Livable hillside elegance

A birthday present with many happy returns

Story by Mara Severin • Photography by Photo Arts by Janna

Mark and Rebecah Huelskoetter first fell in love with their hillside home before it was even on the hillside. They saw the layout at a Crown Pointe Homes open house and just couldn’t get it out of their minds. So, when some time later, Mark asked his wife what she wanted for her birthday, her answer was something along the lines of, “Funny you should ask….”

General Contractor
Wess Clubb,
Crown Pointe Inc.
Interior designer
Renee Houle, Curtis & Campbell
Builders Millwork Supply
Rain Proof Roofing
Garage doors
Overhead Door
Exterior paint
Anonymous with Urbane Bronze and Shoji White accents, Sherwin Williams
Entry tile
Oxide Graphite, Curtis & Campbell
Restoration Hardware; Access Lighting; Tech Lighting
Hardwood flooring
Natural Acacia, Curtis & Campbell
La Sirena by Tuftex, Curtis & Campbell
Fireplace surround & kitchen island
Quartzite stack stone,
Crown Pointe Inc.
Fireplace Specialties
Kitchen & bath cabinets
Huntwood Cabinetry, Builders Millwork Supply
Kitchen counters
Cambria Newport, Mountain Tops Ltd.
Kitchen backsplash
English Bay Obsidian Black, Curtis & Campbell
Kitchen appliances
Electrolux and Viking, Allen & Petersen Range hood Vent-A-Hood, Allen & Petersen
Kitchen & bath faucets
Moen, Pacific Plumbing Supply Co.
Kitchen rug
FLOR Carpet tiles
Tree artwork over breakfast nook
Pier 1
Whale tale art
Original Wyland
Bathroom counters
Honed Carrera Marble, Mountain Tops Ltd.
Bathroom tile
White Subway, Curtis and Campbell
Bathroom accent glass tile
Florida in Iceland, Curtis & Campbell
Bathroom sinks
Bathroom flooring
English Bay Obsidian Black, Curtis & Campbell
Bathroom mirrors
Pottery Barn
Bathroom sconce
Restoration Hardware
Bathroom ceiling & vanity lighting
Access Lighting
Bathroom art
Patricia Adams Original

Fast forward to the couple standing knee-deep in snow on a wooded lot on the hillside. “I had been aware of the site,” says Wes Clubb of Crown Pointe, “so I sent them up to take a look.”

The views were spectacular and the couple was sold. “We jumped on it,” says Rebecah. Even so, says Mark, they only got the property by the skin of their teeth. “The day we broke ground, another crew turned up to survey the property for a potential buyer,” he recalls. “We got to say, ‘It’s already sold.’ ”

Second-chance construction

The couple was no stranger to home building. They had already built a home together (“from the sticks up,” says Rebecah) and loved it. “We had so much fun,” she says. “We’ve always said we’d be willing to do it again.”

“This time we got a chance to correct our mistakes,” says Mark. “We had all this experience. We got to keep what we loved and lose what we didn’t.”

“They knew what they wanted,” says Wes who appreciated the experience that the couple brought to the project. “They were great clients to work with because they had a direction they wanted to go in and they knew how to stay on track.”

All together now

The home’s open floor plan was a big attraction for the couple. “It’s what I refer to as a hillside ranch,” says Wes. “It has great spaces for a family: the big kitchen, the separate family room, the master bedroom on the main floor -- it’s just a house that works very well.”

The spacious, open kitchen was an instant draw. “We love to entertain,” says Rebecah. “And, of course, everyone always ends up in the kitchen.” For Thanksgiving, the couple hosted 16 people for dinner. “We had people cooking on every surface,” says Rebecah. “And no one was bumping into each other. My mother-in-law said it was like watching an orchestra.”

The kitchen is a study in black and white. The surfaces are sleek, with dark cabinetry, gray tile-work, stainless appliances and modern light fixtures. Rich acacia flooring (found throughout the home) lends warmth. The highlight of the room is the clean, illuminating quartz that covers the countertops. The look is natural but polished. And the kitchen island, instead of being supported by cabinetry, is held up by a column of stacked quartz rock. The rock is durable, says the couple (who have a 6-year-old son), surprisingly affordable and subtly sparkly.

But most importantly, it creates “all-togetherness,” says Mark. “I eat breakfast at the bar there in the morning,” he says. “It’s where we play games and gather for dinner,” he says.

Black, white and fun all over

The sophisticated color palette continues throughout the main living area. “We tried to come up with a concept of light versus dark,” says Rebecah. “We didn’t mind doing the dark because we get so much sun,” says Mark, “even in the dead of wintertime.”

A pale, serene, gray wall color lends cohesion to the flowing floor plan and softens the effect of the bolder, dark finishes and dark floors. Throughout, carefully selected splashes of color pack a powerful punch: Bright rust-colored and patterned armchairs add a playful touch to the living room. A bright turquoise buffet table (hand-made and painted by the couple themselves) lends whimsy and dazzle to the casual dining area between the kitchen and the living room.

Formal dining upstairs; ‘Boyville’ downstairs

A formal dining room departs slightly from the open floor plan and creates a stylish oasis for grown-up dining. A huge brass chandelier supports faux-pillar candles that create a warm and inviting glow (echoed by the matching wall sconces). A spacious square table seats eight comfortably and invites egalitarian dining room chatter – unlike a rectangle which can divide and conquer a dinner party. And, when it’s just the two of them, says Mark, they can share a corner of the table so it still feels intimate.

Downstairs, in distinct contrast, is a relaxed family room and bright and cheerful home gym (playfully painted to resemble a Union Jack) where Rebecah’s son and his friends can be, in her words, “wild animals.” The room opens up into the backyard which is strictly “Boyville,” she says, full of “forts and trucking.”

The home is a perfect balance of family-friendly durability and grown-up aesthetics and elegance. “We looked at the way beautiful hotels decorate,” says Rebecah. “They have to look crisp and clean but also hold up to wear and tear.” And while they’re not running an actual hotel, the couple will admit that their last New Year’s Eve party turned into a “giant slumber party.”

DIY decor

The couple didn’t use a designer or a decorator though they consulted with Renee Houle, Interior Design Consultant at Curtis & Campbell, who provided most of the home’s materials. “It was all their vision,” says Renee, who describes Rebecah’s style as “contemporary, classic elegance.” “She understands how to bring layers to the space,” says Renee. “She brings colors and textures that bring balance within a space.”

Balancing color and texture, white and black, ease and elegance, style and comfort are all important. But for the Huelskoetters, the most important balance is home and family. Luckily for them, they get to have it all.