Resembling a spaceship emerging from the side of Genesee Mountain near Denver, Colorado, Charles Deaton’s Sculptured House provides a futuristic juxtaposition to the surrounding natural landscape. Some call it the Jetson House because its shape is similar to the structure in the 1962 cartoon, but the architect’s point of inspiration was more terrestrial than space-age. Deaton related the building’s curvilinear form to that of a clamshell rather than a spaceship.
The house was designed to be Deaton’s personal residence, but he never saw the project’s completion. Deaton began constructing the house in 1963 and the exterior was finished in 1966, at which point Deaton ran out of money. It was vacant at the time of Deaton’s death in 1996, and remained empty until 1999, excluding the filming of Woody Allen’s famous 1973 science fiction flick Sleeper. Locals who recognized the house’s unique and distinguishable shape in the movie took to calling it “the Sleeper House.”
The building’s unique profile cannot be ignored as its simultaneous minimalism and sense of drama adhere to key features of mid-century modern architecture, with its strong geometrical forms and asymmetry. First conceived as a plaster sculpture rather than an architectural blueprint, the house was bound to have an artistic edge. The exterior of the house is comprised of concrete, metal, glass, and wooden slats–more elements that are common in mid-century design. The expansive windows at the front of the house also adhere to mid-century principles, giving a panoramic view from the interior out to the terrace and beyond into the wilderness, emphasizing the breaking down of barriers and a sense of weightlessness.
The house was purchased in 1999 by John Huggins, a Denver entrepreneur and software developer who had an appreciation for the structure’s architecture and sought to expand on its design. Huggins, following original designs by Deaton, built an addition to the house and enlisted the help of Nick Antonopoulos who was Deaton’s architectural partner. Because of Huggins’ efforts, the complete 7,500-square-foot house now consists of five bedrooms, five bathrooms, dining room, an expansive living space including a sunken living room, a media room, and a four car garage. The new owner also furnished the house, recruiting the help of someone close to the original project–Deaton’s daughter Charlee–who outfitted the space with custom-made modernist pieces. Huggins also preserved the integrity of Deaton’s Sculptured House by getting it added to the National Register of Historic Places, ensuring its future preservation.
Elliptical shapes are present in each space in the house, correlating to the building’s curved silhouette. Custom carpeting outlines a pattern consisting of curved lines designed by the original architect. Even the meandering staircase positioned at the center of the house features a curved profile. It also acts as the main divider between the public and private spaces within the house, separating the master bedroom and bathroom from the main hall and terrace.
Although the house remains a private residence and is not open to the public, the Sculpted House has appeared in various media besides Sleeper. In 2003, it was the site of an editorial shoot by the Denver Post featuring ‘60s-inspired fashion. Viewers could also get an inside view of the house when it was included in an episode of MTV’s Extreme Cribs and HGTV’s Home Strange Home.
Despite its singular design and public fascination with the building, the value of Deaton’s Sculpted House has waxed and waned over the years. Deaton originally sold it in 1991 for 0 thousand, then Huggins purchased the house for .3 million eight years later. The value peaked in 2006, when it was listed for million but ultimately sold for .43 million. Most recently, the Sculpted House was auctioned for .5 million in 2010 to John Dilday who purchased it in foreclosure and sold it the same year.
Today, the Sculpted House is Larry and Toni Winkler’s full-time residence and renovation project. The couple has been making much-needed changes to bring the futuristic house up to 21st Century standards when it comes to the utilities and heating. As an official historical site, the cosmetic appearance of the house cannot change, however, so it will always be defined by its clamshell shape and iconic mid-century modern appeal.END
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