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Engineering of a dream home

by Stacy Strayer
Digital DawgsThe Sinex home in Grand County relects what they love and feel connected to.
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Balinese puppets, Chinese puzzle locks, engraved Ostrich eggs and an Indonesian brass gong are just a few of the worldly artifacts that hint to the adventures of a Grand County couple. When Mary and Brad Sinex decided to build their dream home after 30-plus years of marriage, it made sense that its design would reflect their lives. “Our architect, Rick Mungeam, urged us to reveal what we loved and felt connected to, and he planned our home around these ideas.”

Space for family topped their list, with cooking, exercise and reading close behind. Six months went into the planning, but the time spent was invaluable to the home’s success. “It was essential that the home engage us well into the future,” Mary says. “So everything crucial to daily living ” the kitchen, master bedroom, etc. ” needed to be on the main level.”

The location was secondary; as world travelers for most of their lives, they asked their three grown children where they would like to spend family holidays. “The Winter Park area was always a favorite with them, so that’s where we focused on finding the perfect home site,” Mary says. Their 3-acre parcel within Stagecoach Meadows more than captures the horizon; meadow and mountains pour into every window.

“Per Rick’s request, we collected images we liked, no matter how mix-matched or diverse,” Mary says. “We had a fun time, and in the end, we handed him a thick compilation; from those, he was able to nail down a house design that delighted both of us.”

“This home’s refined character is expressed with the use of high-quality materials throughout ” masonry columns to frame timber elements, stone flooring, and the list goes on,” says Rick, president of Richard G. Mungeam Design.

Mary points out one example of Rick’s creativity: Her husband didn’t want a fireplace in a typical corner location, so Rick conjured up the idea of a custom four-sided masonry fireplace. This striking visual welcomes guests, and its inviting ambiance resonates throughout the entire home.

An Oklahoman pizza parlor is where sparks first ignited for Brad and Mary, so the wood-burning pizza oven in the gourmet kitchen adds more than just festivity to everyday meals. The oven was imported from Italy, and a built-in shelf underneath stores the firewood.

“I was a little concerned about how practical the wood-fired oven would be, given the cost and space it required,” Brad says. “But now I’m pleased that we made it part of our home ” we use it fairly frequently, for not only pizza but for grilling and baking things. It turns out there is hardly anything that you cannot cook, and it adds a nostalgic feel to the kitchen, along with the wood-fired flavor to the food.”

The spacious expanse on the second floor is fully-equipped with cardio equipment, resistance trainers and free weights, but the extra pizzazz comes from the wet bar in one corner, a floating flat-screen television to entertain exercisers, a wall of mirrors to check form and the private deck coupled with numerous windows to let the natural light and mountain views shine through.

A funky fan system overhead catches attention; it has two fans on opposite sides of a light that rotate to circulate air throughout the room. Mary found it through Theresa Cinocco with Distinctive Design.

“She has an uncanny knack for finding just the right accents to complement our home,” Mary says.

Theresa explains how she’s able to get inside her clients’ heads: “We discuss goals, desires and lifestyle to understand the breadth of their project, and then we comb through photos, visit homes and generally spend time together to get a sense for their likes and dislikes. Personal belongings and experiences are incorporated into our design concept as well; our goals are to enhance our clients’ living and working environment.”

As she shows her home, Mary generously shares tidbits about herself; she loves dumplings and “American Idol,” and she spent time in China developing a deep respect and love for its people. An Indonesian wooden birdcage, elaborately shaped like a mosque, sits empty because although she loved the cage itself, she says, “Birds should never be confined.” An antique engraved cabinet that once stored ancient scrolls stands mysteriously in one hall, while Cambodian puppets and Asian clay figurines regularly appear throughout the home.

She and Brad moved to Alaska shortly after their nuptials; two of their kids were born there, with a third born in Texas. These two states alternated as home for a decade. Brad is a petroleum engineer, and Mary’s a CPA. Both stem from a long line of engineers in the oil business, so they are accustomed to traveling and “following the oil.” Together, they spent significant time in China, Indonesia and Africa, to name just a few of the exotic locales. In fact, much of the home’s design is influenced by their Southeast Asia visits.

Their love for reading manifested into a two-level library: A metal and wood spiral staircase bursts through the ceiling, where tall bookshelves line the walls, and wooden ladders roll along to aid in book retrieval. There’s an airy opening to the room below, which invites readers to lounge in plush armchairs with dual ottomans facing the fireplace. Classics, popular fiction, dog-eared travel guides and thick reference materials line the multiple shelves, and a well-preserved kids’ collection confirms that they passed this love onto their kids; the most endearing is the Golden Book series, their shiny bindings wrinkled with use.

Brad’s life as an engineer keeps him away from home more than he’d like; last spring he worked for months near the Mediterranean Sea, in north Africa’s Tunisia.

“I miss my wife the most, but what I miss about our home is the combination of the mountain setting and the picturesque feel, with the colors, stone and timbers,” Brad says, explaining what he yearns for when he’s homesick. “The Asian furnishings add a subtle flair to the decor, and I like the fact that our home doesn’t overwhelm you with its size.” The living area of the home is 4,275 square feet.

Though they have lived in the house for almost three years, they continuously marvel at how pleased they are. How do they attribute this satisfaction? “Have a clear idea of what you want, and then bring the right people in to help you turn your ideas into reality,” Brad says.

Boxwell Builders was instrumental to this end, helping the owners achieve a realistic budget and scope of work, which adds fluidity to the entire project. “We take extra time to educate the owner on the building process and systems to eliminate any surprises, emphasizing quality and attention to detail,” says Dave Clingman, project manager and designer for Boxwell Construction. “It is so fun to share the excitement of dreams being built, and becoming friends through it all.”

As far as design regrets, Brad doesn’t seem to have any serious ones. “I gave my wife a bad time about the size of her closet and still do,” says Brad, with a laugh. “But now I wish I had one that size!”


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