Haven by the Hill

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Designed to complement the existing landscape, this architectural dream home partners rustic mountain charm with an upbeat modern flair.

Story by Ann Butenas      |      Photography by Paul Bonnichsen

If you don’t believe in love at first sight, you probably will now. This jaw-dropping residence, nestled upon 162 acres in Platte County, will truly reveal that home is not just a place. It is also a feeling.

“As empty nesters, we decided it was time to build our dream home,” emphasized Laura Couch, who, along with husband Mike and builder Andy Homoly, Owner/President of Homoly Signature Homes, and architect Scott Bickford of Bickford and Company, brought myriad creative ideas to the table to make this dream home a reality.

“We told Scott we wanted a home that was about 5,000 square feet,” said Laura. “Although we don’t have any kids at home now, we do like to have family over and enjoy having our four granddaughters stay with us when they can. They are the lights of our eyes.”

And this magnificent residence is the light of the property. Described by Laura and Mike as “modern rustic,” it stands as a harmonious blend of Colorado ski lodge and modern aesthetics.

“Andy was a tremendous source for us, and his crew was so helpful,” emphasized Laura. “When we couldn’t decide what to do in certain places, they made some great suggestions.”

Starting from Scratch

Sitting on a wide-open space with interesting topography, this design presented a unique, challenging, and exciting opportunity for everyone involved.

“What was fun about this particular home is that we designed it into the curve of the hill,” expressed Andy. “We intentionally matched the curve of the home to the existing hilltop, ensuring it fit into the landscape. When you look out the back of the home, you can see all of their land and the hill. It is really quite beautiful.”

But there is more to that design than originally meets the eye.

“The view out back is extraordinary, especially with all the windows in the living room and in the kitchen,” noted Laura. “But what is really interesting to me is that the curve of the home, when viewed from the front, gives the appearance of arms reaching out towards the road welcoming you.”

Homoly and his team essentially started with a blank slate and a few concepts.

“Scott usually comes up with three different plans, and once Mike and Laura landed on a particular plan, that marked the beginning point of the evolution of the design,” explained Andy.

Highlights, amenities, and showstoppers abound in this fantastic home, not the least of which is essentially a 12-car garage, the sum of which comes from three car garages flanking the home (his and hers!) and then unique spaces located beneath the upper ones.

Other points of interest include the covered screened-in porch, a grand deck off the master suite, a waterfall that begins in the front of the home and flows under a bridge, cascading down to the back of the home below near the majestic backyard pool.

“I grew up with a pool and had to have one here, as it brings the kids back home,” laughed Laura.

Laura also emphasized they designed this home with aging in place in mind.

“This is our forever home, so we built with wider doors for wheelchair accessibility and the option to install handrails in the bathrooms,” she explained. “We also prepared for an elevator that can be installed later if needed. Additionally, Andy also raised the floor in one of the garages so there are no steps leading from the garage into the house.”

No Detail Overlooked

Andy and his team are true artisans when it comes to the details and appointments within this home. The main floating staircase, for example, that leads from the main floor by the front door to the lower level, is comprised of custom metal handrails and rustic hickory rungs, each gently lit for ease of use at nighttime and for aesthetic appeal. Even the main front entrance is a standout, with tall, rustic cypress doors, each outfitted with a speakeasy window for added presentation.

Further, the flooring throughout the house lends its own voice to the overall design style.

“On the main floor we installed rough sawn, wide plank cut hardwood for a nice look, while on the lower level we used luxury vinyl planks,” stated Andy. “They look great but with their rubber-like feel, they are safer for the grandkids.”

The vaulted ceiling in the great room, comprised of custom timber trusses enhanced with metal plates, sets the tone for the space, as do the expansive windows that allow for a breath-taking view of the stretch of land beyond.

“It is difficult to capture the full magnitude and breadth of this  home just through photos alone,” reflected Andy. “There are so many spectacular things to see, including the uniqueness of its design and how it sits with the land.”

With all garages included as well as the screened-in porch and backyard oasis, this residential masterpiece is an impressive sight to behold. Yet despite its grand presence, it is also warm and welcoming, and there is plenty of room for the whole extended family to enjoy with plenty of bedrooms throughout. The master suite is located on the main floor and three additional bedrooms are on the lower level. The home also boasts four full bathrooms and two powder rooms.

One of the most exciting bedrooms on the lower level is clearly staged for fun. It definitely ensures the grandkids stop by frequently for highly anticipated sleepovers. In addition to built-in bunk beds and a loft, there is also a fire pole that invites only the courageous to shimmy down from the upper deck to the lower deck.

“This was Andy’s crew’s genius idea,” emphasized Laura. “Even though we have 14-foot ceilings downstairs, we didn’t want that in the kid’s bedroom. His crew said they could lower the ceiling in  the closet and in the bathroom and then create a loft area with bunk beds that bleed into it. They asked us if we wanted a pole or a slide. We went with the pole.”

Also on the lower level is a big family room and evidence of Mike’s passion: big game hunting, which he has pursued all over the world.

“Mike has always wanted a trophy room with high ceilings,” expressed Laura, who gave Mike carte blanche to display his mounts specifically on the lower level but not in any bedrooms. In order to do this, Andy and his crew opted for those 14-foot ceilings so the mounts can sit above the windows all the way across for a meticulous and proud display.

The kitchen is another special place in the house. In addition to an expansive butler’s pantry that contains an extra oven, microwave, ice machine and copious storage spaces, the main kitchen has a huge gas range rustically framed by stone. This is truly a gathering spot for family and friends.

From Symmetry to Cemetery

In addition to the uniqueness of the home and its juxtaposition to the land through the manner in which it is situated with respect to the surrounding vistas, there is yet another uncommon element that makes this a rather extraordinary place.

“Our property has a cemetery dating back to the 1800s,” explained Laura. “Buried within are the original owner, his wife and their young son.”

Laura and Mike respectfully cleaned it up after they purchased the land, reset the headstones, and surrounded it with a fence to preserve its original intention. Again, no detail was overlooked in this project.

“There is a special something almost everywhere in the home,” stated Andy. “Laura and Mike went to the ‘nth’ degree with everything and were wonderful people to work with.”


  • Builder/Contractor: Homoly Signature Homes
  • Architect: Bickford and Company
  • Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
  • Barn Doors: Got Barn Wood
  • Cabinets: Miller’s Custom Cabinets
  • Doors / Windows / Lumber: McCray Lumber and Millwork  / Andersen Windows
  • Electrician: Electrical Connections
  • Fireplace: Midwest Fireplace
  • Flooring Carpeting: ProSource / APEX Tile and Flooring
  • Flooring Hardwood: Totta Hardwoods
  • Garage Doors: Renner Door Supply
  • Glass & Mirrors: Santa Fe Glass
  • Heating & Cooling: Buckner’s Heating and Cooling
  • Landscaping / Waterfall: Gecko Landscape Creations
  • Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting
  • Pool / Spa / Pool House: Clear Water Pools
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
  • Roofing: Royal Roofscapes
  • Staircase Railings: Bumgarner Construction
  • Tile: APEX Tile and Flooring

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