Cathy and Sam loved Colorado. They’d been vacationing here for years to escape the sticky Houston summers. So when they retired a few years ago, and with their son married and living in England, they turned to each other and said, “Now we can live where we want to live.”
Thinking they’d buy a condo in the Denver area for summer living, they scoured the city with a Realtor® for days—but found nothing they liked. Discouraged, on the last day of their trip they took off on their own, wandered into Highlands Ranch and somehow “stumbled across BackCountry, a Shea Homes® Community,” says Sam. “Two hours later, we’d written a check.” Suddenly, that summer condo turned into a year-round dream home.
It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. Dan Anglin had been house hunting for a long time. But all those resale homes lacked the modern style he prefers. And after he and Susan met at work and eventually married, they were in total agreement.
“All the resale homes we saw needed a lot of updating,” explains Susan. “In this market, the good houses get taken or they need a ton of work. At Stepping Stone we could build a new house for the same price as a fixer-upper.”
The Anglins discovered the SPACES homes in Highlands Ranch and fell in love with their modern aesthetic and open floor plans. Unfortunately there weren’t many homes left, but the good news was that a new neighborhood with some of the same Shea SPACES home plans was coming to Parker. Both Dan and Susan work at an oil and gas company in Meridian Village, so the location would be perfect. (On a bad day, their commute is all of 15 minutes.)
They showed up the day Stepping Stone opened. Theirs were the first names on the interest list—even though there was no model to see and barely a road to the lots, which Susan “could kind of see in the distance,” she says. Despite that, “we knew when we saw the floor plan and a picture of it that this was the one we wanted. We just had to use our imaginations.”
The home Susan and Dan chose was Shea Plan 4005 in the Modern Prairie elevation, whose clean lines and sleek, white brick exterior spoke to their contemporary tastes. The Anglins entertain often, so they love the modern, open plan.
Ten days after Larry and Val Hay moved into their new BackCountry home, while most of us would be struggling to unpack, they hosted their first party. And within two months—from November 1 to January 1—they had hosted eleven parties.
What’s that all about? While you’d never accuse these two of being introverts, apparently there’s something about BackCountry that makes people want to throw parties.
Val says, “We were never this big on entertaining before. But BackCountry is extra- friendly. It’s gated, so you know everyone you see is a neighbor. It’s just so easy to say ‘come over.’”
Larry agrees. “People walk by all the time, or we’ll just wave when people drive by and half the time they’ll stop to chat. Before you know it, we’ve invited them in and we’re sharing a beer or a glass of wine.”
Their home itself has also contributed to their entertaining ways. The Hays bought The Sunshower model, with an open flow between kitchen, dining room, and great room that allows for “lots of conversations going on,” says Val, and parties of up to 50—so far, anyway.
The kitchen itself is key, too. The Hays have an extended island—nine feet long, five feet wide—that they can fit lots of chairs around, plus three ovens and “a microwave that talks to you,” says Larry. This kitchen is a true playground for Val, whom Larry describes as an instinctive cook who can whip up anything from whatever’s in the spacious pantry.