Joy said. Between drinking coffee and reading the newspaper most mornings and eating dinner on the deck or entertaining friends by the firepit during the evening, Joy estimated they spend more than half their time at the home, outside. In Dallas you can only sit outside about three days out of the year, she said.Because of this, Turnipseed who built the second home for the Haynes last year, estimates theres nearly 2,500 square feet of uncovered and 400 square feet of covered outdoor living space. The terraced deck has three levels which include a fire place, two fire pits, a hot tub, a built in grill, a horseshoe pit and permanent overhead gas heaters in the covered part of the patio.It gets chilly at night, and people want to have a little supplemental heat. Instead of having them have to buy the propane stand up tanks, we hard piped the gas in so they dont have to mess with changing tanks, Turnipseed said. The Haynes Home was designed to take full advantage of its location in Cordillera, Suarez added. It has sunrise and sunset views of the New York, Sawatch, and the Gore Mountain ranges, Suarez said.To take advantage of the views, the Haynes have what they call The Point a lounge chair viewing area on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Summit Golf Course on one side and the New York Mountain Range in the distance.Its just amazing, our guests go out there in the mornings and afternoons. People will sit out there and read or pray or whatever our friends love that, Haynes said.

Along with the recreation opportunities the expansive outdoor living areas afford, Turnipseed said it increases the size and value of the house, without having to actually build more house. The real artistic sensibilities come into play when the area is designed which is when Sones and his partner Jamie McCluskie come into play. The first step is to find out how clients intend to use the space and what elements are important to them.The wants from the outdoor space range from the small intimate hot tub/fire pit terrace with cozy furniture to the outdoor living area that can accomodate the fundraiser and other larger events, Sones said. We also study the architecture to give us our cue as to the style and form of space that will compliment the home. The goal, Sones said, is to break up the area so its not one big slab, but visually varied. At the end of the day the outdoor living space has to fit naturally and comfortably within the environment of the site and feels as though it has always been there, for you. It is an art, Sones said.Fire pits, which are becoming more popular, are one element that Sones has been concentrating on, he said.Theyre almost pieces of art not just a ring with logs in it. Especially if you have a fire pit in the middle of a terrace area, rather than just a pimple in the middle, it stands on its own and reads as something more artistic.The home at 3359 Fenno Drive features a moss rock boulder that was turned into a fire pit by a Denver artist. The seating arrangement is made from similar stone thats been cut and carved the whole space becomes a work of art, Sones said.Arts & Entertainment Writer Caramie Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or

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