ParkSide at RidgeGate in Lone Tree, Colo., is a combined effort between Berkeley Homes and Harvard Communities, teaming up with Kephart Architects to create a community committed to sustainable living.
By Carina Calhoun
Photography by Jay Simon
With a unique vision, RidgeGate is a masterplanned community cultivating contemporary living with urban design while enhancing nature and sustainable standards. ParkSide at RidgeGate, produced by the partnership of Colorado-based home builders, Berkeley Homes and Harvard Communities, carries on the commitment of creative characteristics that make this community an exceptional endeavor and valuable addition to the RidgeGate community as a whole.
With a long-standing professional relationship and respect for each other’s work, John Keith of Harvard Communities and Rich Laws of Berkeley Homes, teamed up to take on the project to create a modern community with cutting-edge, environmental elements. Both Harvard and Berkeley have been building new homes in the Denver metro area for more than 20 years. Laws explained, “John brought years of experience from the custom home market and in energy-efficient building practices and we combined it with our 20-plus years of experience in the production market to form this combined effort. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results so far.”
Model homes at ParkSide opened in April 2012 and are designed by award-winning Kephart Architects. The community offers three, two-story, single-family floor plans each with two elevations to choose from: the Bluff, the Prairie and the Sky. Each of the homes has abundant features with flexible floor plans, gourmet kitchens and spalike master baths. Starting in the mid-$400,000s, ParkSide is an intimate neighborhood of 31 spacious homes ranging from approximately 2,400 to 2,900 square feet. Laws stated, “Ridgegate is becoming a very important part of the Lone Tree Community. In RidgeGate, the initial phases consisted primarily of townhomes and condominiums, so having single-family, detached housing is an important addition to the product mix.”
The homes were designed to be both luxurious and energy-efficient. “The architectural styling is rich and interesting, and compliments the diversity and mix of the existing architectural styles at RidgeGate,” said Doug Van Lerberghe, principal at Kephart and project manager of ParkSide. Van Lerberghe added, “The contemporary cottage designs feature custom details that bring a refreshing and unique character to the neighborhood.” According to Laws, RidgeGate is an urban design and creating a land plan that worked with the surrounding area was difficult. “We began with an alley loaded concept, but eventually had to adjust to a traditional front loaded product. However, to keep the urban character, we added front courtyards and metal sunshades as well as heavily landscaped common areas with stucco walls and iron fencing.” He continued, “We really tried to emphasize the walkability of the community and we felt that the courtyards would facilitate the concept of living off the front of the home and encourage interaction between neighbors.”
As the architect and an integral part of the development process, Kephart kept in mind the defining characteristics that make the community a comfortable living environment. Steve Lane, AIA, principal at Kephart, explained, “Due to the walkability of the community, it was important for homes to engage the street. This was done by adding entry courtyards to the front of each home.” The architectural challenge was to design a series of stylish homes without using any masonry to keep the price point lower than other homes in the neighborhood, according to Lane. By using heavy trim and varied roof forms along with an array of exterior siding materials and details, the homes exhibit architectural character without the need for masonry.
While completion of ParkSide is expected to be in August 2013, there are also several energyefficient elements that are included within the homes. The community used an integrative design approach, which examines the homes as an entire system, allowing for ecofriendly features to be built into the homes. Highperformance framing techniques were employed, which reduce the amount of wood and increase the amount of insulation in the walls. The homes were also built with a tighter building envelope — reducing the amount of air transfer outside-in and inside-out. Furthermore, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems were installed along with energy-efficient appliances and windows.
The community is also noted to be the first, allsolar standard neighborhood in the Denver area. All of the homes at ParkSide will be solar electric and meet the requirements of Energy Star Version 3.0 efficiency standards, saving homeowners up to 50 percent of electricity costs of conventionally built homes. According to Laws, most of the buyers are move-up home buyers. However, the location has been ideal for move-down buyers or empty-nesters as well, looking for homes in a central location without the large yard and upkeep of traditional suburban homes.
The collaborative creation of ParkSide at RidgeGate is an innovative and inspired example of traditional style with cutting-edge concepts that is resonating with buyers. Within the first two months of the model opening, over half of the homes were sold.
Carina Calhoun is editor at Builder and Developer. She may be contacted at email@example.com.