Dream House Acres

Welcome to Mid-Centennial Modern

Trader Joe’s really is opening in Greenwood Village on Valentine’s Day

by tamara on February 10, 2014, 2 comments

UPDATE: It’s February 14, 2014 just after 8 a.m. and yes, Trader Joe’s opened on time and with a long line! See you there! Click HERE to see a picture from 8 a.m. of our new neighborhood grocery store.

We get a Trader Joe's!

We get a Trader Joe’s!

Stopped by Cherry Hills Marketplace just to the west of Dream House Acres this afternoon and lo and behold, the Trader Joe’s sign was going up.

Maybe it will open on Friday after all!

I had stopped by the center on Saturday to check in and it did not look even close to ready. In the back of the building where the loading docks will presumably be, workers were still moving dirt. The plastic wrap from earlier weeks had come off the front of the building but there was a lot of mayhem everywhere. Still, the construction boss standing outside overseeing the work did confirm that the store will open on February 14, Valentine’s Day. And even though I couldn’t get up close to the windows, I could see food on the shelves.

Here are some random shots taken on Saturday, Feb. 10:

Got my Trader Joe’s postcard in the mail last Friday. There will apparently be some freebies if you visit that day.

The one interesting factoid about my visit Saturday is the wine store next door is apparently closed for good. Does this mean Trader Joe’s will be selling more than 3.2 alcohol?

Modern Landscape on a Budget: Front yard

by tamara on February 7, 2014, no comments

When we moved to Dream House Acres, I quit my full-time job to sponge off my husband. We moved here because of him anyway. He owed me!

We were on major budget. Since the interior of the house was just updated and in good, clean shape, we didn’t spend much inside. But the outside? Yikes! Tip #1: Leafless trees may be sculptural. But they also may be dead. A good chunk of our savings was spent to remove dead trees.

We also had to repaint the roof’s trim because it was already peeling (did they use interior paint?).  The front lawn was mostly weeds and the mulch and rock hardscape next to home’s foundation quickly became overrun with weeds. Our driveway was cracked and, annoyingly, offered just a one-car access from street to the 2-car garage. The concrete path to the front door? Also cracked and offering a precarious welcome to all who dared enter. And the makeshift fence on the north side didn’t allow any passage to the back.


As everyone and their favorite home magazine advises, we took the first summer off. The second spring, Hubs rented a concrete cutter and started carving up the sidewalk on Easter.

Over the next five months, we graded the front yard, put down weed barrier, added gravel and pavers, pulled that all up to add sprinklers, put the gravel and pavers back down, pulled those up to add boulders and then planted grass.

The Plan

With no outdoor landscaping experience, we planned a low-maintenance Xeriscape. We had big dreams but not the budget. Tempted by the ease of artificial grass, we got several quotes. But for our front yard, which would need about 800-square-feet of fake turf, the most affordable quote came in at $8,000. Pair that with repaving the cracked driveway and turning it into a real 2-car driveway, the bill jumped to $15,000. We didn’t want to spend our budget on just fake grass and concrete. So, we nixed both. Besides, a sample piece of artificial turf left out in the sun burned our feet!

On to Plan B: Cheap gravel and real grass more →

House hunting MCMs in Dream House Acres

by tamara on January 15, 2014, no comments

Ahem… Hello again. Yes, it’s been awhile. I’ve received several kind notes from fellow Dream House Acres-ers (thanks!) and in my excitement to continue documenting the neighborhood, I ended up doing … nothing. So, I’ve decided to just write something already. I’ve noticed a few more MCMs on the market so I thought I’d start with those, since a frequent request I get is, “Any MCM houses for sale over there?

Why yes! Here’s a few I spotted recently:

Here’s a lovely updated MCM on 3152 E Weaver Ave. for $385k. I love the horizontal fence made of “Brazilian Tiger Wood.” The “privacy” wall in the front yard with the house numbers is also a nice touch. The inside looks like it’s been updated recently. The basement is finished with lots of potential.

3152 E Weaver Ave

Over on 6039 Clayton Street, we have this single-carport model going for $375k. Looks like the owners added extra space by enclosing the patio. The red door could use some modernizing and if you take a peek inside, the bones are there and ready for a fab MCM touch.

6039 S Clayton St

And this one on S. Elizabeth Way just sold last July for $296k, according to Zillow. But if you’re willing to “Make Me Move,” the owner will accept $399k:

6067 S Elizabeth Way

Not a bad price hike. If you want to make ME move, I’ll take a cool $1.1 million.

If you spot another MCM for sale in Dream House Acres, leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Welcome Trader Joe’s (or …The Price of Our House Just Went Up)

by tamara on August 6, 2013, no comments

UPDATE: During my trip to California last week, I snapped some photos of products Trader Joe’s carries (and brought back a paper bag of goodies). My cameraphone has been dropped a few times so it’s not as sharp as originally. Still, click to enlarge and zoom. See new photos below!

We learned last month that the nearby Two Mile Ranch in Cherry Hills Marketplace was calling it quits. Then we heard rumor had it (among local shopkeepers) that Trader Joe’s was interested in the shopping center.

And today: Trader Joe’s announced it is indeed coming to our neighborhood shopping corner, located at 5901 S. University Blvd!

The Denver Post writes:

“The Greenwood Village store is scheduled to open in 2014, Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said Monday.”


This will be the grocer’s third location in Colorado and we are so excited! If you’re unfamiliar with Trader Joe’s, the small chain (mostly in California) offers a gourmet/organic touch for those on a budget. And a bit of whimsy. Their “Fearless Flyers” advertise new items and specials, but is printed on newspaper. They are also the force behind “Two-buck Chuck,” the cheap wine that tastes decent, although looks like the price has increased to $2.49, making some people call it “UpChuck.”

I grew up with Trader Joe’s — I’m originally from California. The store carries all sorts of ready-made food, plus a large selection of almost-ready made food, like jarred curries, and one of the best chipotle salsas. Frozen selection includes a bunch of ethnic foods. Our typical purchases were the skinny pizzas, green beans and appetizers. My latest fave is the chocolate-covered sea salt caramels.

When there was a big supermarket strike about a decade ago, we ended up shopping exclusively at Trader Joe’s (and Costco) for groceries for the rest of our time in California.

Yes, there is a fan following in places where Trader Joe’s does and does not exist. When we drive to California, we typically bring back a box of 2-buck Chuck, along with assorted snacks, salsas and other favorites we miss. Another local friend of ours went on vacation to Arizona and headed to Trader Joe’s on their last day with cooler bags to stock up for their return to Colorado.

We, obviously, cannot wait until Trader Joe’s arrives, whether it has a liquor store or not.



Before & After: Welcome to the Beach!

by tamara on June 12, 2013, no comments

Our side yard facing north was always in sad, mediocre shape. Initially, we stacked firewood and trash cans there, underneath a Crabapple tree. The firewood got moved to the other side of the house and we turned the spot temporarily into a dumping ground for other trash as we landscaped the front yard. But afterwards, the trash cans stayed in what was now a mostly dirt area with scraggly weeds growing. Fugly!

Sad, neglected sideyard

So, last summer, in an attempt to conserve time and money, I made a simple suggestion to hubs. Move the pile of leftover pea gravel (from building French drains the prior year) to this muddy spot so, at minimum, we wouldn’t have to trek in the mud to get the trash cans. Hubs, with that our-backyard-makes-me-want-to-puke look, acquiesced and the cleanup began.

Of course, hubs being who he is could not leave a simple, no-cost plan as I originally suggested. We ended up ordering 20 tons of grey gravel off Craigslist to fill the whole side yard. That’s another post, but ultimately, several things had to happen to turn this sad, neglected muddy spot into our favorite outdoor room (so far).

1. Clear the rubble. I don’t even remember what happened to the old pile or rocks and cement. I think we slowly through it out with the garbage.

2. Grade dirt away from the house. (What’s with the former owners? Every piece of land next to the house seems to be the low point of the yard!) We piled the extra dirt on a small hill and ended up planting blueberries and raspberries, and added round pavers and extra rocks (to snuff out that darn bind weed). Here’s a look at our “Blueberry Hill.” (This is last year’s photo, with bucket and other junk in the photo. This year’s blueberries aren’t out yet so the hill is looking a little less green. Hopefully soon!)

3. Lay down weed barrier. Even if you think it’s too shady for grass or weeds to grow, weed barrier is only $30 for a 300-foot, 4-foot-wide roll at Costco or Sam’s Club.

4. Add pea gravel. Add gray gravel for walking path.

5. Add accouterments. These included small-to-mid size boulders to separate the path from the “beach.” Take down wood patio rails separating the patio from this new room. And then, with my daughters help, we added colorful lanterns from Ikea, hung crystals and other baubles like Christmas ornaments on the tree, moved my parents authentic cheapo Mid-Century patio chairs to the beach plus some chaise lounges we picked up along the way.


More photos: more →

Where Modern & MCM neighbors are in Denver

by tamara on May 23, 2013, no comments


Is your neighborhood on the list?

I’ve long kept a list of local neighborhoods and online house tours I admire. Plus, I want DreamHouseAcres.com to be a resource to anyone interested in modern housing and architecture. So, I decided to put them in a convenient linkage list so anyone can click and take a peek at Denver’s modern homes and neighborhoods? Check out my new page: Tracking Modern & MCM neighbors in Denver at dreamhouseacres.com/moderndenver

I’m sure there are a ton I’ve left out, like all those great escapes in the mountains. I hope to keep the page updated. Give me a shout (and any related info/photos) for those places I’ve missed. Enjoy!

C’mon, right this way
→ → → → → → → → → → → → →

Who builds a huge fountain in their front yard and then buries it?

by tamara on May 16, 2013, no comments

I’m working my way through three years of landscaping photos to get a good collection to show you what we’ve done to the house. The front yard landscape before/after is coming soon, but first, I had to write about this: Right below our front windows, we uncovered a fountain and basin that stretched from the driveway to the sidewalk. And it was completely buried. What the?

Let me backtrack. When we moved in, we knew the front yard needed help. I didn’t mind the makeshift rock garden out front, but when giant weeds started growing, we moved ahead with the Big Plan.


BEFORE: Nice rock and weed garden, eh? AFTER: Window wells straightened, buried fountain unearthed and gone… now on to the landscape!

So we let the “grass” die that first summer. Why water what was 80 percent weeds anyway? Other front-yard bonuses included overgrown scratchy bushes, crooked window wells, a narrow cracked sidewalk and stumps that had to be removed by machinery.

The sidewalk was the first to go. On Easter 2011, my husband rented a concrete cutter and ripped it out. We bought lovely, rectangular pavers on sale at Santa Fe Sand & Gravel, which became our local go-to rock store. But before we could tackle anything else in the front, the crooked windows wells bugged my design-perfectionist husband too much to proceed to the fun stuff. So he started digging up the window wells to replace them. We bought new ones but didn’t use them. The concrete originals were all still in good shape and really, look better with the style of the house.

The first sign that something lurked beneath were in the rocks themselves. Some of them were cemented together! We quickly found out that there was something buried underneath all that dirt. And unfortunately, it wasn’t buried treasure.

We unearthed concrete that stretched from the driveway to the old sidewalk. That’s probably at least 20 feet long. And at the lowest level, there was a square basin for, we assume, the pump. The basin grew more shallow heading north toward the sidewalk. At one point after realizing what it was, we even thought about trying to repair it. Nah!

We dug it all up. Straightened the window wells with pea gravel and moved right along, as you can see from the above “after” photo.

We asked a few long-time neighbors if they remembered a fountain. No one did. Not even neighbors who were kids at the time and should have been tempted to dip their toes in the cool water.  If anyone out there remembers this or, better yet, has a photo, please let me know!

Take a look at some photos during our fountain-unburying process:


C’mon Spring & see my ‘new’ vintage patio set

by tamara on May 1, 2013, 23 comments

Living room comfort for the patio!

Living room comfort for the patio!

It’s May 1 here in Colorado. And it’s snowing. Humbug!

I’ve been patiently waiting warmer weather’s arrival so I can roll out my “new” patio furniture, an all-white set from the Homecrest Vintage Wire collection, circa 1960ish. C’mon Spring! I’m ready already!

In February (apparently, a good time to buy patio furniture), I found an 8-piece set on Craigslist. The set — 2 chaise lounges, 2 swivel rockers, 2 cocktail tables, an ottoman and the Grenada sofa (I believe) — was in mostly very good condition but didn’t include cushions. The cost? Less than the price of a single patio chair at CB2. I knew I would regret this find if I didn’t snap it up. So snap it up we did a day after it snowed:

How many Homecrest vintage-wire pieces can you fit in a van?

How many Homecrest vintage-wire patio pieces can you fit in a minivan?

Homecrest catalog, 1966

Homecrest catalog, 1966 (click above for PDF)

Of course I did some research before buying it to find out about Homecrest, which is still around today. In fact, Homecrest put a call out in 2011 to owners of the same vintage-wire patio furniture. The Wadena, Minnesota company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, wanted to buy old pieces back, refurbish and resell them. I had no plans to resell mine back to the company but I was curious as to what was the response of the campaign and how much the refurbs would cost.

You might say it was a huge success. Rosemary, a Homecrest employee, kindly emailed me back with this:

The vintage wire product is wonderful and because it is so wonderful we have not gotten enough of a response back to be able to collect enough of the product back to do what was intended. So at this point we are NOT buying back any furniture. Most people did not want to sell back but instead wanted to refurbish their set.   ~Homecrest

I don’t know how much the furniture cost back in the 1960s, but seeing that it’s held up for 50-plus years, it was a good deal even for the original owner. And I know I got a steal (hence, winter is a good time to shop for patio furniture). Similar sets with fewer pieces are for sale on Etsy and eBay for triple or more than what I paid. If you have a vintage Homecrest, you can find out more about the pieces in the company’s online collection of old catalogs HERE.

My only issue is cushions, which weren’t included. Homecrest actually sells authentic replacements. But I can’t afford it on my budget. The sofa cushion alone is $596. (Why are patio cushions so expensive?) And standard patio-seat cushions don’t fit the larger seats. Looks like I will have to enlist the sewing expertise of my mother-in-law to figure out how to make some custom cushions. Does anyone know where if any vintage cushion patterns are/were ever available?

To find some unique prints, I’ve been browsing the fantastic Spoonflower.com, where artists can upload their own designs and sell them on fabric. I’m leaning toward greens. What do you think about these potential fabric options? more →

Peek inside an updated Mid-Centennial Modern

by tamara on April 29, 2013, one comment

Window me!

The day we first looked at the house. Toddler runs amok!

Buying a house wasn’t on my list of my priorities when we decided to move to Colorado. That’s because coming from Southern California, even 2010’s depressed housing prices were outrageously insane (a 3-bedroom condo for half a million? Crazy talk!) And then we found Dream House Acres. Real houses with sizable backyards at half price! After a 4-day house hunting trip, we made an offer and closed in 30 days.

We were lucky in many ways, being first-time home buyers who didn’t know much about all the work involved in owning a house.  We bought it from a man who owned it for about three months. He completely remodeled the interior, removing walls to create larger, open spaces.

We were especially grateful for what he did to the master bedroom. The back of the house has matching trapezoidal windows as the front. But apparently, the original model of the house split the back into two rooms. The wall was removed, a walk-in closet added and a full bathroom with tub, toilet and sink. Though we had loathed flippers in our renter days when we were shut out of the housing market, I feel he did a pretty good job.

There’s not much mid-century left inside except the floors do seem to be original. Everything appeared to be new, at least on the inside. New paint, new double-pane windows (though these may be a leftover from the previous resident), new bathrooms, new tile. It was a relief to just move in and worry about unpacking.

Would you like to see it? Well, it’s messy right now. I’ll clean it up and take some snazzy photos someday to show you what it looks like today. In the meantime, I found these original pictures that were posted when the house was for sale:

The house

Picture 1 of 9

Our first look at The House


This is really just a placeholder to get the requisite house tour out of the way. At least until I can clean my house and take some higher-resolution snazzy shots of the interior. I’m more excited about changes we’ve made outside anyway.

As always, if you just happened to land on this blog and you live here, give me a shout out and leave a comment. Help me figure out our neighborhood’s origins.

A Dream House Acres Neighborly Welcome

by tamara on April 25, 2013, no comments

Kim's House on Josephine WayShocked, flabbergasted but pleasantly surprised, I write my second post to proclaim that DreamHouseAcres.com isn’t just for me.

It’s for me and Kim.

Kim, a neighbor who lives on Josephine Way, discovered this newly minted blog and emailed me yesterday, a mere two days after my very first post! I’m shocked because I’m still tweaking the blog so I didn’t tell anyone. Not even Facebook.

She, too, lives in one of these mid-century gems (that’s her house on the right). Her husband grew up on Weaver in a same-style house. The couple moved back in 2008. There were quite a few options/upgrades available when families first bought the houses, including larger windows in front (which I have but she doesn’t) and garages. She also has several neighbors who are original owners and may be able to share more details about the neighborhood’s history. More to come once I grill and pester the Josephine Way gang for more information.

When Kim first moved to the neighborhood in 2008, she bookmarked this domain. While cleaning out her bookmarks the other day, she checked the site for the first time in five years and voila! You know the rest. Apparently, back then, something else was living here: A generic, community page set up to make money for its sponsor, RealEstate.com. Guess the money ran out when the housing bubble burst (I do remember being surprised this URL was available). I am so going to make this a better site!

Welcome to Kim and everyone else who may find this site. Again, I welcome any comments, tips, stories, photos, original brochures… anything about the history of Dream House Acres. Just send me a note or fill out the form below. Thanks!