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Courtyards are sexy
by Katy Purviance on 03/09/10 @ 02:16:18 pm
Categories: Articles, I love this building | 439 words | 3047 views

World travelers, she and Dan have been heavily influenced by the European villa-style architecture with central courtyard that, in turn, serves as another room of the house. “We didn’t want a patio or a porch,” says Karen. “We wanted an outdoor living area.”

I just read about Karen and Dan Forey’s courtyard house in Denver on Natural Home (dot com), and because I love courtyard houses so much, I just had to share it with you.

Courtyard in Denver

Guests who enter the house are embraced by design that, indeed, replicates a European villa. Textured walls in warm ­colors, rich leather furniture, a hand-crafted stone fireplace, ornate chandeliers, and arched entryways create the feeling of an Old World country house where the inhabitants can relax and enjoy the good life. The courtyard reinforces this scene.

To create design continuity between the interior and exterior, Karen turned to natural materials. She opted for rugged Colo­rado flagstone for the terrace floor, a perfect extension of the multicolored Indian slate used inside. The textured interior walls melt into creamy exterior stucco walls. The iron and metalwork that distinguish the dining room and kitchen chandeliers are echoed by wrought-iron trellises, balcony railings, and the burnished lanterns that provide ­outdoor lighting. The arbor that leads to the courtyard recalls the interior eyebrow arches.

An outdoor room requires natural practicality. The umbrella and furniture cushions are covered in a waterproof cotton fabric that will not mildew. The wicker has been treated to be impervious to weather. Two limestone end tables can withstand the worst rainstorm. From early spring to late fall, the courtyard is intact, ready for use on a beautiful day.

To capture the outdoors that the Foreys so love, Karen has focused on two natural elements: plants and water. Attracted to red, fuchsia, and purple—punctuated with splashes of yellow—she’s created a flower garden that explodes with riotous color. Bright red Spanish trumpet vines climb the trellises; pots of red roses flank the outdoor fireplace. Flowers cascade off the shallow balconies that overlook the courtyard. A mature ash tree provides shade and privacy, and the arbor is smothered in grapevines that allow just enough sun through to nourish the ground cover between the flagstones. Shrubbery and other of Forey’s flora are hydrated with a computer-operated, drip-irrigation system that requires little maintenance and helps conserve water.

A stunning two-tiered fountain recycles water, minimizing the “splash” factor. The soothing sounds of the fountain water obliterate the sound of traffic, just a half block away, and it reminds Karen of the rushing stream that ran near her Rocky Mountain home.

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Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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