The house was born on Jim Cole’s birthday in 1998 when they decided to build a home that Cole would design himself. They found the ideal one-acre lot and pictured themselves drinking in the view from the great room. As the first to build in their area, they needed to site the house carefully, so Cole floated balloons at the corners of adjoining lots in order to visualize a worst-case scenario of nearby homes. A bit of a twist to the site plan, and the dwelling took shape.
Cole quickly turned his design into a floor plan and elevation, after which the Coles’ builder John Kaltenbach introduced him to designer Eric Spurlock. “He (Spurlock) embellished the design,” says Cole, “taking what I’d done but not making it his. I feel that I have pride of ownership.”
The home defies conventional architectural labeling. “There’s uniqueness in the architecture,” Cole says. “It’s compatible with Southwestern design, but we wanted to go somewhere else with it. It’s our style, eclectic but not crazy eclectic.” The distinguishing mark of the house is columns, lots of them, inside and out. There are mass, space, height, volume, and great sweeps of light. A very three-dimensional design. Cole thinks of the home in terms of cubic feet, seeing volume instead of square footage. From the entry foyer, the house radiates in every direction. Anasazi-style stone walls and tall columns bracket tantalizing glimpses of other, farther rooms. Rectangular works of art provided counterpoint to the curved walls, round ceiling and the sweep of the graceful staircase to the second floor. The floor is of stained concrete in a rich dark terra cotta. A handsome corbel motif seen throughout the house begins here, in the striking entry door of stained glass by Salvador Equihua. Another of his doors, appropriately decked out in grape clusters and leaves, leads to a charming below-staircase wine room.