The 13th annual Parade of Homes starts today as local builders report a growing interest in outdoor living.
More than 15 new and remodeled residential and commercial properties, all nominated by local builders, are featured in this year's showcase hosted by the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado.
Each year, for a fee, community members can tour private homes recently built in the Durango area.
Steve Martin, parade chairperson and owner of Edgewood Construction, is displaying a 4,200-square- foot house at 124 Monarch Crest Trail.
The house was built in Edgemont Highlands, one of the fastest growing developments in La Plata County, and is among those featured in the Homes Under the Stars evening tour tonight.
Finished last month, the owners of the three-bedroom, 3.5-bath home are ushering in fall with a fire pit on a back patio that opens up to a private canyon.
Demand for outdoor living spaces remains high, Martin said, and he's noticed few changes over the past year in custom building.
"People are still expecting energy-efficient housing, and I think houses in general are trending a little bigger in square footage," he said.
Multiple builders and designers have accentuated whatever outdoor space is available on the property, including those downtown.
Glenn Murray of H Glenn Murray Builders recently completed a major remodel of a 1930s-era home at 846 E. College Drive. Now the property includes the main house, expanded from 700 to 2,100 square feet, with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and a detached garage with a 600-square-foot, one-bedroom guest house on top.
"Outdoor living is a very important feature of this home," Murray said. "It has a custom-built concrete bench around a gas fire pit on a large, covered patio."
The remodel embraces both modern designs as well as the house's architectural history. All but the front wall was torn down, and the interior design is contemporary, but the house has maintained its traditional roof shape and siding, as well as some antique lumber and steel beams.
"Anyone who buys a house in the downtown market is usually doing a major renovation or rehab," Murray said. "Everyone is putting down money to increase the value."
On a grander scale, the four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home at 129 Snowden Drive is also a featured home this year. Unlike most in the parade, this one is for sale.
Valued over $1 million, the Engineer Village home boasts five decks, one with a hot tub, that offer views of Purgatory Resort, Engineer Mountain and Hermosa Cliffs.
"This house was a very challenging site to build on because it's perched on the side of a cliff," said Janet Enge of Summit Custom Homes.
Summit's homes have been selected for the parade on and off for 10 years. The company, which Enge's husband, Ron, founded, traditionally builds higher-end homes north of town.
Enge referred to the Snowden Drive house as "the quintessential vacation mountain home," complete with hand-hewn timbers and custom crafted details and decorated by Ford Architecture and Aaron Thomas Interiors. It also has chink log siding, a European look prevalent in Telluride and Aspen mountain homes, Enge said.
Each of the master suites has a fireplace and whirlpool baths, and the house can sleep 10 to 12 people. It's a house that embraces visitors, Enge said, and it caters to traditional mountain cabin designs.
"We attend the International Builders' Show each year, and this was not a year of great change," Enge said. "Living in Durango, we have a kind of isolation in terms of building trends. We saw the move to contemporary design three or four years ago, and that is continuing to grow. But that is not the aesthetic of this house. Some people don't care what's trending; they want the mountain experience."
Mantell-Hecathorn Builders completed a house at 341 Two Dogs Trail last spring. Owner Greg Mantell-Hecathorn said this house, which has four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, is unusual in that, rather than a consistent design throughout the house, each room has its own style.
"It's built more like a 1920s country manor," Mantell-Hecathorn said. "The client specifically wanted the architect to design unique spaces unto themselves."
Tickets are on sale for $20 and can be purchased at local banks, at the first parade stop by cash or check, or online at www.durangopoh.com.
The Durango Herald is a Parade of Homes sponsor.