On any given day, you can drive around Summit County and gaze upon the outer style and architecture of Summit’s top houses. But, for two weekends in September, you can admire not only the exterior, but the interior as well of 15 Summit homes.
The Parade of Homes, now in its 21st year, is one of Summit’s premier real estate events. It’s a chance for builders and designers to show off their best work, from the latest trends to experimental and artsy flourishes. It’s also an opportunity for people to see these elements close up and speak face-to-face with the people who designed them.
This year’s homes are divided into three categories based on size. There are six houses in the 2,900-3,999 square-foot category, five houses in the 4,000-4,999 square-foot category and four houses in the largest category of more than 5,000 square feet. All square footage is “livable” space, not counting garages.
Each year, the entered homes are a mix of new custom-built or speculation-built homes, alongside recently remodeled houses. This year, 17 houses were entered into the Parade of Homes booklet, but two of those houses were purchased before the event occurred and have been removed from the event.
Each house was judged by a panel of three judges, comprising an architect, a builder and an interior designer. Awards are given for categories such as Best Master Bedroom Suite, Best Kitchen, Best Landscaping, etc.
The parade represents a number of neighborhood communities across the county, from Breckenridge to Frisco, Keystone and Silverthorne.
Linda Miller, chair of the Parade of Homes committee this year, suggests that participants pick up a Parade of Homes booklet and use the map to plan out their visiting strategy.
“The houses (are) logically numbered from Silverthorne to Keystone, Frisco and then Breckenridge,” she said. “But some people, if they’re starting in Breckenridge, will do it in reverse.”
This year, she said, parade participants can expect “some really nicely constructed homes, beautiful finishes — a great way to get ideas for their own home if they’re planning on building or remodeling. It’s a great way to spend a weekend, looking at our leaves, enjoying our fall weather and seeing some beautiful homes to get the creative juices flowing.
“Expect to get wowed because these are the best of the best that get put in this parade,” she said.
Participating in Parade of Homes is a prestigious affair for anyone in the industry, but it’s also a time-consuming and occasionally nerve-wracking process, getting the house perfect before the public comes to view.
Denise Williams Roberts, owner of Lilli’s Lighting and Décor in Frisco, has been part of Parade of Homes since 2004. She works with builders to design and furnish empty rooms in the houses to make them more appealing and livable to prospective buyers and also to show off her skills.
“We want to choose things that fit the personality of the house,” she said, so her designs and stagings will vary from property to property. This year, she worked on two different houses — 113 Mumford Place and 7 Spencer Court, both in Breckenridge.
In addition to working closely with the builders, Williams Roberts’ favorite part of the Parade of Homes is the event itself.
“I actually love being at the house and being able to talk to people (who) are walking through and just talking about what the design trends are and showing them the house,” she said. “A lot of people are there for ideas. They may have an upcoming home, or they may be in an exiting home where they want to update a little bit and just see where trends are going.”
This year is the first year that the folks at Allen-Guerra Architecture have entered a house into the parade, according to project manager Tim Sabo. They have three houses — 220 Cottonwood Circle, 65 Penn Lode and 106 N. Gold Flake Terrace, all in Breckenridge.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “We’re really proud of the product and we’re excited to show what we feel is the next trend.”
While two of the houses were custom-built for clients, the Penn Lode house was designed exclusively by Allen-Guerra, as a project to stretch their creative muscles.
“Amongst all the homes that are in there, it shows the diversity of what we can do,” Sabo said.
Among the interesting aspects of the Penn Lode house is a spiral staircase that Allen-Guerra commissioned from an artist in Switzerland. It shipped whole, in one piece, and had to be installed by crane.
“It’s a really cool feature,” Sabo said.
The Parade of Homes event also serves as a fundraiser for The Summit Foundation, a local nonprofit that acts as an umbrella organization for nonprofits in Summit and surrounding counties.
All ticket proceeds go to the Foundation. Last year, more than $30,000 was raised.
“I think it’s a fabulous thing that the builders’ association does in conjunction with the community,” said Williams Roberts.