A Rocky Mountain respite
The Fourticqs slip away each June for more than five months of cool Colorado entertaining
While most of those with summer homes in cooler climes have returned to Houston with the start of the school year, Patsy and Greg Fourticq are waiting out the remainder of the hot weather in their swell summer pad in Colorado Springs.
The long-time Houston residents have been escaping to the Garden of the Gods Club and Kissing Camels Golf Course each summer for more than a decade. For the last six summers, they have entertained a steady stream of house guests and bridal parties in the expansive dwelling they built with a view to Pike's Peak and the Rockies beyond.
When searching about for a locale for a vacation home, the couple had several unbending criteria — no more than two hours by air from Houston, cool weather and ample golf. They found it in Colorado Springs.
After owning a smaller, older place for a few years here, they bought a lot on the golf course with a splendid view across the fairway to the red rock formations of the Garden of the Gods park and beyond to the high mountains.
In a 180-degree departure from their very traditional aerie at the Huntingdon high-rise in River Oaks, the Fourticqs went contemporary in their new home. Sleek lines, sharp angles and flat roof defy any notion of the conventional. As they set forth to create this new environment, they envisioned a house that would take full advantage of the view and one that would blend with the surroundings.
"We wanted it to fit in with those mountains, to look like it belonged in the Rocky Mountains," Patsy said, further explaining, "If you're going to have two homes, you might as well have them different in styles."
As for blending with the natural landscape, the Fourticqs selected for the exterior of the house a flagstone in varying shades of pink that reflect the hues of the Garden of the Gods rock formations. They had hoped to find matching stone in Colorado but the better match came all the way from India. The flagstone is repeated on the floors of the main living area.
The house is built on sloping terrain that facilitates two levels of living space — four spacious guest suites at grade, which open to a covered veranda that extends the full length of the house, and on the second level the master suite and main entertaining rooms. The two floors are visually joined by a dramatic water wall that flows from the main floor down to the lower, where the water pools in a rock garden.
Perhaps the greatest feature of the home, and it is certainly the focal point for the Fourticqs, is the vast second-floor veranda that stretches from one side of the house to another. Glass sliding doors stack to provide one broad expanse unbroken by support beams. The bar, living room and dining room — in an open floor plan — all open the veranda. From this vantage point, the stunning view of Pikes Peak and the weather play in the distant Rockies provide an ever-changing panorama. You'll find the Fourtiqs and friends here at lunch, for cocktails and for candlelight dinners.
Interiors with an edge
But there are the splendid dinners in the dining room where the vast table, created by craftsman in Austin, will seat 16 at streamlined Knoll chairs.
The chairs and other mid-centuring style furnishings fill the public spaces of the house. The Fourticqs' son, Gregory, who enjoys a noted talent for design, advised his parents on the project. He helped them select the furnishings, carpets and artwork which includes a stunning Hunt Slonem painting that Patsy gave to Greg as a birthday gift. A few fine antiques were mixed in, softening the contemporary edges.
One astonishing feature of the house is the massive 10-inch thick piece of white flagstone, 12-feet long by 44-inches wide, that serves as the base of the double-sided fireplace that opens to both the dining and living areas. It took 20 workers to carry the piece into the house and place it on its base before the fireplace and adjacent walls were built.
Widely-recognized for their gracious hospitality and their love of a good party, the Fourticqs welcome house guests throughout their months in Colorado. And with more than a few friends with brides in the family, the Fourticqs have developed a glowing reputation for their engagement parties and wedding dinners. When utilizing the motor court and the veranda, they can accommodate as many as 150 for a seated dinner. This month, they are hosting a rehearsal dinner for 100.
And then it will be only a few weeks before their Houston friends can celebrate the Fourticqs' return.