Engineering of a dream home |

Engineering of a dream home

by Stacy Strayer
Grand County Homes and Properties

Balinese puppets, Chinese puzzle locks, engraved Ostrich eggs and an

Indonesian brass gong are just a few of the worldly artifacts that hint to

the adventures of a Grand County couple. When Mary and Brad Sinex decided to

build their dream home after 30-plus years of marriage, it made sense that

its design would reflect their lives. “Our architect, Rick Mungeam, urged us

to reveal what we loved and felt connected to, and he planned our home

around these ideas.”

Space for family topped their list, with cooking, exercise and reading close

behind. Six months went into the planning, but the time spent was invaluable

to the home’s success.

“It was essential that the home engage us well into the future,” Mary said. “So everything crucial to daily living ‹ the kitchen, master bedroom, etc. ‹ needed to be on the main level.”

The location was secondary; as world travelers for most of their lives, they

asked their three grown children where they would like to spend family

holidays. “The Winter Park area was always a favorite with them, so that’s

where we focused on finding the perfect home site,” Mary said. Their 3-acre

parcel within Stagecoach Meadows more than captures the horizon; meadow and

mountains pour into every window.

“Per Rick’s request, we collected images we liked, no matter how mix-matched

or diverse,” Mary said. “We had a fun time, and in the end, we handed him a

thick compilation; from those, he was able to nail down a house design that

delighted both of us.”

“This home’s refined character is expressed with the use of high-quality

materials throughout ” masonry columns to frame timber elements, stone

flooring, and the list goes on,” said Rick, president of Richard G. Mungeam


Mary points out one example of Rick’s creativity: Her husband didn’t want a

fireplace in a typical corner location, so Rick conjured up the idea of a

custom four-sided masonry fireplace. This striking visual welcomes guests,

and its inviting ambiance resonates throughout the entire home.

An Oklahoman pizza parlor is where sparks first ignited for Brad and Mary,

so the wood-burning pizza oven in the gourmet kitchen adds more than just

festivity to everyday meals. The oven was imported from Italy, and a

built-in shelf underneath stores the firewood.

“I was a little concerned about how practical the wood-fired oven would be,

given the cost and space it required,” Brad said. “But now I’m pleased that

we made it part of our home ‹ we use it fairly frequently, for not only

pizza but for grilling and baking things. It turns out there is hardly

anything that you cannot cook, and it adds a nostalgic feel to the kitchen,

along with the wood-fired flavor to the food.”

The spacious expanse on the second floor is fully-equipped with cardio

equipment, resistance trainers and free weights, but the extra pizzazz comes

from the wet bar in one corner, a floating flat-screen television to

entertain exercisers, a wall of mirrors to check form and the private deck

coupled with numerous windows to let the natural light and mountain views

shine through.

A funky fan system overhead catches attention; it has two fans on opposite

sides of a light that rotate to circulate air throughout the room. Mary

found it through Theresa Cinocco with Distinctive Design.

“She has an uncanny knack for finding just the right accents to complement

our home,” Mary said.

Theresa explains how she’s able to get inside her clients’ heads: “We

discuss goals, desires and lifestyle to understand the breadth of their

project, and then we comb through photos, visit homes and generally spend

time together to get a sense for their likes and dislikes. Personal

belongings and experiences are incorporated into our design concept as well;

our goals are to enhance our clients’ living and working environment.”

As she shows her home, Mary generously shares tidbits about herself; she

loves dumplings and “American Idol,” and she spent time in China developing

a deep respect and love for its people. An Indonesian wooden birdcage,

elaborately shaped like a mosque, sits empty because although she loved the

cage itself, she said, “Birds should never be confined.” An antique

engraved cabinet that once stored ancient scrolls stands mysteriously in one

hall, while Cambodian puppets and Asian clay figurines regularly appear

throughout the home.

She and Brad moved to Alaska shortly after their nuptials; two of their kids

were born there, with a third born in Texas. These two states alternated as

home for a decade. Brad is a petroleum engineer, and Mary’s a CPA. Both stem

from a long line of engineers in the oil business, so they are accustomed to

traveling and “following the oil.” Together, they spent significant time in

China, Indonesia and Africa, to name just a few of the exotic locales. In

fact, much of the home’s design is influenced by their Southeast Asia


Their love for reading manifested into a two-level library: A metal and wood

spiral staircase bursts through the ceiling, where tall bookshelves line the

walls, and wooden ladders roll along to aid in book retrieval. There’s an

airy opening to the room below, which invites readers to lounge in plush

armchairs with dual ottomans facing the fireplace. Classics, popular

fiction, dog-eared travel guides and thick reference materials line the

multiple shelves, and a well-preserved kids’ collection confirms that they

passed this love onto their kids; the most endearing is the Golden Book

series, their shiny bindings wrinkled with use.

Brad’s life as an engineer keeps him away from home more than he’d like;

last spring he worked for months near the Mediterranean Sea, in north

Africa’s Tunisia.

“I miss my wife the most, but what I miss about our home is the combination

of the mountain setting and the picturesque feel, with the colors, stone and

timbers,” Brad said, explaining what he yearns for when he’s homesick. “The

Asian furnishings add a subtle flair to the decor, and I like the fact that

our home doesn’t overwhelm you with its size.” The living area of the home

is 4,275 square feet.

Though they have lived in the house for almost three years, they

continuously marvel at how pleased they are. How do they attribute this

satisfaction? “Have a clear idea of what you want, and then bring the right

people in to help you turn your ideas into reality,” Brad said.

Boxwell Builders was instrumental to this end, helping the owners achieve a

realistic budget and scope of work, which adds fluidity to the entire

project. “We take extra time to educate the owner on the building process

and systems to eliminate any surprises, emphasizing quality and attention to

detail,” said Dave Clingman, project manager and designer for Boxwell

Construction. “It is so fun to share the excitement of dreams being built,

and becoming friends through it all.”

As far as design regrets, Brad doesn’t seem to have any serious ones. “I

gave my wife a bad time about the size of her closet and still do,” said

Brad, with a laugh. “But now I wish I had one that size.”

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